header image showing food and the UI of Abunci


Good food should be for everyone, Abunci is an iOS app that allows you to search for restaurants that suits your dietary needs.


What is Abunci?

Abunci makes it easier for people who have a specific dietary requirement, or even multiple, to dine out with ease. The ability to search for reviews based on specific needs and reduce the menu to display what they can safely eat. No worrying about the menu, no stressing about not being able to eat.

Skills Used

Prototyping Wireframing User Research Brainstorming Idea Generation

Tools used

Sketch InVision Illustrator

Where did the idea come from?

I started to think of how much easier it would be to travel with a dietary requirement if there was a specific app suited to my needs. I found ones for vegetarians and vegans specifically. However, what happens if you are vegetarian and lactose intolerant?

I travel a lot and before I go I need to spend time searching for restaurants and then searching the reviews for gluten-free. This process was tiring and I thought I cannot be the only one frustrated by this! Turns out when I spoke to others I was not the only one with this issue.

The Problem

When you have a food allergy or intolerance it can be difficult to source a restaurant that you can eat in without worry. Another issue is with people who have a dietary requirement due to religious reasons or personal beliefs.


5 in 100

people are Lactose Intolerant


1 in 100

people are Coeliac


10 in 100

people say they have a dietary sensitivity


23 in 100

will be Vegetarian or Vegan by 2023


To better gain an understanding of what users needed to make informed choices I carried out an online survey on people's dietary needs. Once I got data to work with I started to piece together consistencies to see the main issues that users would have to allow me to focus on the areas that would offer the greatest benefit.


Donut chart showing 70% 70% fear when allergens aren't on the menu
Donut chart showing 55% 55% were let down by the options
Donut chart showing 80% 80% Have found it hard to find restaurants abroad
Donut chart showing 35% 35% received unsuitable food

User Personas

After researching dietary needs and how things are progressing regarding different lifestyles and medically required diets I created user personas based on the users and their needs.

User persona of Lucy Smith, a Coeliac from Belfast User persona of John Allen from Glasgow who is lactose intollerant

Empathy Map

I wanted to gain a better understanding of the target audience and better understand the emotions and issues that they face.

User persona explaining what the user says, thinks, does and feels

Target Audience


The target age group is 18 to 34


People with a diet based on Religion


People with a disposable income


Frequent dinners and foodies

The Solution

After researching the issues that people had I wanted to create a solution that was not solely controlled by the restaurant itself. The main influence for this was that numerous people who kindly answered my questionnaire said that they had been told meals are suitable. However, when they arrived they had little or no choice at all.

Abunci Features

  • Profile that allows you to personalise your experience
  • Social sign up
  • Dynamic menus that change based on dietary needs
  • Reviews
  • Filter search results to show specific dietary needs
  • Book directly through the app
  • Social sharing, send bookings or share restaurants with others

The Design Process

Flow Diagram

There was a lot of information needed from the user to allow an account to be created that enabled the personalised experience that I desired. I wanted to find a way to allow onboarding to ask all the questions necessary without the user getting frustrated.p>

User flow diagram showing how to sign-up, login and the main pages of the app.


I find it easier to try and visualise my idea by sketching it and the different features and ways that I think they should work and react when the end user interacts with them. Sketching ideas makes it easier for me to begin to create an idea of how the user will find their way around the app and how navigation should be. Once I begin to sketch my ideas I start to notice things that I might have forgot which I can refine going into lo-fi designs.

sketched wireframes showing the layout and ideas behind Abunci


Once I had sketched ideas and had a clearer idea on what the app layout and navigation could be I started to create a lo-fi wireframe to create a clear struture and plan of how to go forward with the app. I altered these to get a better structure and altered the layout to accomodate the features I had planned for. I uploaded some of the lo-fi wireframes to Sketch Cloud to see my thought process.

Screenshot showing the lo-fi wireframes in Sketch

Visual Design

Hi-Fi Designs & Prototype

I created my designs using Sketch for an iPhone 8 Plus. I opted for this device as when I spoke to people they commonly had iPhones and this allowed me to test on my own device. You can see the InVision hi-fi designs.

Screenshot showing the hi-fi wireframes in Sketch
UI showing the discover page. It shows the search bar, offers and results that are based on the users profile creation UI showing the restaurant menu and how it is dynamic based on the dietary requirement UI showing how you can book a table directly within the app and inform the restaurant of your dietary needs before your arrival.


I feel that Abunci would be a good tool for those with a dietary requirement. It offers the features that after speaking to the people impacted by dietary requirements required the most. If I was to spend more time on this I would focus more on the ratings feature to allow people to find reviews easier based on their needs.

It would also be good to look at showing the times that restaurants are busy and a way to advice users to book in advance as they are often full on specific nights and times.