Guaxamole: Awesome food as metaphor for UX.

A few years back, Patrick Neeman shared Ed Lea‘s brilliant info graphic  on User Interface vs. User Experience utilizing cereal as the metaphor. It works on many levels, but mostly, in my opinion, because everyone understands cereal.

Since I am always hungry, I was wondering if I could do something similar, but expand it and using guacamole as the metaphor. I also wanted to see if I can push the conversation a little further to create a level of understanding that can explain the voodoo that we do, and be fun in the process.

mojcajete.jpgIf you have taken the time to read this, please follow through and see if I have missed something, or could expand on things more. I am planning a presentation to my UX team to go through these concepts while making a batch of my exquisite guacamole. I hope to capture some images from that event and post them here. In the meantime, here are my thoughts with various images from the web.

Initial considerations

  • What is the definition of done? We need to agree what is guacamole, is it just avocado and peppers? Tomato? Do we add lime? Defining our agreement on the recipe sets expectations and goals.
  • If guacamole is just smashed avocado and little else, are there pre-made products may be combined for quick satisfaction of need? This would increase your “time to market” but what about quality and differentiation?


  • Mise en place, the cooking term for your initial set up (knife, cutting board, ingredients, bowls), are the tools you need for development, development environment, server, content, information architecture, etc.
  • The cutting board and molcajete is your development environment. The latter is possibly your server or production environment as well.
  • The act of making guacamole is your development sprints.
  • If not serving from the same bowl you made the guacamole in, then plates used are your browser.
  • Tasting while you make guacamole is your unit tests. Having guests taste test are your constant user feedback. Other people tasting while in process is user interaction with prototyping.

ia-persUser Feedback/Ethnography

  • Chips are your User Interface.
  • Having multiple chips available, blue corn ships, cantina chips, etc. is a form of user feedback with A/B testing. Watching some chips break is usability testing of the UI.
  • Asking users about spiciness, cilantro tolerance, or preferences is ethnography.
  • Ethnography and user feedback lead to personalization factors. This can be in the form of extra jalapeño and salt allotted for personal tastes, or perhaps a new ingredient like a tomatillo can be offered.

service-designService Design/Customer Experience

  • Giving chips and salsa prior to making guacamole is service design, customer experience, and hints of anticipatory design. In a restaurant it primes the visitor for ordering guacamole, or a tasty beverage. This is part of your UX/Customer Experience strategy.
  • Table side guacamole in front of guests is the customer experience, more than just taste, creates memories. Entices others to order their own table-side guacamole.

Guacamole-00-ingredientsContent Strategy/Information Architecture

  • The categorization of ingredients is your content inventory. Fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices, heat, aromatics. These are also the elements of your information architecture.
  • Using fresh ingredients is an example of content strategy. You can opt for cheaper ingredients that are not as fresh, but will affect the outcome.
  • Chopping up ingredients is also part of content strategy. Do you want to create chunky or smooth guacamole? User feedback is key to finding this out. This is also part of your content strategy as it will define how you offer your product and how will it be prepared.

guaconthegoMobile Strategy

  • Responsive design, the use of small soufflé cups full of guacamole can represent a mobile solution for guacamole. The previously mentioned ready-made guacamole (like Wholly Guacamole) can also be considered part of a mobile first strategy as it is already packaged for travel.

visualVisual Design

  • Using best looking ingredients, different colors, purple chips, is visual design. This is your presentation layer. Do you have artistic platters or bowls. This is where colors and textures differentiate your guac from others.

Follow this post and comment and I will post my recipe and techniques on making the world’s best guacamole. Please comment so I can refine this.


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