Thanks come the popularity of the missing Richard Simmons podcast, the fitness icon is ago in the spotlight. Those of a specific age remember the common TV commercials for his fitness products throughout the 1980s. There were 5 volumes that Sweatin’ come the Oldies, books, cassettes, a brand the foods, a food steamer, and also tons more.

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And then there to be Deal-a-Meal.


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With Deal-a-Meal, Richard Simmons go what no one had ever done, and few have done since: the treated load loss together a architecture problem.

For comparison, other weight loss products of that era contained things favor Jane Fonda’s workout. Or weight Watchers, with its system of calculating points. And also of course, the fad diets: The Beverly Hills Diet, the Rotation Diet, and also The Scarsdale Diet, to surname a few.


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Body load is a straightforward matter of energy balance. If you burn an ext calories than you consume, you’ll shed weight. Yet to be reliable at that, you require count and also track how numerous calories you consuming, which is tedious and error prone for many people. This probably defines the very nice of fad diets. “Just cut out carbs.” “Eat favor a caveman.” In the end, many fad diets are just a gimmicky technique to calorie control. Deal-a-Meal solves for the problem of calorie counting through a stunningly straightforward design solution.

Richard Simmons go what no one had ever done, and few have excellent since: the treated weight loss together a style problem.

Here’s how it works. Portions of food are stood for on shade coded cards that correspond to food types: meats, starches, vegetables, fruits, fats, and dairy. The cards sit in a folding wallet. The user begins the day v a certain number of each map sitting in the left side of the wallet. (The beginning number and distribution that cards relies on the individual.)

Every time the user eats, he move a corresponding number of cards from the left side of the wallet to the right. When every one of the cards have been moved to the right, the user is finished eating for the day.


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Instead of counting calories, the user simply moves cards that represent foods from one next of the wallet come the other

More 보다 being an effective weight loss system, this is just damn good User Experience. This is why.

Simple and also Intuitive

No calorie counting. No mental what has actually been eaten and also what stays to be eaten. No guesswork or confusion about whether a food is a carb or a protein. A discrete collection of choices is presented to the user. Every the user needs to do is enhance the foods he eats to the color-coded cards and move them from left to right. The foolproof.

A Relatable Metaphor

The Deal-a-Meal mechanism uses a concept of “spending” the cards top top the foods items the user eats. The metaphor of beginning the day with a food “budget,” through the cards representing a form of currency re-frames the difficulty of weight loss as more of a budgetary one fairly than one of restriction and also self denial.

Color Conveys Meaning

By color coding the food groups, the device is not only attractive, but likewise provides meaning. The user is able come quickly differentiate the options available. And also quickly and easily determine how many portions the a offered food group are available or not. Which leader to the following point…

Users recognize Where They are in the Process

The wallet gives clear visual feedback of whereby the user is in the procedure of eating because that the day. This enables the user to plan the content and also timing the meals and also snacks.

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Scalable and also Flexible

Feel like having actually a triple part of pasta for dinner? No problem. Simply save up 3 of the strength cards throughout the day and spend lock later. Feather to maintain your present weight or even put some weight on? it is fine too. The system responds to the user’s needs and preferences v ease. The user is in control.

If a most these characteristics are starting to sound familiar, castle should. That uncanny just how well many of them match with Nielsen Norman Group’s 10 usability Heuristics for User interface Design:

Visibility of system statusMatch between system and also the genuine worldUser control and also freedomConsistency and also standardsError preventionRecognition fairly than recallFlexibility and also efficiency of useAesthetic and also minimalist designHelp individuals recognize, diagnose, and recover from errorsHelp and also documentation

In Closing

It’s no a perfect fit, the course. But that’s not the point. By and large, Deal-a-Meal meets most of the standards developers use every day to ensure a an excellent user experience and also an user interface that’s useful, usable, and also used. Richard, if you ever come out of hiding, I’d be happy to welcome girlfriend to my UX team!