Nethra Shankar

What is it?

Slab is a proprietary user-interface designed to help consumers at grocery stores make informed food choices. It comes in the form of a cart mounting system.

The Problem

According to 2016 Label Insight Food Revolution Study:

53% of participants said they shop according to specific diets and needs

83% said they would want more detailed information about the products



information beyond the food label that deems useful to decision-making such as what certain ingredients mean and why they’re used; and estimated carbon footprint of a given product.


alerts and product discovery based on personalized consumer needs and preferences

What is Blockchain?
*The proposed solution requires systemic changes in the food supply chain. It is a vision for what the future of the food industry could look like based on upcoming promising technologies that are relevant in the context of food transparency*


1. Pick up

2. Mount

3. Shop + Checkout

4. Drop off

The combination of a magnetic groove with tongue and one way snap-fit joint make mounting a one step quick snap process. De-mounting is a press-to-release two step process which finds the perfect balance between ease of mounting and security. Once mounted, the tablet is angle adjustable on the cart. Germ eradication on the surface of the tablet is ensured through the use of UV Light Sanitizer embedded within the charging station.


The primary tabs in the user-interface are User Profile (for personalization of the shopping experience) and Home (for viewing product information and browsing products). The tabs dedicated to secondary convenience features include Store Map, Recipe Browser and Shopping List.


Exploring a product based on ingredients


Exploring a product based on nutrients

Carbon footprint

Exploring a product based on estimated carbon footprint | How is this calculated?

Convenience features

User Profile

The consumers can create their profile at the store just before shopping or on SLAB’s website

Mounting system & Charging station

The tablet mount is clamped on to the shopping carts by the retailer. The mount comes in customized shapes and sizes to accommodate the handle geometries of different carts.
The charging station would be set up in two places- near the entrance and near the exit. The form of the station is compact and simple. The dimension 25”L x 16” W X 50”H and accommodates 48 tablets.

Security features


To avoid theft, the hardware is designed to be SLAB-specific and the software is limited to the features of the user-interface.

RFID Enabled

Radio-Frequency Identification is used to set off an alarm when the device leaves the boundaries of the grocery store.

Why invest in SLAB

According to The 2016 Label Insight Food Revolution Study, some of the biggest trends making food transparency the currency to consumer loyalty and trust include:

71 percent of consumers consider if they have access to the full list of ingredient information for a product when making food purchase decisions.

67 percent of consumers believe it is the manufacturers or brands responsibility to provide them with complete product information.

From a retail perspective, this means that winning consumer loyalty and trust is through telling the story of manufacturer’s ingredients, processes & backstory rather than advertising alone 

This project was initiated with a motivation to help people eat healthy and sustainably. The initial phase of research was centered around understanding what factors influence food choices for different age groups and different lifestyles. Through talking to experts in the field of nutrition and environmental science and conducting user research activities such as photo journals, ethnographic study and surveys, the roadblocks to eating healthy and sustainably were identified. Making informed food choices was one of the biggest roadblocks consistent throughout all age groups.
Once this need was identified, the next stage of research involved closely observing people who shop for groceries and interviewing retailers to understand the needs of stakeholders involved. Following this was reframing the design opportunity through the lens of technology, economy and reimagined roles of stakeholders. SLAB is proud to be the product of this research-heavy senior capstone project.

Thank you for exploring SLAB!

Nethra Shankar

I care deeply about designing sustainable and inclusive solutions to problems. I believe that effective and impactful design starts with empathizing with the user and asking the right questions, which are some of the many reasons I am passionate about design research and user experience design. I feel it is my responsibility as a designer to not only design solutions that are user-centered, but also planet-centered.

%d bloggers like this: