A native app for food enthusiasts that want to search for food inspiration, try new recipes, upload their food creations and share them with their friends.
Prototyping & testing
SCOPE OF THE APP
Me and my friends are constantly exchanging recipes over emails, web-links and sometimes in very long whatsapp messages. We like cooking and we always inspire each others by sharing family recipes or our latest food discoveries. Keeping tracks of messages, emails, web-links is not the easiest thing to do in our busy lives.
I scoured the internet and App store thinking there must be something that can help solving this problem. Unsurprisingly, I found the internet being inundated with food blogs, websites with huge recipe depository and also a fair share of mobile applications by renowned chefs and TV personalities ready to ‘teach’ you how the job is done.....and as the saying goes, 'too many cooks spoil the broth'.
To make things worse the majority of these sites are rammed with advertisement banners making a simple task like finding instructions on how to cook a recipe a rather ‘jumpy’ experience on any given device.
Bottom line - at the time of writing this document - none of the solutions studied allowed the user to upload their own recipes and easily share them with their friends. The content is (pun intended) spoonfed to us via our screens by people we don’t actually know.
SOLVING THE PROBLEM
I started brainstorming what elements a great recipe application should have. I started asking questions like: what source of inspiration people rely on when it comes to food? What are the information that really matters when choosing a recipe over another? Where do they save their recipes? And so on…
I conducted desk based research to study the user journey on recipe sharing mobile applications that were mentioned in the questionnaire. The objective is to see how the information is presented to the users on existing products, and identify if there are already native or web solutions that allows user generating their own content (recipes) to share with their family and friends.
Furthermore from this study, I segmented my potential users into four personas (friends): Rachel, Ross, Monica and Joey and broke down each personas by their personal attributes, pain points and motivations for using the app.
DEFINING THE MDP
Using the information collected from my findings I decided to map out the actions and features beneficial to my target audience in detailed site map. This has helped me keeping the focus on the scope of the project and defining the MDP by giving me an overview on how the content should be searched, generated and saved throughout the application.
It was clear from the start that the recipe builder interface was going to be the backbone of the app. I therefore built an interactive wireframe and tested it with an handful of people. Interestingly enough I found out that the app was losing one of its main focus: generating content quickly and with an easy to use interface.
Also, due to money and time constraints, some other features had to be taken out from the MDP in order to meet deadlines and budget.
THE NEW MDP
The latest redesign of the user flow was heavily focused on the recipe builder, with a ‘recipe-style’ template that users can complete in fewer steps, but also rethinking the deliverables for this project in phase one.
The overall goal is to create an application where users easily search, generates and save contents but I also wanted to include some elements of gamification with users being able to like, rate, write comments and share the content within other users.
With the new MDP in mind I decided to build a high specs information architecture of the entire application to keep the focus on the deliverables and identify possible pain points in the user journey. spec information architecture of the entire application to identify pain points…
People liked the simplicity when searching new recipes, and the way the information is presented to them. They also showed engagement with the platform thanks to the ’social-media’ elements: like/star/share/rate the content and writing comments. They also loved the idea of recipes shared with their friends, saving all their favourite recipes in one place and the chance to generate a grocery list before going shopping. Concerns were shown on the action of writing an entire recipe from scratch even though the recipe builder interface was very well received in the way it reminded them of when creating a post on instagram and therefore they would definitely give it a go.
A BRAND IS BORN
I overviewed the brand identity of the application including name choice, logo, colour palette and typography.
I also put together some brand guidelines to consider when building the UI toolkit.
The new skin is applied to Burnt Butter app.
Prototype shows Burnt Butter version 1.3 where ‘Home’ has its own icon in the navigation bar and the ‘search’ feature has been moved out of the landing. Also a ‘Notifications’ centre has been introduced to keep the user informed on number of Likes, rating and comments received and if s/he was added to another user favourites list.
As with any project, there’s always take aways and lesson learnt
As the founder of Burnt Butter, creating and managing the life cycle of the entire app by keeping separate business wants from the users’ needs has been the biggest lesson learnt.
The importance of validating business assumptions and iterate accordingly from the very beginning, throughout the entire project.
Recording and storing all your data and findings in a way that can be easily pinpoint to the different steps of the project.
The importance of trusting your team and to delegate.
Overall, in the face of adversity I learnt to never let things get you down and keep the spirit high and the motivation going.