Dishes

  • Role
    UI, UX, Research
  • Client
    *Personal Project
  • Industry
    Culinary
  • Category
    Mobile App
  • Year
    2016 (2.5 mo)
Overview

Dishes is a collection of recipes from chefs who own or manage a culinary establishment (restaurant, food bus, etc). These recipes are provided for everyday cooks (apprentices) to gain access to culinary experts who may otherwise be inaccessible. The aim of this application is to develop a connection between chefs and their followers in hopes that it gives the chef’s business more exposure.

Challenges
  1. Create an experience that allows us to know users and their preferences.

  2. Identify what sparks an interest in patrons apart from the actual food/recipe

  3. A search that allows for customization.

  4. Make it easy to add or edit recipes.

Target Audience

The audience is a simple split between persons who have their own establishments (Chefs) and everyone else (Apprentices). Apprentices are potential patrons of the chefs businesses if they enjoy the experience of their recipes.

Meet the Users

There were a total of 6 personas studied: 3 for chefs and 3 for apprentices. The most highlighted differences were cultural backgrounds, level of cooking experience and eating lifestyles (vegan, etc).

MICHELLE THE VEGAN
  • Age:

    28+

  • Occupation:

    Nurse

  • Origin:

    America

  • Time in Kitchen:

    2-3 hrs

  • Education:

    Bachelors

  • Status:

    Single

“After working a typical shift, taking care of others, I enjoy taking care of myself by eating healthy and working out. I don’t eat meat and I feel like there aren’t many recipes that cater to my lifestyle. My boyfriend, a meat eater who is from an island in the Caribbean, proposed to me recently which has me spending more time learning my way around the kitchen, in hopes to create meals that we both can enjoy.”
TOBY THE FAMILY GUY
  • Age:

    39+

  • Occupation:

    Chef

  • Region:

    Norwich, England

  • Experience:

    2 yrs

  • Education:

    High School

  • Status:

    Married

"Being a husband and a father comes first in my life. Most of my culinary ideas come from spending time with them. Their influence and involvement in what I do allowed me to recognize how much of an integral role they have in my brand. This is why throughout my restaurant, I always aim for my customers to experience what it is like to be part of this family."

Checking Out The Competition

After combing through the app stores reviewing and talking to others about their favorite recipe apps, the top 4 listed below stood out as the most reputable competitors. Analyzing features and technical aspects of these apps allowed me to identify some key areas for a successful recipe application.

Making A Connection

My content strategy started by asking the question, "how can I make a connection between the apprentices and the chefs, to not only desire to try their recipe, but to support their business?" After studying competitors and conducting interviews, the one consistent theme was ‘cultural interest’. Recognizing this, I knew culture had to have a significant presence to increase the emotional connection, along with beautiful photography and verbiage.

Feature Prioritization

Of all the MVP features, chef validation and copyrighting recipes would be the most challenging, but most important. Chef validation would quickly allow for us to verify who the chef is and if he or she has an established business with a good reputation. This would help customers to feel reassured that the chef they are taking a recipe from are experienced professionals.

On the other side of that, copyrighting of recipes gives chefs the reassurance that their creations are protected.

Information Architecture

Scenarios & Flows

Using information architecture along with the personas, I began to think about the various scenarios both user types would experience and mapped a desired flow. I then used wireframes as a prototype to test practicality.

Sketches

Some quick sketching to start getting ideas out of my head.

Wireframe Prototype

Using hi-fi wireframes to create a prototype for testing user flows.

Iteration on Recipe Input

The wireframe prototype uncovered some areas within the flow that made it difficult and time consuming to input recipe details. I did some more UI research and sketching to come up with a solution that would decrease the amount of manual entries a user has to input. The newer experience will also make it easier to make edits to existing recipes.

Challenge 1

A Personal Experience

By getting a better understanding of the user’s food preferences and cultural background, recipes displayed on their feed could be more relevant. Each user would first have an option to identify as chef or an apprentice, both of which have slightly different questions to be answered.

Challenge 2

Allowing for Cultural Interest

The recipes are as much about the chef as they are about the cultural influence. Rather than making it a secondary element, it is represented as prominently as the chef's profile. This also created the opportunity for recipes and chefs to be filtered by specific countries.

Challenge 3

Refining your Search Parameters

The goal was to maintain simplicity, while still having the option to get more granular with the users’ searches. The simple search would have predictive capabilities with the use of iconography to categorize the results. Advanced search features allowed for specific recipe components to be selected and altered based on the main category selections of drinks, food and dessert.

Challenge 4

Easily Input Recipe Details

I noticed that in order for the application to provide smart features such as measurement, ingredient and quantity conversions, etc., there needed to be a list of selections for various recipe details that could be recognized and understood by the system which may have been problematic by having user input.

Challenge 5

Navigating a Recipe

The same paradigm was used for navigating recipes. A recipe could be favorited and rated with the ability to view videos recorded by the chefs or change the serving amount to have the recipe adjust accordingly.

Prototype

Adobe XD was used to prototype the experience. Below is a prototype if you wish to give it a try. If so how about a task?

- View a recipe and find the contact information for that chef’s restaurant

Takeaways

This project was self-initiated in an effort to develop my expertise and knowledge on the subject matter of UI design, UX design, research and user testing while trying to think practically of business and user goals. It was truly fun and challenging trying to better understand the UX process, although staring at pictures of food this much was not the easiest.

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