SIFT: A MOBILE RECIPE AND MENU APP
HOW I COMBINED MY FAVORITE MOBILE COOKING APPS INTO ONE
As part of the SVA’s Summer Intensive in Interaction Design course, Mobile UX Design, I was asked to create a mobile app about food. As a frequent user of recipe and cooking apps, I decided to build one of my own, with the goal of finding solutions for some of the things that frustrate me about these apps.
When I’m planning a dinner or brunch for a group of friends or family, I often find myself straddling multiple apps, such as Pinterest or Epicurious, where I’ve saved different recipes. I also enjoy creating menus, selecting side dishes and entrees that complement each other, but I often end up going back and forth between my different apps, forgetting which recipes I want to make and where I’ve saved them. I wanted my app to allow users to save recipes from the web all in one place, and also group them into menus for specific meals or events.
Sift is a recipe manager and menu planner that allows users to plan for large meals and events, not just one dish. All recipes are saved from the internet with a browser extension. Sift's users are home chefs who frequently cook multiple-course meals and like to plan ahead.
I initially wanted Sift to have a shopping list feature, in addition to the recipe manager and menu planning features. In my first round of app mapping, this feature seemed to fit in well among everything else. As I began to build the wireframes, I noticed some complexities in how all of the features would relate to each other.
At the recommendation of my instructor and classmates, I dropped the shopping list feature and focused on developing only the recipe list and menu planning features.
I built out my first wireframe, which was user tested by several classmates. I discovered the following things through testing, and worked to improve them in my final prototype:
I had originally used plus signs to both create new menus and add new recipes to them, but it became clear after testing that it was confusing to use the same symbol to do two different things.
My navigation indicators across the app were inconsistent. I noticed that several of my users looked back at how they did things in previous steps to determine how to move forward. They expected these indicators to be the same throughout.
In the recipe details view, users wanted to be able to see what menus, if any, the recipe they were viewing had been added to.
With a refined scope and much more consistent interface, Sift is not only more powerful, but easier to navigate.