Ofer Monar, Ph.D.
Lecturer@The Academic College of TLV-Yaffo
“Well done! Your work is of a very high caliber. The analyses, scripts, and personas are all top-notch. The screens are also impressive, especially considering it's your first attempt in the field.”
This is my team's final project from the “Introduction to User Experience” course, which I took as part of my psychology BA studies and UX major.
The product makes cooking a breeze! It's lightning-fast, super simple, and totally reliable. Plus, it's a great way to share recipes and connect with other cooks. So you not only get to use the product, but you can also contribute your culinary expertise to the community!
Some of the existing recipe platforms lack a reliable, diverse, and user-friendly digital space. Users who want to cook may often have trouble finding personalized recipes quickly and may encounter incomplete or confusing instructions while cooking. The goal is to create a smooth, easy-to-follow, organized recipe platform that caters to individual needs and enhances the cooking experience.
We want to create a digital space that makes finding reliable, diverse, and user-friendly recipes easy. To keep things organized, we'll use uniform, straightforward language.
By really getting to know our users, we aim to provide possible solutions to the issues they face and create a personalized experience tailored to their individual wants and needs.
With an easy-to-follow recipe that covers everything you need, from selection to the first bite, you can cook with speed, simplicity, and reliability – all in one go!
Our goal: combine recipes into one app, helping users search & choose without getting lost & reducing cognitive load. To do this, we conducted a Competitive Analysis focusing on top market apps & websites:
- Comprehensible cooking format.
- Step-by-step option with a demo video about a recipe.
- The company publishes its own recipes, with no bloggers/users.
- The recipes are limited, only Tasty can publish recipes.
- No option to switch between liters and oz, making it hard to interpret ingredient quantities.
- Interface providing reliable recipes to website users.
- Create a checklist & shopping list for recipe prep.
- Possibility of uploading recipes by the users
- Option to adjust recipe ingredients for desired servings.
- Low aesthetics of the website design.
- A high cognitive load may occur in users due to the website's visibility.
- The site is heavily loaded with advertisements
- Filter recipes by categories (preparation time, type of meal).
- The site encourages users to post recipes, rate, & be active in the cooking community.
- Shopping list creations for recipes.
- Preparing the recipe according to the number of diners.
- Long recipe pages cause excessive scrolling for users.
- No step-by-step recipe prep checklist.
- It is not possible to follow other chefs.
What do we need to know?
- Who is our target audience?
- How often do they cook?
- Is the cooking planned?
- Do the users use recipes for cooking?
- Where do they get the recipes?
- Is there any difficulty in finding a suitable recipe?
- If they had a difficulty - what was the difficulty? And was there a solution?
- According to what do users choose recipes?
We reached out to tech-savvy users who find and use recipes online. We conducted a questionnaire and interviews to gather data.
Quantitative Research - Questionnaire Main Results(N=232)
- The users usually cook almost every day or once a week.
- The cooking is almost always planned in advance.
- The users occasionally use recipes.
- The sources from which users look for recipes: are Google, family and friends, blogs, and recipe books.
- The popularity of a recipe (comments, bloggers, ratings) influences the selection of the recipe.
Qualitative Research - User Interviews Main Insights
- The recipe search is getting longer.
- The search for an alternative to the ingredients in the recipe is getting longer.
- Sites where the desired recipe has a high rating.
- Websites where you can choose the difficulty level of the recipe.
- Sites where there are alternatives to the recipe (eg the same recipe without meat).
- Sites that have photos from users who prepared the recipe and recommendations.
- Difficulty in finding alternatives for vegan/vegetarian ingredients.
- It is difficult to choose a specific recipe, there are many options for making a single recipe.
- It is not written how many people the portion of the recipe is enough for.
- There are recipes that are written in a cumbersome and incomprehensible way.
In order to get a better understanding of what our target audience looks like, we developed a few personas. For example:
Yoav, 36 years old, is a developer in a hi-tech company. During the coronavirus, he discovered that he enjoys cooking, and since then he always tries to upgrade his cooking skills. He likes to cook in his spare time, he prefers to follow the recipe instructions from start to finish, and in addition, he is always experimenting with new recipes.
- Mostly he finds recipes without ratings/comments/photos.
- He encountered an overly abstract description of quantities/measurements of certain foods.
- He encountered a lack of uniformity in the structure and display of various recipes.
- Most of the sites where Yoav searches for recipes do not update the recipe inventory.
- Recipe creators will be instructed to include uniform, orderly, and clear information in their recipes.
- The main page will feature only the top-rated recipes in each category. Moreover, The product will also encourage users to upload photos of their dishes.
- A constant stream of new recipes will be combined with a user-friendly personal area where the user can create unique cookbooks that will be visible to others.
Yoav, who loves cooking and is curious, wants to save some Persian food recipes in his personal profile. He goes to the home page, looks for the "kitchens" category, then selects Persian cuisine, filters the highest-rated recipes, and saves the ones he likes in his personal profile.
1- The questionnaire
First, we published a questionnaire to which 163 people answered. Of these, 143 answered the filtering question and continued.
The initial order of questions were:
- My cooking is planned in advance (what to cook and with what ingredients)
- How many times did you use a recipe when cooking?
- I looked for the recipe in...
- After I found the recipe..
- Have you experienced any difficulty in searching for a recipe?
In question number 5, only 39.2% reported any difficulty in searching for a recipe. The data led us to carry out a homework test, in the end it was decided to refine the wording of the questions, because the difficulty we wanted to learn about is not found in searching for the recipe, but in choosing it.
The Initial questions failed to find desired pain points. The interviews revealed it's easy to search but difficult to find a specific recipe that fits. This is a problem to solve: people want to cook but don't know what and how. In addition, the web is loaded with info about recipes, what makes finding a specific recipe is difficult, and causing cognitive load and frustration. We used "Research Methods" Unit 5 "The Survey" to find a solution.
The survey chapter suggesting to make a logical order of questions, so we changed order of question 5 to appear earlier. This was due to initial series of questions asking whether they experienced difficulty in searching after they reported where they looked for recipe and if they cooked with it.
Also, the wording of the question has been changed to a more specific wording in order to make our intention as precise as possible and discover relevant pain points for the users. We made sure that the question was one-sided, meaning that the difficulty they are being asked about is the difficulty of finding a suitable recipe, which leaves no room for doubt.
We distributed a renewed questionnaire, to which 77 people answered, of which 69 passed the screening question and went on to answer the rest of the questionnaire.
In the renewed questionnaire, we brought forward the appearance of the fifth question to the third question, in a renewed wording: "Have you experienced difficulty in finding a recipe that suits you?"
The order of the new questionnaire:׳
- My cooking is planned in advance (what to cook and with which ingredients).
- Of the times you cooked, how many times did you use the recipe?
- Did you experience difficulty in finding a recipe that suits you?
- I looked for the recipe in...
- After I found the recipe...
• Out of the new 69 people, 42 reported that they experienced difficulty in finding a suitable recipe. This is close to 61% of all those who answer the questionnaire. The conversion rate went up!!
2- Choosing a platform for the product
First, we thought that the product platform would be a mobile app, our work on the product started and continued as our ultimate goal is to create a recipe app.
We came up with a very ambitious concept of what we thought was right - that we could create a recipe app like no other. We started from the assumption that every person who wants to cook and look for recipes will probably want and need our app!
How did we understand that an app is not the right solution?
At a time close to the submission of the project, we asked the question what is the tool that users use to search for recipes?, through Similarweb and using the answers to the questionnaire we built, we realized that most users search for recipes through different browsers.
Following this, we asked ourselves two questions:
- Do our users need a product for the mobile phone/computer?
- Do our users need an app or Mobile Web?
A possible solution to 1:
From an article on Google Think, we discovered that among the millennial generation, about 60% of users are 25 to 34 years old and cook using their phone or tablet (this figure corresponds to the age of most of the users who answered our questionnaire),
The article also found that users search for questions about cooking procedures more on the phone than on the computer.
We also found through Similarweb that Israelis (most of the users who answered the questionnaire are Israelis) often search for procedures related to cooking through the Google search engine.
Thanks to the findings, we came to the conclusion that we need to create a mobile product.
A possible solution for 2 - an application or Mobile Web?
Referring to the findings from our questionnaire, it was found that most users search for recipes through the Google search engine more than from an app.
We have reached the point where we need to create a Mobile Web and not an application.
As a result, we learned that we should always rely on our statistics, which show us quite clearly the behavior of the users. And the most important lesson we learned from here - we are not the user!
Thanks to my wonderful team, I learned a lot working with you: Itay Steinberg, Nimrod Sagisman, Noya Ariel, Orel Cohen.