Home cooks have forever been scribbling in cookbooks, often handed down through generations. Many family dishes have gone the way of the dodo because of a lack of reliable, and legible, recipe versions.
So there we were, at the edge of a new adventure in making apps. Apps to help people save recipes, modify them, keep notes, and become better cooks.
We were a team of four data scientists, four web developers, and two user experience designers.
We had 7 weeks to complete the overhaul of this anticipated mobile app called MyDish
MyDish is an app that stores recipes.
Cooks can record, browse, copy, modify, save, and refer back to each version of a recipe.
This solves the problem of people scribbling in their cookbooks, not able to keep track of their recipes and the different versions they come up with. It also allows for a community to grow and share their favorite dishes.
In its initial stages, the functionality of the app was minimal.
Users could not upload photos, inputting recipes was a tedious process, and the navigation felt clunky and unfinished.
Inputting a whole recipe piece by piece sucks and takes a lot of time.
That would solve the issue of home cooks not returning to MyDish because of the tedium of slow input.
👀 Lastly, the UI was good, but not great yet, and it needed some upgrades to help the users get though creating, editing, and viewing their recipes.
Then this meeting happened with the client.
The client stated that before we worried about users inputting inappropriate content, we need to get and keep cooks.
We cut content moderation and focused on making sure that cooks would want to use and keep using MyDish.
We put emphasis on assisting home cooks in creating and editing recipes as much as possible.
We sifted through the previous team's research and used our findings as a jumping off point.
“Sadly, I’m old school when I save my recipes. If I like one and I know that I’m going to use it a lot, I handwrite it in an old notebook that I keep family recipes in and scribble notes and changes all over it.”
- Dee Jacobpito
This information validated our direction and so we got to work making the app that MyDish deserved to be.
But hold on.
We digested the existing wireframes to research what the previous designers experimented with in their explorations.
The team and client were wanting new ways to display information, so I hit the drawing board.
Making the flow to create recipes as easy as possible was definitely a challenge, but I was lucky to have the rest of the team working on some really cool features to speed up the input process exponentially.
Input from the team, client, colleagues, and potential users steered several design decisions such as the suggested ingredients list, the autocomplete, the cuisine buttons, and the edit screen.
Input such as:
- A warm color direction
- Categorical buttons for types of cuisine
- How the suggested ingredients list might work
We designed for in-line editing of recipes at the client's initial request.
Changing the app to a design system that made more sense took a lot of incremental steps.
Here are some of those steps and the final results.
Here are a few important results that I found by working on MyDish.
- Building onto a project that has already had the groundwork laid out presents different exciting challenges than a start from scratch.
- The team is everything, because without the other incredible people working on this project, the results would not have been quite as amazing.
- Simple, straightforward, and clean design helps to convey information as effectively as possible to any user base.