Interface & Interaction Design
Carnegie Mellon MHCI Program
vegetarian > sagittarius > m. fruit medley
There are a ton of recipe websites out there, and personally, none of them appeal to me. It seems like the only metric for success for all of them is the amount of content.
So when my team was tasked with building a proof of concept for a recipe site, we looked for a niche activity in our user interviews for our focus. We decided to focus exclusively on social gatherings and pot lucks: Situations where you want to make an impression.
Our vision for Holistic Impression encompassed multiple areas, including personal style and home decoration. However, for this proof of concept, we restricted ourselves to recipe selection.
Narrowing Down Recipe Choices
During our early research, we spoke to many people who were cooking for a party. Whether they were cooking one dish or multiple, the concern tended to be the food type (e.g., "I want something with chicken," or "A main course with beef, but I need a veggie option").
Based on this finding, we structured our primary navigation around food type, while keeping shortcut links for people who want the best, fastest, or easiest recipe.
The Focus is the Food
During our competitive analysis, we discovered that a lot of recipe sites make you weed through lots of text to get to an image of what the food looks like. Some don't have an image at all.
Universally, our interviewees said that the appearance of the food was critical. Otherwise, how would they know if it looked appetizing? We made a conscious decision to keep the picture of the food front-and-center at all times.
Evolution of the Brand
While we knew we wanted a recipe site for people wanting to make a good impression, the brand underwent quite a few iterations before we settled on something that set the right tone.