I had the opportunity of participating in a project with the Women in Technology (WITS)’s Ada Mentorship Program. Our team came up with the idea of solving the common problem of not knowing what to eat for one’s next meal by creating an application that would suggest recipes tailored to the user’s preferences and optimized to the ingredients the user already had in their fridge.
As the team’s designer, I led our discussions (alongside our developers) regarding our design goals, user needs, and possible solutions. I also developed wireframes, clickable prototypes, and aesthetic mockups.
Our main design aim was to create a user-friendly application that would quicken the user’s decision-making process in choosing a recipe for their next meal and ultimately, make cooking an enjoyable, hassle-free experience.
During a hectic, busy day, the last thing you want is to waste time thinking about what you should have for dinner. But if you don't want to spend extra money on takeout again, if you've got a fridge full of ingredients that are quickly approaching they're expiry date, or if you just want to start eating cleaner, you might want to reconsider cooking.
We tried to build an application that tackles all of these issues, that would hopefully make our users enjoy the cooking experience, and ultimately result in long term benefits including saving money and time, reducing waste, and learning new recipes.
55% of Americans are experiencing "cooking fatigue"
a restaurant meal can cost 325% more than cooking the same meal at home
over 50% of the food wasted in single-family households in Toronto is avoidable
food waste accounts for 8% of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions
During the process of our design synthesis, we laid down the basic components we wanted to include in our app to solve the problems that we had identified during our ideation phase. Then, I created a wireframe of the features and functions of the application, creating a seamless user journey that solved each problem we identified. Tinder was used as an inspiration to allow users to quick view recipes and either select like or dislike, which would allow them to make snap decisions on what they should eat for their next meal. In addition, the application would suggest recipes based on the user’s dietary preferences, as well as the ingredients they already had available in their fridge to encourage cooking and dining in, as opposed to eating out or opting for takeout. This would save more money in the long term and significantly reduce their food waste.
The wireframe was then developed into a clickable prototype that served as the main framework for the web developers on the team to use as a guide for their programming.
Here is a glimpse of our main features as showcased in our high-fidelity prototype.
Accommodating to a Wide Range of Dietary Preferences
We wanted to ensure every user was accounted for -- no matter the dietary restriction or preferences, our application would create an inclusive experience that would connect users to recipes that matched their needs.
A Tinder-like user interaction design to prompt speedy decisions
An intuitive interface with familiar gestures allow users to quickly learn how to navigate and optimally use the app. Moreover, the design of our home page engages users and encourages them to make snap-decisions about their meal choices. Choosing "like" adds the recipe to the list of daily liked recipes. That list is cleared everyday so that you don't get overwhelmed by the number of recipes you've "liked". Once a recipe is "disliked", the next recipe appears and another choice is easily eliminated. Selecting "super-like" allows users to start using that recipe right away.
Thousands of recipes to try and add to a personal recipe book
To cultivate an enjoyable cooking experience, we created our recipe layout to be as simple to view and follow as possible. Moreover, the user can choose from thousands of recipes that can be customized to level of difficulty, cooking time, calories, nutrients, budget, and more. The app also features a personal recipe book feature to which users can permanently save the recipes they've tried and loved.