Researcher . Usability Testing
Allrecipes is the #1 ranking most popular social networking recipe sharing website. The company is based in Seattle, WA and traffics an estimated 25,000,000 unique monthly visitors. The business originated in 1997 and now operates 19 websites in 13 languages. Allrecipes.com's smartphone apps allow users to access the site and its user-uploaded content while on the go.
- Make the mobile app more user friendly
- Create more robust filtering options
- Make the shopping list feature more effective
- Create a layout that can be read easily while cooking
The most important part of my research was to discover what people thought of the original website by performing in person interviews and recording the gathered qualitative data. This was a key issue because making any changes without a valid reason to do so would be contrary to what UX Design is all about. Quantitative data would then be gathered by posting an online survey as well as conducting additional in person interviews. Creating an affinity diagram and conducting prototype testing was also a major point of the research process.
This project was completed in a 2 week design sprint
our Process Overview
- Competive analysis
- 1 on 1 in person interviews
- Online surveys
- Site maps, journeys
- Wireframes & iterations
- Visual design & Prototype
- I created a survey containing 9 multiple choice questions to discover peoples cooking habits
- I posted the survey on Facebook. My teammates likewise posted it on their social media outlets
- 35 people participated providing solid pool of data
- This survey provided us demographics of our most likely users
- Most people used websites instead of mobile apps
- Ironically most people showed a willingness to use mobile a app
- We investigated why people used websites over mobile apps
- Scrolling between ingredients and directions was a big issue
- We tried to adopt things not available on mobile
In Person Interviews
The primary persona is Trevor Parker, a 35 year old engineer living in downtown Seattle with his girlfriend. The couple used to go out to eat a lot, but are now trying to cook more at home to save money. Trevor doesn't eat gluten because of a recently discovered gluten intolerance, and his girlfriend is a vegetarian. Trevor is looking for simple recipes he can cook at home that will accommodate both their diets. He has downloaded the Allrecipes app but is finding the search features to be pretty limiting. Furthermore, once he gets to a recipe he wants to make, he has to scroll back and forth on his screen several times to reference the ingredients list and instructions. It's annoying, and his hands are often dirty from cooking so his phone gets smeared.
- Identified 4 of our strongest competitors
- Ironically Pinterest was the biggest
- We discovered Allrecipes already incorporated most features
- Emphasis shifted from keeping up with the other apps to improving existing features and distinguishing ourselves
- We added voice activation to separate us from our competitors
- Wrote down common responses people gave to questions on post it notes
- Grouping these responses based on similarities helped us notice trends
- We identified the most common reoccurring problems
- Prioritized the most prominent complaints as our design focus
Left Photo: Adding lower navigation bar and putting lesser used features in hamburger menu was easier to psychologically process.
Middle Photo: People had difficulty understanding that items were being added to shopping cart until a prompt over the cart icon would indicate it.
Right Photo: Selecting between ingredients and directions by simply tapping solved the complaint of having to scroll up and down between the two.
Wireframes by Josh Sera
- Research the complaints people are having with Alexa's narration of recipes and solve those problems.
- Our teammates expressed regret not having more time to work on the visual design. Doing so would also require more testing after.
What I learned
- Always practice humility and acknowledge when other teammates have a better idea
- Let usability testing indicate what the best design is over another
- What seems intuitive to the designer may not be intuitive to other users
This project ended up being great experience in many ways. No matter how large a company is, it does not mean their web, or software design is beyond critique or attempts at making improvements. In the end, we were able to complete a design that improved its functionality and had been successfully tested for its ease in use. We also successfully added a voice activation feature that gave the app a competitive edge against other apps, setting them apart, which would enable them to remain competitive in the market place.