One of the first projects I worked on, CookBox is a quick and lo-fidelity prototype of a native app using the POP app for testing. It was created to help users discover new recipes through a filtered search, save those recipes, and then organize them into categories of their choosing. The inspiration for the aesthetic and function came from old recipe card boxes.
This was a solo project with a timeline of one week, created for one user/persona.
Coming from a background in illustration, I had to get used to an entirely new method of designing: whereas before I might have the idea fully fleshed out in my head before putting it to paper, in the UX Design process I had to cultivate much more patience and trust in my research.
Mockups of the landing and Home pages
I began by getting to know and developing a persona for my user: Susan.
Susan is 28, lives in the city with her boyfriend, and is responsible for most of the cooking in the household. She's a full-time student and freelances on the side, which leaves her little time to explore new recipe options.
The task she needed help with was fairly simple: a better way to find new recipes for meal planning and prep.
Susan currently finds recipes by searching through several different websites, often having multiple tabs open at once
She saves recipes she finds by copying the link and sending it to herself in one continuous email thread
Time is at a premium
No patience for long, exhaustive blog-posts before getting to the actual recipe
Susan most often looks for recipes on her phone
When cooking from a recipe she has chosen, she reads it off of her phone
She'd like an app that could keep everything in one place and wouldn't require multiple platforms to get from search to cooking
Ratings and reviews are very important to Susan when choosing a recipe
Based on these points and opportunities, I established my problem and solution statements:
Susan’s time is at a premium. She needs a simpler way to search for recipes, save and categorize them, and keep shopping lists all in one place.
Creating an app for Susan that will allow her to search for recipes by name or ingredient, filter those searches according to ratings, save recipes in a catalog, and then organize those recipes as she likes.
To get an idea of how I wanted the app to function, I examined the search features and layouts of two apps Susan used frequently: eBay and Goodreads. Since categorization is a priority, these two sites provided good inspiration.
USER FLOW #1
Initial user flow concept.
With the research and synthesis completed, I began preliminary sketches for Susan's app. I consulted with her on my first iteration, and her feedback included needing more text to indicate what the boxes are and what to do with them, as well as more guidance for how to use the "save" feature on a recipe page.
REVISED USER FLOW
After refining and cleaning up my user flow, I made a lo-fi sketch of each page (using the iPad Pro and Procreate) and laid them out in the POP app. I made one or two minor adjustments after testing with Susan and three other users, and ended with a product that accomplished Susan's goals simply and efficiently.
REFLECTIONS AND NEXT STEPS
This is the project in which I learned the value of user flows and trusting the design process. If I got hung up on a particular outcome I would review my steps and see where I needed to go. I also began to see how abiding by the "We are not the user" mantra was vital to following the design process.
After contracting Featuritis early on, I quickly recovered after realizing that the details didn’t coincide with my objective.
Users noted that at first they didn’t know what to do with the “recipe box” icon at the bottom, but as soon as they clicked on it there was no further confusion.
Users felt that the path from login to saving recipes was simple and straightforward.
Future iterations will focus on managing shopping lists and folders into which recipes can be sorted, as well as having a Text-Only Reader version for using the recipe on your phone. Will also include a glossary of terms and tips for cooking techniques.