As technology has improved and allowed us to move more of our daily tasks online, recipes have increasingly moved to digital mediums such as online blogs, Youtube and Google searches.
Most people use recipes from several different recipe websites when they cook. It can be very difficult to organize all of these recipes, remember where it was from or where it was saved, wasting time and adding unnecessary frustration to your cooking process. RecipeHub provides an organized and convenient location for storing all your recipes, saving time and frustration on searching for past recipes and giving you comfort that your recipes will not be lost.
User research and validation
We conducted a user research survey involving 67 respondents and found that 97% of respondents use recipes in a digital form. We also found that 86% of home cooks have reported that they refer to at least 2 different recipe sources (see Graph 1) such as physical recipe books, online recipes from Google searches, cooking blogs, YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram to find inspiration for their weekly meals, confirming that there might be some challenges in organizing all of these recipes online.
When asked if home cooks are saving their recipes, we found that 77% (see Graph 2) of people are saving their recipes in some way (taking screenshots, adding the recipe link in their phone notes, saving to a Google Doc or bookmarking in their browser).
Although there is a high percentage of people saving their recipes, to our surprise, people are rarely referring back to these recipes. We conducted user interviews involving 10 participants to dive deeper. When asked why they don’t refer back to their saved recipes, respondents indicated that the process can be time consuming and frustrating. For example, recipe phone notes and screenshots get mixed in with non-recipe related content that makes it inefficient to search through. Most people reported that it feels easier and faster to Google the recipe again.
We were able to validate that there is a desire to save recipes, but home cooks have not found a method that is effective at accomplishing this job.
From our interviews and surveys, we found some other interesting information that influenced the features we wanted to implement:
- When asking the open ended question, “What is your least favorite part of finding a recipe?”, we found that 43% of respondents stated that they didn’t like the long blogs or descriptions at the beginning of online recipes as shown in Graph 3. We set out to solve this problem by allowing users to remove portions of the recipe that they don’t like.
- We learned that a lot of people make modifications or substitutions to their meals based on their dietary restrictions, preferences or what they have in the fridge. Some users stated that they adjust the amounts they use for certain ingredients, for example, people may cut back on sugar. We aimed to help users with documenting their changes by implementing a feature to allow notes to be added and saved to each recipe.
Landing on the solution
Our goal was to create a product that would allow users to save recipes and
We initially wanted to create a web-app that would allow users to input a URL into our platform and our web-app would automatically be able to web scrape and bring in the data for each recipe. However, upon further investigation from our devs team, we learned that this solution would involve expenses and extra effort. So we decided to pivot our solution in order to meet our team’s constraints of time, effort and budget.
Explanation of solution
Our solution is a web-app, RecipeHub, where users can easily save their favourite recipes for future use. Our team focused on three main features/components that we wanted to complete:
- Storing Recipes - Users can copy and paste desired sections of a recipe into RecipeHub which will then save the users’ recipes into their online collection of recipes for future use and ease of access. We found that almost every home cook we spoke to didn’t like several parts of online recipes (long essay before recipe, ads, etc.), so we wanted to allow the user to customize what sections get imported into their recipe pages.
- Notes - Once the user has saved their recipes into RecipeHub, they are able to add notes to their recipes to document any modifications or substitutions they prefer.
- Categories - Users can create different categories for their recipes to be stored and organized within. Recipes can be sorted into categories for ease of access and further organization.
Product Manager Learnings:
- When encountering a development feasibility roadblock, pivoting solutions early can be tough but it’s a good decision when working under short timelines
- How to appropriately adjust scope based on available resources
- How to have better conversations with developers and designers and how I can best support them as a PM
- Everyone has their own way of working and being able to adapt accordingly allows for a more seamless collaboration.
- Being able to iterate constantly and on the fly is essential to staying on schedule.
- Time moves fast in the product space and being able to work diligently allows for unforeseen setbacks.
- Don't be afraid to ask for help when coming across problems I am unable to solve on my own
- Everyone has different ways of approaching problems/coding their program – do lots of research to find something that is more appropriate for my level of understanding
- How to collaborate and how the work is delegated in a product team of PM, designers, and developers
- Learned how to work with a designer to implement designs for the first time
- Learned how to adjust and adapt to team schedules and timelines rather than working on my own timelines
Full Team Learning
- We felt that we were able to set consistent meeting times throughout the program and were able to stick to that schedule well. We learned that constant communication could be difficult at times but was key to the success of the project and removing bottlenecks/roadblocks.
- We adapted to new workflows and learned that acting quickly is important, whether that be pivoting solutions earlier or asking for help early.
- We learned how to work in a product team and understand how everyone’s role fits into the team.