Studies have found that Millennials are cooking less than ever before and this generation is considered as the worst cooks. Through this 8 weeks project at BrainStation, I wanted to explore this hypothesis and design a solution by discovering what matters to this unique generation. What can I learn from Millennials’ current experience with recipe and cooking apps then create something that is more well fitted for them?
According to studies, Millennials are the worst cooks because of multiple reasons:
With these hypotheses in mind, how might we help Millennials solve the daily problem of “What can I cook with what’s in my kitchen right now?”. How might we provide a digital platform that fits their lifestyle better and help them find matching recipes quicker?
To gain user insights and to validate the hypotheses, I conducted interviews with five people between the age of 22-30. I interviewed them about their relationship with cooking, their past experiences and interactions with recipes. The goal was to collect user patterns in regards to their pain points, motivations, and behaviours surrounding this topic.
Users expressed that they only have an average of 30 mins to cook during weekdays because of laziness and their busy work schedules. Also, they do not feel confident when they are cooking new dishes because they dislike being out of their comfort zone.
They value and prioritize low costs, convenience, and simpleness. However, they are extremely willing to learn how to cook better because cooking is an overall positive experience for them, a way for them to be creative and to distress.
Users have a short attention span to lengthy recipes and gravitate toward videos. To save time, users prefer to cook simple meals that only require basic ingredients. Affordability is very important so they dislike going out of their way to get ingredients to fulfill specific recipes which leads them to live an ingredient-first lifestyle. In terms of meal preparation, they do not like to prepare their meals in advance. Their habit is to check what existing ingredients they have first to decide what to cook for the day. Their comfort zone is also very important as they are less adventurous and are open to reusing the same recipes.
I gathered my qualitative research and created two user personas. Amanda is an amateur cooker who lacks basic skills and knowledge in the kitchen, while Alex is a more advanced cooker who is more confident and adventurous in the kitchen.
I started the ideation process by creating the information architecture of the app. Reflecting on the user interviews I conducted, I summarized that there are two main goals that Millennials are seeking from a recipe app.
1. To find and explore matching recipes quickly
2. To create a comfort zone with recipes they love
Therefore, keeping the user's priorities in mind, I decided to have a menu with only two key features, Explore and Your Favourites. Explore is where users can find recipes based on existing ingredients or by simply using the search bar. Your Favourites is where users can create and store recipe in groups.
After I had finalized the information architecture and site map of the app, I proceeded to map out the four user flows I wanted to target.
Since time and simplicity are very important to the users, I want to ensure that the user flow can take users to their destination in the shortest amount of time.
I drew sketches with a marker to explore different concepts. Although I wanted to incorporate a unique design, I decided to prioritize familiarity. Familiarity helps my app align to other real-world objects which will guide users to use the product without thinking. Since the users want “fast” and “simplicity”, it is most likely that they do not want to spend time discovering something new that requires time to understand how to navigate. Instead, familiar patterns and interactions will provide a more natural experience for them and will take them to their destination faster.
To solidify my favourite ideas, I refined my sketches using a pen to implement more details. Then, I created high fidelity wireframes using Figma.
I created an outline of the colour scheme, typography, and logo I wanted to use for Chefie. I kept the overall UI simple and clean as the main focus of the app should be directed to the colourful food photographs and videos, to attract users.
To test out the key features of the app, I asked three users to complete a user testing and provide me feedback. Some similar insights I got from the users consist of:
The search bar allows you to explore a singular ingredient or recipe. Cooking time, rating, and ingredients are listed below each recipe card so you get all the information without a click.
Want to narrow down your search to get matched recipes quicker? Filter in the ingredients available in your kitchen to see what you can cook right away. Sort results by cooking time, matched ingredients, or rating.
"Like" a recipe to save it in a group in Your Favourites. Access your favourite recipes in one tap so you can reuse and cook them whenever you want to.
The most enjoyable part of the project for me was being able to interview different users and listen to their stories about cooking. This practice gave me a deeper understanding of how to analyze results from interviews and eventually validating my hypotheses.
Due to time constraints and COVID, I was only able to complete three user testings. The next steps in product development would be further test the prototype on potential users and be more detailed in the tasks that I ask users to complete. Also, I would like to explore more business solutions on how the app could sustain. My current idea for this is to charge users a fee if they would like to reveal more recipes.