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Case study:
recipe organizer
web design

Marble Surface

Project Overview

The problem:

Available online recipe websites have cluttered designs, inefficient systems for browsing through recipes and confusing instructions.

The product:

Recipe Organizer is a website that offers finding and viewing cooking tutorials. The typical user is between 19-50 years old, and most users are college students or early career professionals. Recipe Organizers goal is to make finding recipes fun, fast, and easy for all types of users.

My role:

UX designer leading the Recipe Organizer website design

The goal:

Design a Recipe Organizer website to be user friendly by providing clear navigation and offering simple instructions.

Project Duration:

April 2021 to April 2022

Responsibilities:

 

Conducting interview, paper and digital

wireframing, low and high-fidelity prototyping, conducting usability studies, accounting for accessibility, and iterating on designs.

understanding the user

I conducted user interviews, which I then turned into empathy maps to better understand the target user and their needs. I discovered that many target users treat recipe finding as a fun and relaxing activity when they feel inspired to cook from home. However, many recipe websites are overwhelming and confusing to navigate, which frustrated many target users. This caused a normally enjoyable experience to become challenging for them, defeating the purpose of relaxation.

user pain points

1. Navigation

Recipe website designs are often busy, which results in confusing navigation

2. Consistency

The "jump to recipe" button on the top of the page sometimes does not work.

3. Experience

Each recipe website may have notes and tips written in the introduction of the recipe, but wasn't actually found on the recipe. Because of this, missing steps became a common issue.

Persona & problem statement
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user journey map
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Starting the design

paper wireframes

Next, I sketched out paper wireframes for each screen in my app, keeping the user pain points about navigation, browsing, and checkout flow in mind.

 

The home screen paper wireframe variations to the right focus on optimizing the browsing experience for users.

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Refined paper wireframe

Stars were used to mark the elements of each sketch that would be used in the initial digital wireframes.

digital wireframes

Moving from paper to digital wireframes made it easy to understand how the redesign could help address user pain points and improve the user experience. 

 

Prioritizing useful button locations and visual element placement on the home page was a key part of my strategy.

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Low-fidelity prototype

To create a low-fidelity prototype, I connected all of the screens involved in the primary user flow of adding an item to the cart and checking out.

 

At this point, I had received feedback on my designs from members of my team about things like placement of buttons and page organization. I made sure to listen to their feedback, and I implemented several suggestions in places that addressed user pain points. 

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Usability Study Findings

These were the main findings uncovered by the usability study: 

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Refining the design

Mockups

After the usability study, I decided to completely change my website design. I decided to create a website where users could upload their favorite recipes and use this website as a way to organize their favorites.

before usability study

after usability study

Accessibility considerations

1. I used headings with different sized text for clear visual hierarchy.

2. I used landmarks to help users navigate the site, including users who rely on assistive technologies.

3. I designed the site with alt text available on each page for smooth screen reader access.

high-fidelity prototype

My hi-fi prototype followed the same user flow as the lo-fi prototype, and included the design changes made after the usability study, as well as several changes suggested by members of my team. 

Going forward

Takeaways

Impact: 

Our target users shared that the design was intuitive to navigate through, more engaging with the images, and demonstrated a clear visual hierarchy.

What I learned:

I learned that even a small design change can have a huge impact on the user experience. The most important takeaway for me is to always focus on the real needs of the user when coming up with design ideas and solutions. 

next steps

1. Conduct follow-up usability testing on the new website.

2. Identify any additional areas of need and ideate on new features.

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