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KitchenPC Goes Mobile!

August 4, 2010

Over the weekend, I created a very basic mobile version of the website.  It was interesting thinking about what exactly a mobile site would need to offer, as the user scenarios are a little different from someone using the site on a desktop computer.  Obviously, achieving feature parity with the full site would be both massively time consuming and completely unnecessary.  I decided to jot down some quick notes about what I think people are looking for from a mobile version of KitchenPC.

Shopping Lists

This is an obvious one.  Users might use KitchenPC to track their shopping lists, similar to using a magnetic white board on the fridge.  The ability to quickly access their shopping list from a mobile phone while at the grocery store could be a huge benefit.  This was one of the high priority features for KitchenPC Mobile.

Pantry

This one was less obvious, but I could see it come in handy for the user who was obsessed with storing their inventory in KitchenPC.  How often have you asked yourself “Hmm, do I have any cumin?” while at the grocery store.  Now, I think the user who would actually maintain a personal pantry in KitchenPC would be rare, but the ability to access a user defined pantry might come in handy for other reasons.  Users might use this feature to track perishable items that they’re trying to get rid of, and use it as more of a “to use” list rather than a full inventory.  Either way, it needs to be accessible from the mobile site.

Cookbook

Providing access to the user’s cookbook is pretty important, though it also mandates the need to build a mobile version of the recipe viewer.  However, this is no problem.  I can see a few uses for this feature.  For example, while at the grocery store, users might find themselves with a craving for a certain salmon recipe but not remember all the ingredients.  Likewise, perhaps at a pot luck someone might ask you how you made that fantastic fruit salad.  You could quickly pull up the recipe on your phone.  Providing quick access to the cookbook (for those of you who don’t know, the cookbook is basically analogous to the user’s favorite recipes or “bookmarks”) could come in handy.

Calendar

I’d rate calendar access as a lower priority, but I decided to add this in anyway.  The big scenario I can think of is if you forgot to generate a shopping list with your upcoming meal plan before heading to the store.  Perhaps you have a big dinner planned for this weekend and use your calendar to track the dishes you’ll be making.

Recipe Search

Though most recipe searching would be done on the main site, I just didn’t feel the mobile site would be complete without the ability to search the database for recipes.  My search options are not as “advanced” as the main site, for example you can only filter by one tag at a time and there’s no ingredient filter, but it’s better than nothing.  The most common scenario would be the user who wants to find a recipe that they hadn’t added to their cookbook.

Recipe Viewer

The recipe viewer is a dumbed down version of the one on the full site, but it provides the basics.  You can see each ingredient (which are also hyperlinks to search for other recipes with that ingredient), the method, prep time, cook time, servings, average rating, author and tags.  The latter two also provide hyperlinks to search for other recipes with those properties.  The recipe viewer allows you to quickly generate a shopping list for the recipe, add it to your cookbook, rate the recipe, and see comments on the recipe.  There’s no ability to create a new comment, but that might be something I implement down the road.

What’s missing?

The mobile site is really designed with a read-only approach in mind.  It’s intended for users who want to check information, not contribute data to the site.  There’s no ability to create new recipes or edit recipes.  You also don’t have much control over your shopping list, cookbook or pantry.  You can create a new shopping list from a recipe, but not edit or remove individual items.  There’s no ability to remove an item from your cookbook.  The calendar is also read only, and there’s no way to add a recipe to your calendar.  More advanced calendar features (such as generating a shopping list from a calendar range) are a super high priority, I just wasn’t able to get to them in the first round.  I’ll probably depend on direct user feedback to influence my decisions on what to implement next, and what features need to be thought out more.

However, I think this is a pretty good first attempt at a mobile site and it only took me about a day to create.  Furthermore, I think this site will act as somewhat of a feature spec when designing mobile apps, such as those for the iPhone, Android and Windows Mobile platforms.

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From → Business

3 Comments
  1. Mom permalink

    I liked the idea of looking up a recipe on a cell phone while shopping at the grocery store. (My phone is not connected to the internet, so I make out my shopping list before I leave home… )

  2. I love your blog.. very nice colors & theme. Did you make this website yourself or
    did you hire someone to do it for you? Plz respond as I’m looking to
    design my own blog and would like to know where u
    got this from. many thanks

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