This is a speculative project and design that I put together inspired by a personal frustration with being unable to find a good reverse recipe search. I was responsible for the whole project, including Product, UX, and UI Design.
I often find that most recipes only call for a small amount of cilantro, even though grocery stores sell it in much larger quantities. After making a recipe that calls for only a small fraction of the cilantro I have, I struggle to find something to make with it before it goes bad. And I've found there are many recipe/ingredient relationships like this one. Because I don't like the idea of wasting food, I try my best to come up with creative ways to use leftover ingredients, but I've found there is no tool out there that lets me search by ingredient in an elegant way. This is the problem I was trying to solve for through this project while also offering the ability to search by dietary restrictions and preferences. I was responsible for the whole project, including research, strategy, prototyping, user experience, user interface, and product design. I would love to make this product come to life one day, so if you're interested in building this with me, please feel free to reach out.
Understanding the competitive landscape
Through a competitive analysis of reverse recipe searches, I learned that there was an opportunity to create a tool that was easy to use, allowed users to narrow search results by relevant refinements, and frame the tool in a way that explains to users the money-saving potential that wasting less food can offer. Since this product was inspired by a personal problem with the lack of recipe searches that allow to search by more granular details, I wanted to come up with user personas so I could step out of my personal thoughts and see the problem through the eyes of potential users.
Sketching out possible solutions
Sketching out some solutions and ideas that could help to visualize what I had in mind is an important part of my process. It helps to translate my ideas into something more tangible. These are some of the early sketches that helped me to visualize and iterate on the concept.
Translating these ideas to wireframes
After creating the sketches, I started wireframing these ideas in much higher fidelity. In the wireframing process I ended up adjusting and iterating on my original sketches. This process helps to further define the user interface and bring the concept to life.
Designing the user interface
I wanted to create a simple and clean interface for this app that was reminiscent of fresh produce in order to visually represent the ideas within the product through the interface. I used my cilantro inspiration for this project to create a cilantro leaf logo.
Creating a simple way to search complex measurements
I wanted this product to be easy to use for both US and metric system users and I knew that creating something intuitive that could translate across these systems would be the key to a successful design. I used a simple additive process in order to allow users to add ingredients to their recipe search.
Allowing users to save favorites
Giving users the opportunity to save favorite recipes will help them to keep an inventory of go-to recipes. This should help with the return rate and allow them the flexibility to use the app when they're craving certain recipes and not only when they are looking to do a reverse recipe search.
Narrowing by dietary restrictions and preferences
This was something I would have thought would be more prevalent on recipe search sites that exist today, but the filters are typically not very robust or helpful. I wanted this app to address those needs. By allowing users to filter, they can find recipes that satisfy their needs more quickly.