Comparing Recipe iPad apps

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A quick comparison of two cooking iPad apps shows some great design practices--and some bad ones.

Text of Comparing Recipe iPad apps

  • 1. EPICURIOUS versus BIG OVEN { A brief review of two iPad recipe apps}

2. The graphic interfaces of the Epicurious and Big Oven apps are very polished, with vibrant graphics and well-organized layouts.But the user interfacehow people actually search and use recipes hasnt been as carefully considered. Lets view each apps landing screen, attempt a search, read a recipe, add ingredients to a grocery list and then check the list. As a quick visual cue, Epicurious screens will have a gray backgrounds,while Big Oven will have white. 3. EPICURIOUS Landing Screen (Part 1)Tapping Featured shows Epicurious seasonalsearch categoriesUsers can also select Search or Favorites, or their shopping list 4. EPICURIOUS Landing Screen(Part 2)Users can search by entering text AND bytapping icons, leading to confusing resultsThis pop-up search method is inefficient. Users must swipe tofind the correct icons,and the complicatedinterface is hard to use. 5. BIG OVEN Landing Screen Easy search is key:better to have provided a text search field atthe top of the pop-up 6. EPICURIOUS Search Results Well organized, easy to scan, with the tabs providingfilters along the side Recipes cant berated on the iPad,diminishing positive user experience 7. BIG OVEN Search Results Recipe tags are nothelpful due to repetition(main dishes) andconfusing categories(whats the differencebetween ribs, roasts, steaks and chops etc?).Preparation andtotal cooking timeswould be more helpful.EPICU R IO U S ve rsu s B IG O V EN 8. EPICURIOUS Recipe The ingredients can only be seen in thepop-up, which obscures the recipe text Users must repeatedly tap between theingredients and therecipe to make the dish 9. BIG OVEN RecipeTapping Prepare redraws the screen with largertext and extends the iPads active-screen timer, though few users will realize it The ingredients andrecipe are showntogether, making iteasy to follow. 10. EPICURIOUS Add to Grocery List Tapping this icon thechanges its color,indicating ALL ingredients have been added to the grocerylist. Ingredients cant be individually added 11. BIG OVEN Add to Grocery ListSure to confuse users,boxes can be checked......OR text can be tapped,which highlights the row and provides a pop-up. Neither method actuallyfunctions correctly, and ALL of the ingredientswill be added to the list. 12. EPICURIOUS Grocery ListNo indication of checkboxes functionItems cannot be deleted on this screen, only on the recipe screen. Fewusers will discover that.The list will become too long and users will avoid this function entirely 13. BIG OVEN Grocery ListCustom items can beentered here, but usersmight assume these are labels for the columnsbelow. Leading off with the word Add wouldprovide a visual cue Users have to tap Editand enter anotherpop-up to deleteitems, neitherintuitive nor efficient No indication ofcheckboxes function Poor information architecture has led to two unusable entries(how big a roast? whatsmissing from Other?) 14. In summary, both apps have appealing graphic interfaces which take good advantage of the iPads amazing screen fidelity.Unfortunately neither user interface has been planned outcarefully enough, and users will be frustrated by some overly-complicated search functions, difficult recipe usage and disastrous grocery lists.