Research Synthesis Design Solution


01 Solution Overview

Introducing CooksBook

We introduce CooksBook, the recipe site that fits. CooksBook was designed two accommodate three main types of interactions: searching for recipes, creating meals, and finding cookbooks.

Key Design Elements

From our user research and synthesis, we outlined the key design elements below that are critical to accommodating the needs of our personas.

Constrain then Browse

We found that user's primary search was based on a applying an initial constraint to the search space ("fish", "vegetarian", etc). We found that the choice of cookbook is physical analog to this process. Secondary search was based more heavily on more emotional appeal; users viewed many appropriate recipes and selected one based on their occasion-based criteria (see mental models). By retaining this interaction in our web site, users were enabled to perform more explorative recipe searches and find unanticipated recipes.

Assessing Difficulty

Users assessed difficulty mainly based on the type of ingredients used in the recipe. They later confirmed that the recipe was within their expertise by looking through the procedure. In our web site, we enabled rapid delving into specific recipes and returning to the browse interface to accommodate this practice.

Existing Solutions

We found that users had existing recipe annotation and storage systems. We retained this practice by enabling users to print their recipes on a 3x5 card, which would fit into a recipe box that was kept in the kitchen to store favorite recipes. In addition, we found that more experienced cooks enjoyed keeping notes in their cookbooks with margin annotations. We also preserved this by adding the ability to easily take notes on every recipe detail web page.


Recipes are only suggested methods of preparing a meal. We found that there exist multiple reasons for making modifications that range from accommodating health restrictions to making a meal more authentic. We enabled rapid and easy substitution of ingredients through our substitution interface, which automatically suggests substitutions previously used by community members.

Simple and Consistent Interaction Metaphor

We found that many users of a recipe site remain novice users and thus must be able to navigate through the interface without having to learn new interactions at each page. To lower the learning costs, we designed our site to use the same constrain and browse metaphors to locate both recipes and cookbooks.

IID.2006 - Project 3
IID 2006 . Human-Computer Interaction Institute . Carnegie Mellon University

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