Gourmet Traveller ipad usability testing

AIMS

  • Uncover users’ goals and look at how the app could become more useful in achieving them.
  • Identify usability issues within the app and take appropriate action to rectify them.

QUANTITATIVE DATA

The analytics for the preceeding 3 month period revealed a total of 166, 169 user sessions. These averaged 9.35 page views, but just 0.01 device orientation changes per session. This led me to believe that the landscape cooking mode for recipes  (conceived for ease of use while cooking) was not being used.

To dig deeper into the reasons behind this, as well as uncover other unmet needs, we appealed to readers through the magazine’s Facebook page. A small cohort who were willing to be interviewed came forward.

DISCOVERIES

The users were largely unaware of the landscape view for cooking; when shown all said it would not be useful for cooking and they would rather use the portrait view. The two main reasons were the need to see the ingredients and method simultaneously (the old cookmode presented a step by step series of slides that the user had to swipe through), and a reluctance to touch the screen while cooking.

  • The subjects’ use of the cooking mode also revealed that the navigation was confusing and counter intuitive.
  • Several commented that the image of the dish was unnecessary once they had committed to following the recipe.
Arrows insicating to swipe to next slide unclear and users were reluctant to touch screen while cooking.

Arrows indicating swipe to next slide were unclear and users were reluctant to touch screen while cooking.

  • The subjects’ processes when cooking a recipe from the magazine were also enlightening. Some would search for a recipe they remembered on the website, as it’s search  function is superior to that of the app. Then they would take a screenshot or print it out. One subject would then hand write a shopping list.
  • Further observation revealed confusion around using the contents page and recipe index to navigate the issue.
Top-level menu categories were unclear, and the absence of descriptive text was a barrier to making a choice.

Top-level menu categories were unclear, and the absence of descriptive text was a barrier to making a choice.

These people really wanted to cook recipes from the magazine. They were going to great lengths and inventing their own hacks to do so. A hack represents an opportunity; the process could be made a lot easier for them.

PROPOSED ACTIONS

  • Redesign the contents so that it is clearer and easier to use.

Clear hierarchy of menu items; text describing articles included, as in the print edition.

  • Reconfigure the cooking view in line with user goals.
Ingredients and method can be viewed simultaneously; need to touch the screen minimised; text enlarged to be legible at cooking distance.

Ingredients and method can be viewed simultaneously; need to touch the screen minimised; text enlarged to be legible at cooking distance.

  • Raise awareness of new cooking view through the ed’s letter.
  • Introduce ability for users to email shopping list to themselves.

In the longer term, ideally the cooking view would be formatted as html, so it could link to the same database that feeds the magazine’s website. The app’s internal search can look across issues, but it’s not all that precise. Linking to the website database would make fine grain custom searches possible.

Skills: Digital design, Interaction design, UX design