Prompted with the challenge of designing a website related to recipes, our team of five MHCI students set out to explore the process involved in cooking from a recipe. To do this we elicited retrospective accounts and performed contextual inquiries to discover various participants methods of finding recipes, preparing to cook, and finally cooking the dish. We found that it's fairly common for users to use some sort of technology - either a laptop, smart phone or desktop - during this process, and more interestingly, during the cooking process itself.
Competitive analysis, as well as data from our user research, showed that numerous websites already existed to find and manage recipes, and that people were largely satisfied with these options. We then decided to look at what was missing - assistance in actually using the recipes. Spatula's primary goal is to guide users along in the cooking process, providing a dashboard interface for following a recipe (or multiple recipes at once). Including things like built-in timers and alerts round out the comprehensive interface.
When thinking about how users would actually interact with this while cooking, we quickly realized a problem - cooking is messy! The hands that would be needed to click a mouse or enter a key command would likely be covered in sticky cookie dough or unsanitary chicken juices. To work around this, we developed "ChickenDance" - interaction via elbows. Once in dashboard mode, users could interact with the system using just their elbows to press the keyboard. Inputs would include things like: tap on left half of keyboard, swipe from left to right, tap and hold, simultaneous tap on both sides of keyboard. Most home cooks who heard the idea responded that they already did many tasks with the elbows while cooking, such as turning on the faucet, and thus this seemed to be a natural fit.
Finally, to round out Spatula as a holistic system, we designed web interfaces for use while at the store. These include things like ingredient lists, based on selected recipes, and ingredient information for those unfamiliar items.
research, ideation, prototype creation, video creation