Natalie's Reflections on Week 3

Question: Which problem would you tackle if you could design and/or build anything? What product, service, or experience would you re-design?

I love food: cooking it, eating it, learning about it.  And I particularly enjoy food blogs, with their beautiful photographs and inspiring food ideas.  But I can’t manage to keep up with the food bloggers I currently follow, much less all the wonderful new ones popping up.  So I’ve decided to build an application that better helps me find food inspiration and quality recipes.

Why there's a need

Reddit has done an amazing job of showing just how powerful the hive mind can be, but -- not being food focused -- it leaves much to be desired when it comes to finding recipes.

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Pinterest, on the other hand, does a great job of recommending recipes you might like based on food you’ve pinned, but because users pin based on a picture alone, there’s no information as to the quality of a recipe.

Curated food sites like Food52 and The Kitchn, on the other hand, tend to have both wonderful pictures and great content, but could be greatly improved by adding more user content.

And while there are other sites that allow users to rate and review recipes, I have yet to see one that actually prioritizes most relevant reviews.

My vision

I’m building a site that's food focused like Food52 and The Kitchn, yet rely on user generated content like Reddit and Pinterest. While photos from blog posts will be the main focus visually, users will have the ability to vote and comment on posts, as well as rate and review posted recipes. Users will also have the ability to submit links to their favorite blog posts.

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One goal I aim to achieve with this site is to create a meaningful feedback loop between bloggers and their readers. Blog comments I see rarely say more than something along the lines of, “Looks fabulous, can’t wait to try it.” As a reader I often wonder, "Did they ever actually try it and if so, what did they think?" Moreover, I feel most of the people who make comments are too afraid of hurting the bloggers' feelings to give honest responses about how the recipes actually worked for them. I’m hoping to make it easier for people to give honest and constructive feedback by adding a layer of anonymity.

Because the application incorporates user feedback to prioritize content, it’s designed to help busy cooks weed through millions of recipes for something fresh and reliable to make. Anyone in search of inspiring food ideas will be kept abreast of happenings from their favorite food bloggers while discovering new ones. And if you’re a food blogger, the site can be used to help reach new audiences.

You can find Natalie on Twitter @legosnpixiedust.