[wire] stone has added Allrecipes to our portfolio of mobile applications. Allrecipes is the world’s largest social network of food and entertaining enthusiasts and the new application provides intuitive access to its complete recipes database.
We worked really hard to balance usability, aesthetics and performance while staying true to the Metro style. The main panorama provides quick at-a-glance view of content that is more important to users. From there, you can dive-in with a single touch or a quick swipe.
Dinner Spinner is a fun way to find recipes. You can shake the phone and it will randomly pick a dish type, main ingredient and time to cook. If you like what you see, the app will show all recipes that match the search criteria.
One common complaint from mobile recipe application users is that phones automatically lock while you are cooking. For a better user experience when viewing a recipe while cooking, we leveraged the Windows Phone 7 ability to disable screen lock. However, we were concerned about battery life, so we made sure that users could control whether automatic lock was disabled or not.
Designing applications for smart phones poses UX and technical challenges not found in desktop apps. In the Allrecipes app, the ability to display search results is one such example. Instead of having sort-by buttons, we decided to leverage the pivot control. Users access the different sorting views by swiping the pivot left and right.
However, there could be dozens or even hundreds of search results. Thankfully, many of the Windows Phone 7 controls provide performance and memory management hooks. For example, the pivot control manages when each pivot section is loaded. The Listbox control supports virtualization, which reduces the number of visual elements loaded in memory. That said, it is very important to understand how these controls work, otherwise you can easily lose the built-in performance optimization.
Social networking support is a very important feature in this app. Users can share recipes on Facebook and Twitter. Since these social networking platforms rely on OAuth, we used the web browser control to allow users to authorize our application to post recipes into their accounts.
If you have a Windows Phone 7 device, please download the Allrecipes Dinner Spinner app. I guarantee you will not be disappointed!