inspiremymeal: A web app development case study

"Our powerful search tool enables you find the best recipes from the ingredients in your fridge & pantry. Forget running to the shops: let us help you make a meal of it." - inspiremymeal

Key web app features

1

Advanced search

Easily discover recipes from the ground up

Explore a large database of recipes based on the contents of your fridge.

2

Community engagement

Rate and review recipes and blog posts

Enables user-driven content, allowing users to comment on and rate recipes. User engagement drives the recipe popularity scoring algorithm, making the most popular recipes more discoverable. Email notifications to comment replies increase user retention.

3

Facebook login

Easily log in, with no passwords to remember

Users can quickly create an account with no registration process to complete, increasing the likelihood of a successful sign-up. Once signed in, a user can comment, rate and save recipes to their account. Gathered email addresses can be used for marketing campaigns to increase user retention.

Inspiremymeal web app

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Building a mobile-friendly web app and search engine

Evolving the idea with innovation consulting

inspiremymeal approached us as app developers with the core idea of developing a mobile app, for iOS and Android, as well as developing a web platform which would allow users to discover new recipes that incorporated their input ingredients. One such use case would be for users to find recipes that make use of their leftover ingredients.

Initially, the idea was to aggregate live search results from around the web, such as Google search, with the intention of filtering out non-recipe results on the fly, linking to external sites to view the ingredients, methods and images.

Lean methodology and a clear USP

We worked closely with the inspiremymeal team to shape and improve upon the initial idea, while still remaining faithful to the value proposition, resulting in a platform with the best opportunities for success. Through our innovation consultancy, we proposed that the platform would have more value, with a much improved user experience, if it were to have its own database of recipes, ingredients and images. This afforded the project many benefits, such as high data quality, advanced searching, auto-completion of ingredients, recommended and popular recipes, content for SEO, increased user engagement and retention, and the possibility to expand and further monetise the platform in future iterations.

Our value-driven approach took a heavy focus on gaining an early return on investment, allowing for continuous re-investment in the platform, to grow in a sustainable manner - lowering risk and increasing the chances of success. We proposed to take a web-first approach with mobile friendliness as a core design principal, in order to target the largest possible market in one go, as well as substantially lowering the initial budget and time required to get into the market.

Taking a web-first approach had the benefit of having the platform's content available to search engines, such as Google. The right keyword targeting, content and SEO strategy can help to bring in a sustainable source of organic traffic over time.

Delivering a custom web application

The finished web application is a fully-featured recipe search engine, with recipes indexed and searchable by ingredients, dish type and style. Ingredients can be entered with auto-completion of known ingredients, as well as supporting free-text to find similar ingredients. Popular recipes are scored with a ranking algorithm and displayed on the home page to inspire meal ideas. We developed an admin control panel for the inspiremymeal team to manage the site's content, including recipes, ingredients, imagery, blog posts, and so on.

Each recipe has its own page, keeping users on the platform, where recommended recipes are shown based on their similarity of ingredients. The platform features social integration, increasing user engagement and retention. Users are able to sign in with Facebook, Google and Twitter, as well as by email, unlocking features such as recipe favouriting, rating, commenting and sharing via social networks.

“What I like most about Codevate is that they’re friendly and approachable. They’re not scared of ‘telling it how it is’ when acting as a (valuable) sounding board. Their consultative style and knowledge make the relationship feel more like a partnership than a typical transactional customer/supplier engagement. This has helped keep me focused on my core value proposition and helped me accelerate growth.”

Inspiremymeal.com – An advanced recipe search engine

The web application

inspiremymeal is an advanced recipe search engine, developed as a web application for desktop and mobile.

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Platform features

  •   Advanced search engine - ingredients, dish type, dish style
  •   Social network integration - sign in with Facebook, Twitter and Google
  •   My cookbook - recipe favouriting
  •   Recipe rating system
  •   User comments
  •   Blog for SEO content strategy

Behind-the-scenes features

  •   Bespoke content management system - manage recipes, ingredients, tags, and blog posts
  •   Popular recipe discovery algorithm
  •   Data extraction and analysis
  •   Recipe recommendation

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Feature breakdown

Advanced search

Easily discover recipes from the ground up

Explore a large database of recipes based on the contents of your fridge.

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Big data model

Intelligent data structure

We designed a bespoke data structure that captured the complexity and nuances of the recipe-ingredient dataset that was efficient to browse for a scaling user base.

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Inspire blog

User acquisition, marketing and SEO blog

The purpose of this blog was to provide a way to represent unique sets of recipes related to seasons and events across the globe. This enables SEO and marketing campaigns that power the user aquisition strategy.

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Community engagement

Rate and review recipes and blog posts

Enables user-driven content, allowing users to comment on and rate recipes. User engagement drives the recipe popularity scoring algorithm, making the most popular recipes more discoverable. Email notifications to comment replies increase user retention.

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Facebook login Popular

Easily log in, with no passwords to remember

Users can quickly create an account with no registration process to complete, increasing the likelihood of a successful sign-up. Once signed in, a user can comment, rate and save recipes to their account. Gathered email addresses can be used for marketing campaigns to increase user retention.

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Analytics Popular

Insight into user behaviour and marketing performance

Analytics helps us gain key insight surrounding popular receipes, ingredients, and seasonal trends, as well as monitor SEO and marketing campaign performance.

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Let’s talk about how our software can work for you.

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