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Case Study

Project Foodie

The combined vision of EMMY® Award-winning producer Eli Holzman and his brother, The Meatball Shop Co-Founder Daniel Holzman.

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Overview & Process

This entertaining cooking app has been in the works for over four years. We worked with the client on a first iteration that initially went live to a limited number of users in November 2016. The client took time to gather metrics and data, and based on user feedback launched a redesigned version in October 2017. The app has separate user interfaces for iPhone and iPad, and we made the most of the additional screen real estate iPads provide. After the public launch, Project Foodie received consistent requests for an Android version. At the same time, they wanted to be able to add shorter-form video content to the platform, called "Short Cuts." We worked with their vision and budget to design, develop, and launch a web version using React JS. This allowed Android users to have access to the all of the content, though with less functionality than the full iOS version, as well as providing them with good value.
Our Challenges

A Comprehensive Custom System

The client needed to be able to manage numerous visual and informational assets for each recipe: photos, videos, ingredients, tools, portions, difficulty level, steps, and timers. The app needed to surface all of these to the user in a visually pleasing and accurate manner.

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Custom Measurements

Users need to be able to select a number of servings and have the ingredient measurements automatically scale up or scale down. The client needs to be able to override some of the automatic scaling when the situation calls for it.

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Custom Video Player

We worked with the client to assemble a custom video player that allowed the user to skip ahead and back to crucial points in the cooking process, as well as keep track of steps, ingredients, and timers. All of this was done while maintaining visual cohesiveness with overlaid assets.

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Event-Based Custom Process

We built a custom backend using Python/ Django to allow for maximum flexibility. The content managers at Project Foodie can build the cooking experiences in the app using time stamps that correspond with video content.

Our Solutions

Real-Time Cooking

Project Foodie is a unique app that guides users through real-time cooking instruction. Each meal has deep levels of information.

Backend Management

We created a comprehensive backend management system that also allowed the app to update quantities inside the written step-by-step instructions, as well as the on-screen events that guide the users through the cooking process. The app contains a set of dynamic timers that display on the video when tapped, but also exist independent of the video content - that way if a user has to leave the app for some reason, they will receive a system alert that the timer is done and they won’t burn their toast!

Multi-level access

The app contains 3 levels of access: With no account, users can scope out the offerings, but can’t access features such as favorites or grocery lists. Guest users have access to a subset of meals, but can use favorites and the grocery list. Subscribers can access all of the meals and enhanced features such as Instacart integration.

Amazon Integration

We integrated Amazon links so that users who don’t have some of the tools required for meals can add a recommended brand to their Amazon carts by tapping “Buy Now” in the tools section of the meal. This created monetization opportunities for the client.

Real-time cooking

Meals start with a preview - akin to a movie trailer - that shows an overview of the process from prep to mise en place. The app displays a list of ingredients, list of tools, and step-by-step written instructions. Users can select different serving sizes for each meal, and the ingredient quantities automatically scale. This required some very heavy lifting, in order to comply with the customary units of measurement for cooking, such as teaspoon to tablespoon conversions, and multiples of units such as “pinch” and “sprig” and units that scale non-linearly - like cilantro.

The Outcome

Media in the Kitchen

Project Foodie garnered attention not just for its fantastic content, but also for the tech behind the delivery of that content. Appearances on The Rachael Ray Show and NBC12, mentions in food and Hollywood industry publications, as well as being honored by Apple's App Store as "App of the Day" and "Editor's Choice" proved that the hard work paid off.

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The Outcome

Media in the Kitchen

Project Foodie garnered attention not just for its fantastic content, but also for the tech behind the delivery of that content. Appearances on The Rachael Ray Show and NBC12, mentions in food and Hollywood industry publications, as well as being honored by Apple's App Store as "App of the Day" and "Editor's Choice" proved that the hard work paid off.

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