Short Story Of A Great Product
The story begins in 2008 when Grzegorz Mogilewski from Iconaris together with ZT Kruszwica had created a portal with recipes called zpierwszegotloczenia.pl, which had over 8 mln users per month. Something was missing although. Users didn’t want to only find recipes, they wanted to organise them and make them accessible from each device. The second thing was this social impact. It was missing. ZT Kruszwica didn’t manage the community as much as they could and Grzegorz was the guy, who knew how to fix it.
He found us, invited to Warsaw and after the meeting with me, we started our long term cooperation. Desmart was doing what we are best in - technical project management and software development. Of course everything in a spirit of Agile.
What Is This Fooder Actually?
Fooder is both: a website and a mobile app which helps with storing recipes from all around the Internet. Storing is easy, either through adding directly into website or by going to the recipe's page you like and clicking simple button on your browser's plugin taskbar (of course you should first download it for your favorite browser).
Fooder was build with a strict cooperation with Iconaris, creative and design agency managed by Grzegorz Mogilewski, whose direct client is ZT Kruszwica, corporation known to polish people from products like Olej Kujawski (vegetable oil). So Iconaris was responsible for creative solutions, UX design and graphical designs, contacting with clients - simply it was what we call the Product Owner.
Grzegorz from Iconaris decided to promote an idea of recipes tool combined with communities instead of pure advertisement. The goal was to build an engaged group around food and cooking and monetize this community later. Business model was based on engagement of users and ZT Kruszwica, not on online ads.
How Does Fooder Work?
Imagine that you are doing research for a unique pasta recipe. You've been searching for a very very long time, reviewing each and every one of them. Finally… found it! Now, you can:
- Add it to bookmarks
- Save it in a notebook
- Write it on paper (who is doing that nowadays anywyay?)
Bookmarks seems ok, but you need to be really well organized with them. Also in time, when you have 80 more pasta recipes adding another to bookmarks is starting to be not so great idea. Specially when someone changed something in their recipe on his blog (happens all the time) or just… removed it. You end up with either a mess or nothing.
Other options probably don’t need explanations but they are also hard to retrieve after some time. Now you should see the need for all of us to use Fooder. It’s really a fantastic way to combine recipes from around the web with those old, hand-written recipes by your grandmother in the cookbook. When you find what you want, it will be with you forever - just like your family recipes.
Why Building A Product With Agile?
Project was started with one thought in both client's and our mind: to create a tool for masses, something useful that it's not on the market. Despite there's a large corporation behind it they wanted to project to be managed more like a startup than normal waterfall project (which has every feature settled in the beginning).
We’ve really enjoyed creating MVP and after a year from now, when the project got bigger and bigger, Iconaris (especially Grzegorz Mogilewski who's the owner) encouraged us to change a lot of things and was eager to introduce new social options for the users. First version didn't have it and it was totally ok - product needed to be first evaluated by users. So we introduced social sharing in the second version, to allow users to share their recipes.
Let's make a quick review what's new and has changed.
You know, trends are changing blazingly fast these days. Last year's Fooder layout seemed fine, but this year it needed a little tweaks. "Little" meaning that in fact 90% of the layout was rebuild from scratch, redesigned for fulfilling the needs of introducing social features better than ever.. Grzegorz from Iconaris and his team drafted it and we developed it. Simple, right?
Rebuilding it from scratch took us a lot of effort. Especially developing website with the help of RWD (Responsive Web Design) is a tremendous complex task, when it comes to building things like Fooder. Great amount of details, readability - this is just a couple of things we had to take into consideration during the development process.
But, we did it. Who if not us?
In "old" Fooder dashboard was quite fine but it needed to be changed to better reflect what's in user's cookbook. Large food images, tagging, privacy setting (little lock above image). Nice and clean. Looks great on your computer as well as on tablet or smartphone. All of your favorite recipes in one place.
What To Do For Dinner?
Sharing is basically a part of our daily routine nowadays, we share on Facebook almost everything. So this option was a must. Now it's easy to find what your friends are having for dinner or what's their favorite food. Just follow them and you'll get inspirations for your next meal in no time. Me, personally, I needed this very much. See, I'm the guy who adores finding new recipes. Looking for them among my friends and being able to ask them about how exactly they've made the dish, is just outstanding.
Of course you can also share yours, freshly prepared recipe with them, to show off or simply to get their opinion about it. Integrations with social media will be improved even more through time. We are waiting for people’s feedback - what they actually need and what has to be changed.
Add Your Own Recipe In Three Steps
We also changed the way of adding the recipe. Now it is easier to find and looks way prettier. With three steps, you can import the recipes you like from any blog or website. The cool thing is, a dedicated plugin for Chrome and Firefox allows you to add currently viewed recipe to your Fooder account simply by pressing one button.
Organize Your Recipes With Your Own Tags
Another great feature that we introduced for Fooder it’s adding recipes to labels. These labels are simply tags. For each recipe, you can assign any keyword, which makes finding any dish you want very simple. Labels provide the ability to sort all the recipes posted on the website.
The RWD on Fooder's website is obvious, but using an app is way more convenient - it's faster and, for example recipes could be viewed offline.
Both apps are well-optimized not only for viewing your recipes but also for getting them into the kitchen, for actual cooking. Special mode let's you see ingredients and the recipe itselves on the screen in the right, convenient format. When your hands are in flour, you can use voice recognition system which allows you to scroll up/down, review ingredients one more time etc. It’s like you have your personal kitchen assistant.
But Wait - What About The Business And Some Numbers?
I knew you were going to ask this question. Let me surprise you then:
- On March 1st there were over 32 000 registered users,
- They’ve collected 213 856 recipes,
- Every day around 1 500 recipes are added by users,
- 85 % of users are women.
Additionally there are some seasonal events and cooking trends, which engage users more than normally.
Why Building Fooder Was Way Better Then Spending Budget On Ads?
First of all we’ve solved a problem of mess in cooking recipes. Users can organize all their favourite recipes in one place and access them from many devices. They can modify all of them and share with friends. Fooder supports social interaction and many of you know, that people love cooking together and sharing some great ideas.
Secondly ZT Kruszwica with their flag product Olej Kujawski can position their brand as a “cooking friendly” - they deliver a useful tool for huge group of people for free and build engagement. So instead of pure and annoying ads, they offered a really valuable piece of software, they helped people and they have created a community related to the product they sell.
We really loved (and still love) developing Fooder. This is one of those projects which is boosting our creativity magnificently and, what's even more important, it is created for real users - including us.
Oh, and don’t forget to check my own recipes on Fooder, maybe you'll find something interesting (and tasty) for yourself!