Allrecipe.com had not been a website particularly known to me, as I’m not that much into cooking. However, this website was recommended to me by a friend, and then coincidentally they released their iPhone/ iPod Touch application Dinner Spinner. Given that I won’t spend time on my desktop viewing recipes, I installed this application on my phone and took it for a spin, literally.
Let me first give you a small introduction of allrecipe.com, so that you know how this portal works. This is a website for homemakers or those interested in cooking to submit their recipes for all to share and discuss. On the website, there are a variety of ways to search, including by ingredients and by occasions. However, I think their take on a dedicated interface on the iPhone/ iPod Touch platform is quite interesting indeed.
Upon loading the application, I was presented by a slot machine like interface whereby three rows were “spinning”. The three options were dish type, ingredients and cooking time.
Given this interface, I could either shake my iPhone or press the “spin categories” button to start a random search of allrecipes.com’s online database, or to swipe the three rows to choose the option I desired. For me personally, I find the random shaking option to be more fun, as I’m not that much into cooking, and this method allows me to use this as a initial starting point for ideas on my next meal.
Once all three options were decided, and should there be a match, the application will then allow me to view the results; of course, I’m still able to change my choices, or shake the phone again to randomise results. This time though, I think I like the choices enough, so I’ll go ahead and view my matches.
The screen will then switch to a more eye-pleasing black themed screen whereby a number of recipes are displayed, and I can move amongst my results by swiping. Pictures on the screen shows me what the finished product looks like, and I also get star ratings on the various dishes and brief introduction to the dish, which is good as I always find dish names to not be informative enough at times.
Between swiping horizontally, I can view all the matches, and when I found one that I liked, I press the button on screen to view the detailed instructions.
The detailed instructions will show me the ingredients I need, the steps to making the dish, and reviews/ comments from other allrecipe.com readers. Another interesting feature was that it showed the nutritional value of the dish, which was helpful (although I don’t really care about these things).
Overall, the pros of this application is that it gives me an easy to use interface to a famous and interesting portal. With this easy to use interface, I can carry a lot of information with me all the time, without having to do research prior to my shopping trips, or to have to print stuff out to shop at the supermarket. I think the major attraction of this application is the convenience it offers to its users.
On the cons side, the only thing I can say is that it doesn’t give me that many choices on searching; in comparing the application to the actual web portal, I think that the web portal is a lot more powerful. It allows me to search by ingredients, occasions and all, as well as giving me a personalised view on various options. This iPhone/ iPod Touch app is too generic, and only serves as an appetiser to the actual web portal.
Overall, I think this application deserves recognition to be one of the more convenient applications on the platform, in that it allows the user to see a lot of web portal information in a more intuitive way, rather than having to load up the entire web site on Safari. However, given that it offers only a subset of the functions to the actual product, I think this application still has some work to do. But once the work is done, I think this can be a potent little app.