Adding search function to "Foods" tab on mobile apps

I've been using Cronometer for 2 months now and I have to say that, overall, the experience the whole platform offers is fairly good.

I have to say however that there is a big usability feature that is becoming more and more painful the longer I use the mobile apps (Android and iOS), and that is the lack of a "search" feature on the Foods tab.

As one uses the application and adds more custom recipes or foods, the list that shows on the "Foods" tab becomes longer and longer. I already have around 60 entries there and trying to find a specific recipe is no easy task, since it's not possible to remember the names of all of them. The only way to get to the actual recipe is by using the search function sinde the "Add Food" screen, but that has multiple problems:

  • I have to go to the "Add Food" screen even if my intention is not to add an actual food to my diary. There I also have to set a filter so that when I type the search text only my custom recipes show up.
  • After finding the recipe in the "Add Food" screen, if I click it, it gets me to a capped down version of the recipe where only the nutrients show up. For me to see the actual recipe I have to bring up the options menu and select "Edit Custom Food".

As you can see, the above is fairly cumbersome. I can't speak for all users but IMO the process of "finding my custom recipe and bringing it up on the screen" must be very common since ultimately many of us must be using these custom recipes as a way to keep track of things such as ingredient quantities as well as custom notes, which we end up using when doing the actual cooking. The current user experience makes you go through multiple hops and filters to get there, which adds a lot of unnecessary friction.

Interestingly enough the web version of Cronometer does not have these issues. The website lets you search through your custom recipes without going to an "Add Food" screen. Also, when you find the recipe, it is displayed on its entirety, and you don't have to click another "Edit Custom Food" option to see ingredients, notes, and the rest.

What do I believe would be a better user experience for the mobile apps?

  • The Foods tab should include some sort of text search option so that you could quickly filter down the list to only show matching items. This in and of itself would reduce friction a lot and it must be easy to implement since it's just a local database search.
  • When clicking on a custom recipe the result should be almost the same as what we currently have: the full recipe is brought up and you can see ingredients, notes, nutrients, etc. However it would also reduce friction if from this screen you could add the recipe to the diary rather than forcing you to do this from the "Add Food" screen (which would require more hops and friction). The website lets you add a food to your diary this way too.

In general I believe the website has a better user experience for what must be very common flows, so rethinking the mobile apps to bring those concepts to Android and iOS would likely benefit the community.



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