Please surface recent foods first

edited January 17 in Feature Requests

Hey guys,

I've been using Cronometer for two weeks, and even though I love the accuracy, the truth is that logging foods is cumbersome to the point of being irritating, and worse than in MFP.

Every single time I want to add a food I had a few days ago, I need to either remember its exact brand in Search to distinguish it from all others, or cherry pick it from one of the previous day (which one? I can't Search in my own log).

Fortunately, there's an easy way to fix this, and I've recorded this screencast showing exactly how: put the recent foods first in search results.

What most people eat in a day, especially people who use Cronometer for weight management, is something they've eaten in the past several days, for two major reasons:
1. People like to eat what they like
2. That's what's in the fridge/pantry. I buy a particular carton of milk, have a cup for breakfast, there's still 7 cups left.

I guarantee that this will make the process of adding foods way faster, for all users. Sorting by frecency is a well-established heuristic, employed by all browsers whenever you type something in the address bar. Please implement it - it will save users tons of time.

Comments

  • I could be wrong but as a user for about six years, I always see my most recent/most entered foods first. I either only enter a letter or two into the search box or nothing at all (the food will just be in the list). Perhaps it just needs more time to learn your habits.

  • @ChuckClaunch Do you see that in the web app, or in the iPhone app? What do you think of the screencast I linked to? I don't see the recent foods surfaced in the Android app either.

  • I'm about a 80% desktop chrome, 20% android app user and see it in both. Also seen this behavior both in Gold and not-Gold. The android app literally says "Most Frequent" when I tap the add food to diary button. Not sure how else to help.

  • edited January 24

    Yes, when you tap "Add food", you can see "Most recent" foods. But that's a short list. Try searching there for a food you had "recently", like 3-5 days ago, but not very frequently. Cronometer might not find it. Here's an example: I had this "Calafia" or something cold brew coffee (can't remember the exact brand, just that it's the only coffee I've had in months), but when I search for "coffee", I get a ton of coffees I've never had.

    Step 1

    "Most frequent" list doesn't show the coffee I had a few days ago:

    Most frequent

    Step 2

    Searching for "coffee" doesn't include the coffee I had:

    Coffee not found

    Suggestion

    Also, I had marked that Calafia-whatever cold brew coffee as a favorite. Yet the app doesn't show it in the search.

    What I'm saying is the app should show at the top of the search results, the user's favorites, and then foods they've had, ever. Chances are far higher the user will have something they've had before, than one of the tens of thousands of foods they've never had. And even if they have one of those, it will still show up in the list after the ones they did have.

    Does that make sense? The lack of this feature makes it frustrating to find the foods I've had within the past week or so and add them to today.

  • That's not my experience. When I start typing something I ate a few days ago it shows exactly what I'm looking for, and even shows my serving amount I used last. Not sure what else to say.

  • Interesting, can you attach a screenshot? Are you using an older version of the Android app perchance, or the beta? I'm using the December 15 build, which is the latest I have access to. I've applied for the beta about a week ago but haven't heard from the team.

  • Like I said originally, I could be wrong. I highly doubt there's some major difference in the applications. I've used it long enough and eat the same things enough (as you pointed out) that I know what to type to bring up what I need.

  • Like I said originally, I could be wrong.

    Not sure how you could be wrong... a screenshot would settle that and would be very useful to the team to debug this issue.

  • I have the same issue. Sometimes the recent items are there. But not always. I also must turn on the favorites filter to see some items.

  • Tanks @Kenplummer. @Karen_Cronometer, this would be me #1 feedback for the beta. I was accepted over the weekend into the beta program, and still see this problem. While I think the dark theme is fun when eating at night (...), this issue actually causes users to waste time all around.

  • I set my most used foods as favorites then filter food search for favorites. That removes all other foods and brings me to my food instantly

    Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.

  • @p0wer_lifter: I do that too, but:

    1. It's a hack/workaround that we shouldn't have to do
    2. This hack still doesn't work reliably in the Android app.
  • edited February 24

    Wait what? Setting favorites and filtering for them is a hack that you shouldn’t have to do? It’s a feature that works rather well, actually.

    Regardless, sorting by recent foods seems to work in iOS, so must be an Android issue.

    Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.

  • The issue is I dont see the favorites when the filter is off. Pain to toggle if you have a non-favorite food and a favorite in same meal.

  • edited February 24

    @Kenplummer, sorting by recent foods doesn’t work for you either? Strange, because it’s ok for me. Between copying from previous day, sorting by recent foods, filtering for favorites, and using the camera on UPC codes, I find that adding foods is quick and convenient. Not sure what else is needed.

    Unless, of course, these don’t work for you; in that case, I guess it would be a bug.

    Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.

  • Setting favorites and filtering for them is a hack that you shouldn’t have to do?

    No, that's fine.

    Having to resort to set favorites in order to avoid getting rando foods in the search results, is a hack/workaround. Maybe the way I've explained this in the beta bug makes more sense.

    Or maybe folks in this thread about exactly the same problem that's been going on since 2018, are explaining it better.

    (That's another issue, this forum uses an old platform called Vanilla, which doesn't suggest existing similar topics as the users start typing a new one. That leads to a lot of duplicate threads. I've reported that, but no response from the team.)

    adding foods is quick and convenient. Not sure what else is needed.

    Adding foods is significantly more painful than it needs to be (and than in MyFitnessPal). Here's what's needed:

  • As the mod in that 2018 link says, the system learns as you use it. Perhaps after only a few weeks you need to wait a while before the system recognizes your common foods. As Chuck and I mentioned in this thread, we both see our common foods at the top of the search list.

    i agree that time stamps are buggy. I like to copy previous day and don’t want to see time stamps come across. I solved that problem by not using time stamps.

    As far as MyFitnessPal is concerned, and actually most any other food tracker, this one is far superior to any that I’ve used. All apps have bugs and peculiarities, it’s a matter of which features are important to you and which are not.

    As far as I’ve seen over the years, the devs here work on those items that the company deems important. Maybe their priorities are just different than yours - and sometimes mine.

    But, yeah, posting your thoughts on ways to improve is good, as is posting bugs you’ve found. No harm there, I hope you don’t think that I was criticizing you, I wasn’t. I was trying to give some ideas of workarounds for some of the issues you raised.

    Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.

  • edited February 25

    I've been using Cronometer for 2 months now, but this shouldn't be a matter of learning preferences. It simply makes logical, indisputable (though feel free to prove me wrong) sense to place foods the user has had, higher in the search results than foods the user has never had. MFP does this, and it works better than Cronometer in that regard. Actually, the shorter a user has used the tool, the more sense it makes to surface exactly the foods they've had - because that's the most salient data Cronometer has.

    There should be no machine learning magic here; there's no need. What I think happens, as an engineer, is that the database search doesn't weigh recency high enough.

    As for the priorities, I'm not the only one who thinks they're strange, and not transparently tracked, to begin with.

    However, like you, I still prefer Cronometer over MFP and all other food tracking apps I've tried.

  • edited March 21

    @Lector What I see in your screen-cast is that you're using items with "low" data quality --- that Califia coffee you searched for is a branded item from CRDB, with 15 listed nutrients only. Cronometer has a bias towards "high" data quality, like NCCDB records, so I believe that's what ranks those generic coffees higher in the search result than the Calafia one.

    So to me the current behaviour appears to be correct. When you enter "cold", you get that Calafia coffee as 1st result (while I get one of my custom recipes as 1st). When you would enter "Calafia", you'd get that Calafia cofee 1st as well (while I'd get Calafia almondmilk as 1st, randomly). If I put a coffee item from NCCDB into diary (e.g. Coffee cake, Yeast), next time this item will be the 1st result to the "coffee" query.

    To sum up, the search logic is multi-factor, with different weights on each factor, and frequency and recency (as you suggested) are not the only ones, apparently. To put more weight on "frecency" could improve the experience for you, but could as well degrade the experience for others. And still, you can get what you want now, when your query is more specific (Calafia vs. coffee).

  • To put more weight on "frecency" could improve the experience for you, but could as well degrade the experience for others.

    If others tend to prefer different data sources, they'll be selecting those more frequently, so those sources will be more recent too. I think placing a higher weight on recency won't degrade the experience in either case. What am I missing?

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