On Monday, we had a Google Hangout-powered meeting with prof. Duval. The main topic was the planning for the next releases. With only 4 weeks to go to the study period before the June exams (commonly referred to as “den blok”), the professor advised us to focus our efforts and make sure we get enough feedback from real users. We also look into how we can get real users to use our app for real cooking parties, so we can make relevant evaluations.
One suggestion was to not implement a whole fridge management system, but to let the invitees choose which ingredients they want to bring (given a list of necessary ingredients for the dish). This seems simpler at first, but it raises a difficult problem: when inviting the host doesn’t know who has necessary ingredients and who doesn’t. Every additional invitee comes with the risk of not having enough of a certain ingredient to cook for everybody in the party. On the other hand, we think that the implementation is still quite similar to fridge management: users will still need to enter their fridge contents, but they would do it when they receive an invite as opposed to doing it beforehand.
We decided that we’d still implement the original fridge management. This way, we can provide the party host with information about the fridges of candidates and sort them (candidates with many missing ingredients in their fridge are shown first). This would allow him to make a more elaborate choice on who to invite.
This allows us to stick to the previous plan with two releases:
- fridge management and refinement of party planning
- dishes and the ability to find partners based on the ingredients in their fridges
We plan to do the second release on May 11th and the third on May 25th. During “den blok” we will analyze the feedback of the third release, but we will probably stop making new releases then.
Getting ‘real’ usage
A major problem with evaluating our project is that the main use case requires quite some effort from the user(s). In contrast to most mobile apps and games where you don’t really need to do anything special while using the app, we want our users to actually cook together. We expect users to use our app to create and organize a party in order to actually come together at the picked time and actually make food. This is not something you can or want to do everyday, as opposed to a ordinary mobile game which you can play anywhere anytime independent from the real-life context. This makes it particularly difficult to evaluate real users using our app in real situations, simply because those situations will be rare.
Therefore, we need to motivate users to actually use our app for its intended purpose: cooking together with friends. We have some ideas:
- Price rewards. We could ask our users to send us some proof (pictures) of them doing a cooking party after they planned it using our app. We could reward them with some prices such as film tickets. Or perhaps discounts for groceries stores, so they can buy ingredients for the next party? 😛
- Another possibility is to organize a contest: the cooking party with the most partners wins. Of course we will need proof of this as well.
We really need your input on this! What would motivate you to organize a cooking party? Leave a comment! 🙂