Get On With It: A Short Commentary on Recipe Blog User Experience

Get On With It: A Short Commentary on Recipe Blog User Experience
Like me, I'm sure you have at one point or another, attempted to look for a recipe online. Maybe it was something you tried in a restaurant and wanted to attempt yourself - perhaps you were looking for something new and exciting, or maybe it an oldie-but-goody. In any case, in your search you may have happened upon a conventional food site like Food Network, All Recipes, or Epicurious, sites that clearly and concisely list a recipe: its ingredients, its steps, cook times, portions and likely some photos for reference as well - all very helpful tools in creating a meal. You may though, have found another experience that is, in my opinion, more verbose and less user friendly: the recipe blog.

Now, you might ask: You blog right?  What could possibly be your issue with a recipe blog? First, I do write for a blog, that is true. The second question takes a bit more discussion, so please allow me to explain. Commonly, when looking for a recipe I am interested in only two things - what do I need and how do I cook it? These two questions are satisfied quite quickly by the sites listed above as well as many others I could mention (including good old-fashioned cook books). 

When I land on a recipe blog however, the first thing I am greeted with 99.99% of the time is a very long, drawn out personal story regarding the context of the recipe - related feelings, memories, activities to partake in while consuming, social commentary, etc. You may think this serves as an intro, but lets be honest folks, a good intro should be a paragraph not a page. Typically these blogs require a tremendous amount of scrolling "below the fold" to get past the story, not to mention ads and other site elements as well - all of which is detrimental to the overall user experience.

So what do we do about this? Well, I would beg those that write recipe blogs to consider the user experience of your intended audience. Obviously if you took the time to write the recipe down, it holds some special significance, and readers may even be interested in that to one degree or another. But typically a user is there for one reason - the recipe itself. Its on you as a writer to put the least amount of roadblocks possible in front of those viewing your site - or they will just leave it for another one no matter how good it may be. There are a lot of drawn out marketing studies regarding how far down the average reader is willing to scroll, so I would do some research. Suffice it to say people don't travel too far down a page before becoming frustrated - so please, I beg you keep this in mind in the future and try to optimize above-the-fold content.

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