The Project

Year Developed: 2022

Project Type: Android Mobile App

Languages Used: PHP, HTML, JSON, CSS, MySQLi, Java

The Background

Food websites – and recipe websites in particular – are an extremely popular section of the internet. There are thousands of sites covering recipes, set up either as small blogs or larger sites that utilise expensive API’s from companies such as FatSecret or Edamam.

The Brief

One of the major problems with recipe websites is the way that allergy-sufferers are catered for. Usually recipes are hidden from view if it contains an ingredient they are allergic to. The idea behind Mealeez was that all recipes should be made available to view, but ingredients that cause allergies would be swapped out for something safer.

The Design

Design of Mealeez was carried out in-house. A lot of recipe app designs are overwhelming and we felt Mealeez could be done a bit differently by keeping things simple. The background was kept purely white with the focus kept on the recipes themselves and not the surrounding content.

Red was used as the accent colour throughout the app, matching the red of the Mealeez logo that was designed. Red as a food colour has been found to stimulate taste-buds, according to research so we carried that theme onto the site.

Nutrition information was animated over a few seconds to help draw your eye to it, and recipe ingredients were coloured depending on their suitability for consumption to help people see quickly what ingredients could be a problem and what ingredients have alternatives available.

Although an iOS app was not part of the brief, the design was done with a future iOS app in mind, to keep the two apps as similar in design as possible.

The Development

Development of the app took 3 months to complete, with development of the API also being created and populated in tandem with the app.

Recipe API’s already exist – such as Edamam and FatSecret – that provide allergy information as well as recipes to display, but the monthly cost was prohibitive and the API T’s & C’s restricted what could be done, so it was decided early on to switch to a bespoke system.

Recipes are added to the database manually, with over 800 food ingredients (including nutrition information) inputted over a period of 4 months to help with the allergy detection system. This had a massive cost saving each month and meant full control of the database was maintained.

Google Admob was added to display adverts, along with Google in-app billing to monetise the app and create a subscription model that unlocks full nutrition information and a list of alternative ingredients to use in the recipes.

Push notifications were added so that end-users can be notified of new recipes when they go live.