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Indigo Design Award 2020

Silver in Interactive Design 2020, Non-Pro

Bronze in UX, Interface & Navigation 2020, Non-Pro

Honorable Mentions in Apps 2020, Non-Pro

Culinity is an interactive learning experience designed to help users plan and cook the recipes they love

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users are guided through recipes in the most efficient manner by using AI to determine the proper steps and order the user should take.

The recipes are modeled after Robert Gagné's 9 steps of instruction technique to help users retain knowledge of the recipes they make

If you need assistance, Alfredo is here to help

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Hey Alfredo, what is caramelization

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Caramelization happens when sugar is introduced to heat. Compounds are released that alter the flavor and the color of the sugar. The most immediately noticeable effect is the darkening of the sugar's color.

Plan Your Weekly Meals

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Discover New Recipes


Order The Items You Need

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Learn The Science Of Flavor

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Keep Track Of Your Pantry

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Create your profile and see how far your cooking skills have come


We found that, particularly among the millennial generation, there is a startling lack of knowledge and independence when it comes to basic cooking skills.

  • Only 31% of 18-to-29 year-olds felt confident in the kitchen

  • 75% don't know how to peel a potato with a knife, 80% don't know how to melt chocolate, and 91% say they'd have difficulty following a recipe

  • 33% of millennials rely on a handful of dishes they know well

  • 45% of millennial shoppers want to take cooking classes to learn how to prepare new meals and dishes

  • 53% of shoppers get recipe ideas online

Here are just a few reasons:

  • 100 of Montana's 170 high schools [59%] offer some type of Family and Consumer Science (FCS) class


  • In 2012 there were only 3.5 million students enrolled in FCS secondary programs, a decrease of 38% over a decade

As time passes by young people are slowly losing FCS classes that teach them basic skills

This lack of basic skills contributes to something called cognitive offloading

Cognitive Offloading

Cognitive offloading is anything you do to reduce the cognitive demands of a task: basically, to make it take up less mental space. 

The reason for this is because ease with technology has made it harder for young people to learn how to cook

YouTube tutorials and detailed recipes with step-by-step photos tend to promote dependence, rather than independence.

"Memory is changing. Our research shows that as we use the Internet to support and extend our memory we become more reliant on it. Whereas before we might have tried to recall something on our own, now we don't bother.” - Dr Benjamin Storm, Cognitive Psychology Prof. at UCSC 

We wanted to know what factors cause young people to be dependent


so we interviewed our target audience with various degrees of cooking experience 



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Key Themes

Lack of Knowledge

Nervous and


Does Not Step

Out of Their Comfort Zone



Many young people lack the knowledge and resources needed to form independence in the kitchen

How can we...

 provide a way for our users to become independent in the kitchen?

 provide users with the ability to build implicit knowledge

Types of knowledge


Knowledge that is easy to articulate, write down, and share.


Knowledge that is gained through incidental activities, or without awareness that learning is occurring.

Users need implicit knowledge about cooking in order to gain independence in the kitchen

Most implicit knowledge is created in meetings and conversations that generate new ideas, new solutions, and improved processes.

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By using instructional design, we can build users implicit knowledge on cooking and expand their horizons

“Instructional design is a technology for the development of learning experiences and environments which promote the acquisition of specific knowledge and skill by people.”

Method- Robert Gagné's 9 steps of instruction

1. gain attention

hey you!

4. present information

this is a demonstration of...

7. provide feedback

you need to...

2. inform the learner of objective

today we are going to...

3. stimulate recall of prior information

yesterday we learned how to...

5. provide guidance

this is a guide for performing...

6. elicit performance

try it on your own

8. asses performance

see how well the user is doing

9. enhance retention

keep applying skills

Opportunity Space

use technology to design a proper way for a person to follow and learn a recipe in order to build implicit knowledge and independence in the kitchen

Concept & Design

Utilizing instructional design, we will provide an AI voice assisted app that guides users through recipes in an intuitive manner in order to provide users with implicit knowledge of cooking

Concept development

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Modeling a draft interaction using Roberts Gagné's 9 steps of instruction

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Now we will look at a random recipe I found on the internet (as is)

Pan seared rib-eye steak

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Now of course someone could successfully cook this recipe, however

  • It is not intuitively easy to follow

  • Uses terms the user may not understand

  • Steps have a choppy inefficient flow ( most recipes have misplaced steps that could have been placed in a better order to improve the flow and process)

  • It does not do a good job at outlining the recipe. This is easily noticed by having a preparation stage but then including non prep actions

  • Multi steps being combined into one (see step 3).

  • Overall hard to read in an efficient manner

 This is just one example of the many poorly put together recipes you can find on the internet

User interaction using the recipe above utilizing the 9 steps of instruction

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(Click to open)

Basic Culinity user flow of recipe outline


Culinity user flow using the model recipe

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Mid-Fi Interface using the modeled recipe in the 9 steps of instruction

1. Gain Attention

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How does culinity's AI break down recipes into these steps

AI Text Summarization

AI text summarization is the process of condensing long documents into shorter summaries. There are 2 methods of text summarization.

Abstraction based 

The abstractive text summarization algorithms create new phrases and sentences that relay the most useful information from the original text

Extraction based

The extraction is made according to the defined metric without making any changes to the texts.

Culinity utilizes the abstraction based method to arrange recipes in the proper intuitive manner

How does it work?

Lets revisit a snippet of the recipe I found online

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3.) Add oil to hot pan, and then steak. Cook until browned and caramelized on the bottom, about 5 minutes, then turn and cook for 2 minutes. Lower heat to medium. Add butter, garlic and thyme to pan. Continue to cook the steak while using a spoon to baste melted butter on top until an instant-read thermometer inserted horizontally into the steak center reads 130°F for medium-rare, about 5 minutes. (If needed, transfer the pan into a preheated 350°F oven to finish cooking.)

User Testing

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Round 1


Used lofi prototype


Testers used props and ingredients to imitate a kitchen and make the test feel more natural and accurate



Wording can be a barrier between understanding


Visuals help users understand complicated techniques


Users needed more context towards the beginning


Once the recipe began, users were able to follow the steps

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Round 2


Used  a mid/high fidelity prototype


Testers performed making the recipe in a kitchen



People were heavily reliant on images


Need constant reminder of amounts with ingredients


Need to highlight key words such as temperature

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