Building America’s Test Kitchen for Mobile

America's Test Kitchen mobile application for recipes, videos, reviews, and more

The Challenge

For the America’s Test Kitchen mobile app project, we were tasked to successfully translate an existing web experience into a mobile one for America’s Test Kitchen users nation-wide. We accomplished this by synthesizing elements from the America’s Test Kitchen family of brands to create a mobile application that is unique to the medium, yet familiar to ATK’s existing customer base. Working closely with the ATK team, we identified features that were core to the application and mapped out the intended user experience.

 

Identifying the Problems

When America’s Test Kitchen approached us to reimagine their existing mobile application, they knew they needed guidance from experts in mobile design and development to help them realize their vision. We quickly got to work to identify key areas of improvement. The main initiatives of the project were to showcase ATK’s extensive library of content in a way that was easy to navigate, and to create a more comprehensive application that was reflective of the web experience.

 

Revamping the Core Experience

A More Comprehensive and Personalized Dashboard

When America’s Test Kitchen approached us to reimagine their existing mobile application, they knew they needed guidance from experts in mobile design and development to help them realize their vision. We quickly got to work to identify key areas of improvement. The main initiatives of the project were to showcase ATK’s extensive library of content in a way that was easy to navigate, and to create a more comprehensive application that was reflective of the web experience.

 When America’s Test Kitchen approached us to reimagine their existing mobile application, they knew they needed guidance from experts in mobile design and development to help them realize their vision. We quickly got to work to identify key areas of improvement. The main initiatives of the project were to showcase ATK’s extensive library of content in a way that was easy to navigate, and to create a more comprehensive application that was reflective of the web experience.

image shows dashboard views of America's test kitchen including featured images, recently viewed and favorites, reviews, and videos

Refining the Subscription Model

In prior versions of the ATK app, the subscription model was all or nothing. One of the goals of the project was to introduce a free browsing experience similar to the one found on the web. This enables the user to sample the core offerings of the app without committing to a subscription. 

image features mobile phone showing the dashboard for unsubscribed users

Smarter Search Capabilities

Much more than just a search bar, the updated search feature is smarter and more capable than ever. We added support for predictive text, filtering, and popular search terms to help users find exactly what they need across all content types. 

Diving Deep with Reviews

America’s Test Kitchen reviews both ingredients and equipment to provide the best recommendations for its cooking community and its reviews are among the most popular features for those familiar with the brand – so we wanted to make sure we did it justice. We started by consolidating taste tests and equipment reviews and giving it a prominent position in the floating navigation bar. Within the reviews section, users can easily tab between taste tests and equipment reviews. The featured review allows users to follow along with the ATK show, while the trending reviews serve as a way of connecting them with the greater ATK community. 

Streaming Support

With the updates to the video feature, subscribers can watch episodes right from their tablet or mobile device spanning 20 seasons of ATK and 12 seasons of Cook’s Kitchen, while free users have access to the most recent episode.  

Keeping Content Organized with Collections

On the web, users can organize their favorite recipes into categories known as collections to help them better plan their meals. We wanted to bring this feature into the app but with streamlined functionality to optimize it for mobile. We also wanted to give users the ability to save more than just recipes to their collections so we opened it up to reviews and videos as well.

Tablet Support

These days, tablets are about as ubiquitous as smartphones, so we wanted to make sure the experience reflected the needs and wants of ATK’s users. By creating custom designs and logic for tablet, we were able to bring the mobile experience to the bigger screen.

image shows kitchen scene with a tablet propped up with various kitchen utensils

The Results

With the enhancements to the mobile application, users will be able to:

  • Explore and discover new content organically and organize their favorites into collections
  • Stay up to date with new and trending equipment and ingredients via the reviews section
  • Follow along with their favorite ATK culinary experts by watching episodes of America’s Test Kitchen and Cook’s Country right from their mobile device or tablet
  • Sample content from across the app before committing to a paid subscription

Key Takeaways

With careful consideration, we’ve been able to elevate ATK’s mobile experience while staying true to the expectations of the brand. If you’re a business operating 100% on web, you may find that you are limited in your growth potential.  To migrate to mobile, here are some recommendations:

  • Bring in the experts: When it comes to mobile technology, you don’t know what you don’t know, and too many unknowns can lead to an expensive and preventable disaster. Moreover, apps require ongoing support to keep up with software updates and customer expectations. For these reasons, it’s best to consult with experienced mobile designers and developers who will point you in the right direction and allow your app to thrive among a sea of competitors. 
  • Read up on App Store Requirements: If you’re planning to release on the App Store, do your homework! Apple tests for a laundry list of requirements to approve your app for release on the store. Failure to comply with these requirements will result in a rejected submission, which can lead to costly delays. 
  • Design with Accessibility in mind: We recommend a design-first process that is focused on accessibility. There are many aspects of mobile accessibility to consider, and standards for accessibility are constantly evolving. If you’re not familiar with these standards, check out our guide on how to achieve accessibility for mobile designs.

Simply put, it’s a complex process and you do not need to go at it alone.  Our team can support your mobile application transition; get in touch with us today by filling out our brief contact form.

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