User Centric Details Three Ways to Improve the Usability of Recipes

User Centric user experience consultant highlights how to make recipes more user friendly with a few minor changes to the layout.

Chicago, IL, November 20, 2008 --( User Centric consultant Kirsten Peters, M.S., recently reviewed the usability of recipes. An informal and intelligent article highlights some simple changes that could be made to the common recipe that would reduce errors and enable recipes to become more approachable and easier to use.

Excerpt from article:

While working with these types of recipes, I have discovered some common characteristics that have confused me and led me to make mistakes. With just a few minor tweaks, I know mistakes like mine can be avoided. Here are three things that would make recipes more usable, not to mention make me feel more confident in the kitchen:

Minimize mental workload.
While cooking, I often have to look back and forth between the step-by-step instructions and the ingredients list. And that is in addition to dealing with time pressures and outside distractions. When I am constantly moving my eyes between the two sections, I have been known to transpose the measurements of two different ingredients or even miss an ingredient.

One method of reducing the mental workload is to align the ingredients and cooking instructions and organize them by step, as shown in Figure 2 ( Using this layout, I no longer have to keep jumping from the top of the page to the middle or bottom when trying to complete a step.

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About User Centric, Inc.
User Centric is a global consulting firm that focuses on improving user experience. We apply our expertise to projects involving handhelds, web sites, software, medical devices, print, packaging, and telephony services. Our services include user research, user interface design consulting, information architecture, usability testing, user interface evaluations, eye tracking, and online surveys. User Centric is a founding member of the UXalliance (, an international network for user experience. With over 220 professionals worldwide, and managing over 40 testing facilities, the UXalliance has experience across a broad range of technologies and sectors. Learn more about User Centric at

User Centric, Inc.
Pamela Stoffregen-Gay