Project review of Matcha
Matcha is a recipe plugin that redesigns the experience and flow of writing recipes.
I created the entirety of Matcha, handling design, development, the landing page, promotional video, copywriting, customer support, and its business affairs. Matcha creates beautiful recipe cards that help food bloggers get indexed on Google. You can see it in action in this demo video:
- PHP (self-taught for project)
- Landing Page Design
- WordPress Plugin Development (self-taught for project)
- Market Research
- Community Development
- Customer Support
- Video Editing
Most recipe plugins were some combination of ugly, clunky, and buggy. Recipe creators often needed to go to an entirely separate page to create their recipe, and the plugins’ designs made data entry tedious. They were hard to use on mobile and provided no additional features for readers (other than a Print button that didn’t alter the recipe’s style to conserve paper).
The problem was new to me, so I decided to map out the essential principles of what a recipe plugin should do. Next, I read reviews of every recipe plugin on the market, installed some of them, and made a list of the pros and cons of each. Then, I drafted an alpha version and allowed food bloggers to use it. I surveyed the bloggers, engaging myself in a constant feedback loop. I also “field-tested” Matcha’s prototypes by using them in the kitchen and taking notes of the pros and cons, and I used all of this feedback to shape Matcha into what it is today.
Matcha focuses on two key areas: the writer and the reader.
Helping the Writer
The reason Apple’s designers added a handle to the iMac, or Nintendo added a handle to the Gamecube, both of which were grounded machines, was to make them seem more like a toy: they were meant to feel playful and fun. This helped technophobic users feel more comfortable approaching and using the product.
Matcha’s design is inspired directly from this. I intentionally removed its input borders, textarea resize handles, and set it in a bright green color that made it more approachable for its casual target market. By treating it more like hardware than software, I was able to give it a fun design that bloggers fell in love with.
Matcha also includes “secret features” like adding affiliate links and recipe grouping to posts. However, instead of introducing these mechanics all at once, I introduce them via a random tip at the bottom of their post creation page. This keeps the learning curve gradual and delights bloggers as they learn more about the plugin.
Finally, bloggers no longer need to leave the page to write a recipe. Certain fields are automatically calculated or pulled from the post if the blogger forgets to enter them. The textareas resize depending on the length of the blogger’s input, and the customization features are extremely simple and powerful.
Helping the Reader
Mobile devices are common in the modern kitchen, yet few recipe plugins cater to them. Matcha’s recipe cards rearrange themselves for mobile devices and allow users to cross off ingredients and directions as they cook. Matcha also saves paper by transforming itself into a cookbook-friendly version for print while keeping the text large enough for older readers.