About the project
Asula is a passion project between me and my partner. A place for us both to express our love for food as well as explore and share recipes. While the project is still shaping up, I’m keen to give a sneak peek into the core aspects of its design. The journey so far has been a mix of research, defining the creative direction, branding and the whole product design package.
*disclaimer: images within design are stock for concept purposes*
My role
In spearheading Asula, my involvement is comprehensive and multifaceted. I am responsible for the inception of ideas, conducting research, design, overseeing testing, and the development process. This holistic approach allows me to intimately shape every aspect of the project, ensuring that each element aligns seamlessly with our vision for Asula.
The problem and objectives
The primary objective of Asula is to simplify home cooking by creating an intuitive web platform. The current landscape for recipe websites catering to home cooks is dominated by SEO-driven content, often bloated with excessive keywords and interspersed with affiliate products, overshadowing the actual recipes. Asula seeks to cut through this clutter, offering recipes in a straightforward, easily accessible manner. A key challenge is navigating the intensely competitive arena of organic SEO. Our aim is to achieve optimal SEO performance while ensuring that user experience remains uncompromised and intuitive.

flexible recipe collections

For Asula, instead of users having to navigate through a large mega menu or a set of page filters to find what they’re looking for, I implemented a more intuitive slider system. This system is designed to curate and showcase lists of recipes that we see people are searching for or interacting with the most on the site. To bring personality into the experience, the headings and descriptions are fully customisable allowing us to move away from generic/automated category names.

call-out sections

To maintain the clean brand identity throughout the website, I introduced dynamic call-out sections. These sections serve various purposes, from showcasing ‘about us’ text to featuring snippets from our blog. This design choice not only enhances the site's visual appeal but also brings benefits in terms of SEO, user experience and user engagement, helping draw in and retain users.

blog navigation/contents menus

In typical scenarios with lengthy blog posts, users often have to scroll through to find the section they’re interested in. Occasionally, there might be a menu listing featured affiliate products, but this isn’t always the case. To enhance our user experience, I introduced a simple yet highly effective contents menu that fits neatly into the hero section of each blog post. This allows users to easily find whatever section or product they are interested in. Additionally there is the option of labelling each link to offer further context for the users, further enabling their ability to find what they need.

the process

Asula was a project born out of frustration with overly narrative-driven recipe blogs and the terrible experience of finding that perfect recipe. My partner and I put our heads together to envision our ideal recipe website, initially a casual discussion, later flourishing into a serious project.

Our initial phase involved transferring ideas onto paper, outlining the problems we aimed to solve, potential challenges, and our overarching goals. This exercise provided the clarity needed to effectively move forward.

In the ideation stage, we conducted extensive research on existing recipe websites, both prominent and obscure, analysing their strengths, weaknesses, SEO strategies, and overall user engagement. To facilitate this phase, I developed low-fidelity wireframes, aiding our visualisation process.

Progressing to the planning stage, we formulated a tentative structure for the website. Concurrently, we engaged in casual user research, tapping into our social and family networks. This approach helped us gauge real-world user expectations, uncovering insights into the desired content, necessary features, and areas ripe for innovation.

Finally, the conceptualisation and design phase began. I focused on creating a preliminary brand identity, shaping how Asula would present itself. This groundwork was crucial for refining the wireframes and advancing the initial concept design towards a more tangible form.
Home page
Home page - continued
recipe page
recipe page - continued