Select Page

This review is certainly going to make me hungry because I’ll be reviewing an online recipe site. This used to be my go-to place to find inspiration for cooking, until I started eating vegan and I turned to more vegan-specific websites.

So let’s see how Allrecipes.com holds up today, in serving me (pun intended) a specific recipe.

User Persona

  • Me – a woman in 30s;
  • Eats mostly vegan;
  • Likes to cook for the family and trying new recipes;
  • Likes to find a new recipe online but print it for convenience and filing in the recipe book;
  • Doesn’t have time for shopping for specific ingredients and spending more than 45 minutes cooking a meal.

User Task

My task is to find a vegan recipe for a dinner that takes less than 45 minutes to prepare and includes only ingredients I already have at hand.

Homepage

  • Lovely! Good use of images, a clear Browse button to search through recipe categories, quick links in the shape of round photos of food.
  • The bell with “1” unread notification makes me think I’m already logged in, but no, it’s just a prompt to sign up for an account. The OCD part of me clicks on the bell just to get rid of the number “1” on the bell but it doesn’t work. Not a big deal.
  • I scroll further down the page to see what else is there, looks like Pinterest style display of recipes. I can’t tell how they’re selected and I don’t see a way to filter them. I decide to go to the top and browse through categories.
  • I have to say I really like these categories! My super-organized brain gets it in a split second!
  • Since my wish to find a vegan recipe is more specific than looking for a dinner recipe, I’m going to go with the “Vegan” link under Cooking style.
  • The “All Categories” link at the bottom doesn’t look like a link. I would put the arrow next to it, just like the categories have them.

Category page

  • Hello, yumminess! Love this. The top bar with the image of burgers is mouth-watering but doesn’t take away the space for the actual content. I think I’m going to bookmark this page now…
  • Ok, focus! I came for a specific recipe, so I go with the Vegan Main Dishes link.
  • At this point I kinda want to start narrowing down the results – quickly. I don’t want to be taken down the rabbit hole of randomly browsing through recipes. I don’t see an option to display only meal that take under 45 minutes (or 1 hour). The filters that were on the homepage (Quick & Easy, Low-Calorie, etc.) should be on this page, too.
  • Since it’s really important to me to find a recipe that takes no more than 45 minutes, and I can’t seem to find it here (not quickly, at least), I’d be opening Google by now and searching for “vegan dinner recipe less than 45 minutes”. I’d bounce Allrecipes.com.
  • Since I’m doing this review, I insist a little more. I log in to Allrecipes thinking I’d maybe see more filtering options (I’m not sure why users who are not logged in wouldn’t see them but I have hope). Still no luck finding a cooking time filter.

Vegan homepage?

  • I’m logged in and I check my preferences (I clicked the Edit Tastes link). I have vegan option on, and I turned off vegetarian and all other options.
  • I refresh the homepage and now I see top 3 recipes that are not vegan? Pizza with cheese topping, chicken wings and something about mozzarella. This was the point I wanted to close this page for the second time.
  • I’m starting to think there’s no way to browse through recipes by cooking time. I thought I saw the “Quick & Easy” button somewhere? I’d click it now, I’m keen to get SOMETHING out of this session, but the button isn’t there anymore.
  • I’m stubborn (which is not my user persona!) so I find the Quick&Easy link under the Browse link.
  • I was looking for vegan as a sub-option somewhere on this page but still nothing. Maybe if I first click the “45-Minute meals” icon?
  • We are now 4 layers deep into the site: main meals that take under 45 minutes to prepare. There’s the “vegetarian” filter but I don’t see vegan. Why not?
  • I’m still persistent, so I click Ctrl+F to find any mention of “vegan” on this page. No results. I give up. Hello, Google? I have a question …

Conclusion

When I first went in with the task to find a vegan recipe that takes less than 45 minutes to prepare, I really thought it would be a piece of cake (pun intended). I didn’t even get to see if I can filter results by ingredients and how easy it is to print a recipe. I thought this post will be mostly “well done” and “this is easy”.

I know I’ve seen cooking time as a filter on recipe sites and I thought it’s a pretty basic filter to have on a recipe site. It’s like having price as a filter on a shopping site! But if Allrecipe.com’s research shows that their users don’t need it, then by all means, keep it like this. But since I am personally a user of the site, I find that hard to believe.

All in all, the site is great for browsing and scrolling through photos. It fits users who can spend time clicking here and there to stumble upon something that looks yummy and doable. But those users who are pressed for time and need more filtering options, will have to go search somewhere else. And that’s a shame because Allrecipes.com really has a LOT of recipes, loads of reviews and comments.