2014 Australian Mobile & App Awards

mobile, web, IoT, desktop, connected devices
design champion, best studio, best start-up & IoT
plus 20 specialist nomination categories

demand design, celebrate courage

The Cook App [DRAFT]

Image Credit : All images copyright, the Cook app team.






Project Overview

The Cook app was originally developed as a case-study for Jodie Moule's book "Killer UX Design" Published by Sitepoint in 2012. The app has taken 2 years to research, design and develop and has enjoyed global success having been awarded 'Editors Choice', 'Best New Apps', 'Essentials' and also 'Best of 2013' by Apple - a fairytale ending to the initial story - and a great showcase of the Customer Led Innovation method and approach followed to get the product to market.


The Cook App


A Melbourne start-up with 4 co-founding directors, the Cook app team is currently made up of 6 people. Jodie Moule (Co-Founder: UX; Research; content; PR); Stephen Moule (Co-Founder: Cook support); Alex Johnston (Co-Founder: Designer & PR); Jeff Tan-Ang (Co-Founder: iOS Development; Cook support); Gerald Kim (iOS Development; Cook support); Steven Cooper (bug, load and general tech testing).

Project Brief

Having lost cherished family recipes as they were not written down or recorded, the original idea of the Cook app was to provide a digital recipe scrapbook, that helped users to create and share recipes, with close family and friends. Understanding that coming to an 'empty' book would not be rewarding for users, Cook also offers recipe content to users; meaning you can create and consume content easily from the minute you log-on.

Cook is the first social network for swapping and sharing recipes with the world of its kind; with 500,000 downloads in its first three weeks of launch - with thousands of recipes created and viewed daily - showing that engagement with this simple idea, and the beautiful product that supports the idea, is high.

Awarded 'Best of 2013' by Apple - Cook is well on its way to becoming #TheWorldsCookbook.

Project Need

"To democratise the publication and sharing of food dreams across the world in a gorgeous interface is a new magic that no paper publisher could ever realise or deliver to market...thank you for pushing hard and creating this true innovation in the cookbook space" ~ @rickysynnot (an @thecookapp follower on Twitter that works in the book publishing industry).

Innovation is often a 'happy accident' - and while the team didn't initially set out to 'disrupt' the publishing world of cookbooks; it has now been achieved through the global social nature of the app.

Helping the average everyday user to publish and share their cherished recipes, giving them equal power to chefs or personalities that are well known in the Cooking industry - via the power of social - is something the Cook team is proud to have offered through their product.

Passionate foodies, up and coming chefs and even happy home cooks the world over now have a voice that can reach the Cook global audience - true innovation!

User Experience

The Cook team followed a Customer Led Innovation approach to research, design and development, that was documented in "Killer UX Design" (Sitepoint 2012) written by Jodie Moule (Co-Founder).

Going into context and exploring whether there was a design gap formed the first critical part of the project, that allowed the team to realise whether the project was worth time and dollar investment.

What we discovered was a messy and random means of collecting, sorting and organising recipe content in people's homes. What we also discovered was the highly social and competitive nature of cooking. This activity allowed us to confirm the 'hunches' we had for the product direction, but also extend on our original ideas through our discovery of the connection between 'food' and travel. Hence the 'world books' were born, and social was opened up beyond 'close friends and family' to a 'global audience'.

Throughout the development and design process we kept users engaged doing an extended BETA to help the team to understand what was working and what wasn't; eventually affecting the design direction of the inside of the book.

Understanding a broader experience with the app from day one helped the team realise they had to offer more than content creation alone, and as a result, Cook launched with close to 100 recipes, allowing users to create their own cookbook without having to invest time in creating recipes (users can 'add' recipes located in featured books).

Project Marketing

The original marketing strategy was to launch at the same time as "Killer UX Design", so that readers of the book would then be triggered to download the app. However, the app took another year to launch - so our original marketing plan then turned toward creating a superior recipe book experience with design as a differentiator, so we would stand-out in the 'Food & Drink' category of the App Store - and have a shot at being featured.

The ongoing marketing of the app has relied on using already established social channels to help push out Cook recipes (Facebook advertising); Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

Approaching local newspapers and technical online publications has helped bring the story of Cook to the public through newspaper articles and features in Australia.

The fact that Cook is a social network in it's own right - has helped to ensure that the brand is gaining eye-balls and groundswell in our biggest markets.

Gaining exposure in the USA market (our biggest audience) is something the team is now focused on, approaching local chefs to be featured and raise the credibility of the app for the American audience.

This category relates to applications concerning cooking information and recipes.
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