Anova Culinary

May 16, 2018 - Posted in Startup Posted by:

I joined Get Fresh in October 2014. At the time, it was a small management service agency based out of San Francisco. We had a handful of accounts at the time. I was hired as a product designer, and was solely responsible for the Anova Culinary business.

Recipes Site

My first task was to redesign Anova’s recipe site. This was our main source of awareness at the time. We drove lots of traffic to the recipes site, and because of its SEO, we were able to capitalize on our ad spend ROI. We had hundreds of recipe creators supply the majority of the recipe content, and created the largest database of sous vide recipes.

The original site was bare bones, and needed more than a facelift. Being a scrappy startup we built the original recipes site very quickly. I worked side-by-side with Stephen Svajian (Anova’s CEO now), who was also acting at the time as the recipes site product manager. We conducted interviews with users, studied Google Analytics, and made data-driven decisions on how to redesign, and refactor the site. We used a version of agile, and he taught me how to manage software products. When people ask me if I have an MBA, I say, “YES, I DO! Masters in Building Anova!”

Below is the site before I was involved, and after. You can view the site live here.

Anova Culinary recipes site before

Anova Culinary recipes site before

Anova Culinary recipes site after

Anova Culinary recipes site after

Mobile App

One thing I learned as a burgeoning software product manager is that products are never complete. They are like children, and need to be taken care of until matured and are able to exist on their own. So as I helped support my first chid the recipes site I began working on product designing the mobile app. We researched, and mocked up wireframes, tested our low fidelity designs with real users, and built out out the first iteration of the Anova Culinary mobile app. We measured our success through our single most important metric, “Cooks Started.”

We believed that if we could get our users to start a cook through the app, this meant connecting the Precision Cooker to a mobile device and sending the time, and temperature to the Precision Cooker from the mobile device, it would prove to be valuable to them. Plus, a mobile application was promised through the Kickstarter campaign, and we were determined to fulfill our promise. While running scrappy at a startup, sometimes it means function over form. This is unfortunate for designers, but good for business. I have a vision for what the app should become, but unfortunately it wasn’t implemented by the time I had left.

You can find the iOS version of the app here, and the Android one here.

Anova Culinary app vision

Home Screen (new)   Updated Navigation - Instagram Cook This

The home tab feed features company updates, and information pertaining to Anova and its line of connected devices. It also features a living, and dynamic feed of the recipes flowing in from the recipes site, and #anovafoodnerd tagged content from Instagram. The user has access to their cooker at any time through the “Start” floating action item.

Updated Navigation - Learn Educational Content

The learn tab features content created by our large audience of food nerds, and content creators, along with how to guides from our customer support team. Again, the user is able to access their cooker at any time.

Start a Cook Modal - Manual

The cook screen allows the user to control their cooker if connected. The user has the ability to start a cook at any desired time and temperature. The Cook Later feature allows the user to set a time in the future to start their cook. The Add Timer feature adds unlimited timers for stepped cooking multiple types of food at once.

Start a Cook Modal - Guide Tab

The guide tab allows the user to select any number of vetted recipes by the James Beard Award winning chef J. Kenji Lopez-Alt. The time and temperature from a guide item gets sent directly to the cooker, and starts and monitors the cook through the user’s mobile device.

Start a Cook Modal - Recipes Tab   Start a Cook Modal - Accessories

The recipes tab is similar to the guide tab in the sense that a recipe’s time and temperature is automatically sent to the cooker. This tab allows access to the thousands of recipes created by our community of sous vide chefs.

There was a plan to cross-sell accessories, so here you’ll also find an example of how those ads would be displayed within a feed.

Updated Navigation - Profile   Updated Navigation - Profile Scroll

This is the profile tab. Users are able to access their saved favorites, and guides. They are also able to sign out of the application.

Packaging

I was also responsible for the initial packaging design. We collaborated with our contracted agency NO13E. Here is the first iteration of the package for the Anova Culinary Precision Cooker. I was the art director for all the photography, and final design approval was filtered though me. We spent many months interviewing, and testing different package iterations on real Anova customers, iterating until the final package was produced.

I also collaborated on the most recent package design.

Management

There was a point when I was no longer able to manage all of these tasks at once, and proficiently execute, so I began to build out a mobile design and development team to allow myself strict digital product focus. I began by expanding out our remote development team from an iOS developer and a full stack Web developer to 2 iOS developers, 1 Android developer, QA, Project Manager, and lastly a User Experience Designer.

When I was managing the Digital Products team, we were able to take the monthly active user base from ~1K to over 100K in roughly 2 years. We improved our “Cooks Started” metric by 400% YoY. We improved retention by offering all our recipes though the app and the ability to cook food at the touch of a button.  We improved connection rates, and helped thousands of customers get their cookers connected to their mobile devices. We created a feature that allowed users to set up an ice bath in the morning, and have their food ready to eat by the time they got home in the evening.