Soundcloud for Food, a fresh approach to the cookbook

Oct 14, 2013
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Youmiam is looking to revolutionize how we share recipes with friends, and they might as well succeed doing it. The recently launched service from Youmiam aims at all the foodies out there, an astounding 120 million people worldwide who say they like cooking. Speaking with founder Théo, I was inspired by the way they came up with the service and their vision for the future of recipe sharing.

There are countless online platforms that allow you to share recipes with the Internet. They all have a similar user experience: a form to fill up with chunks of text and some nifty pictures to go with it. It’s not a very friendly process, sometimes difficult to write down the recipe and to follow a recipe when cooking. Apparently our brain will divide a big chunk of text into different small steps when we are cooking, and every time the user goes back to the recipe his brain needs to re-trim and find again the step he was doing. The team behind Youmiam put a lot of effort to remove the maximum cognitive load from the process of reading a recipe. They envisioned a service that is easy to read, easy to post, and easy to share.

To get there, they have been testing the interface with many user groups, from culinary chefs to children, they looked at how people used the application, and they got some help from anthropologists to get the experience just right.

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One of the key elements in the experience is the Youmiam player. Akin to the Soundcloud player, it is meant to be shareable anywhere online : from Facebook to blogs, users can get their recipe and paste it anywhere on the web. The only reason they managed to get to this point is because the concept behind a Youmiam recipe is totally different: instead of big chunks of text we get every recipe divided into several steps with a maximum of 140 characters each and accompanied by visual cues.

Looking at the final result, it all looks very clean. They created something called Food Storytelling, where you can post your favourite recipes and also the ones from others that inspired you. In a way it’s a profile for your culinary life. It’s interesting how, like Théo pointed out, a couple of years ago, it would have been impossible to create such a service. Big chefs would never share their recipes, but today, even if they won’t share their grandmother’s secret recipe, they will definitely share their latest creations with the crowd.

There are still big challenges for Youmiam. Most likely there are already copycats in the making for their service, so they need to reach critical mass before others show up (an English version of the platform would definitely help). Getting major chefs worldwide onboard with them, we are still missing a place where we can all follow their latest recipes in one place. If Youmiam can take this role, that would also help them to get copycats off bay. Most of all, they desperately need volume! Of users, recipes, and interactions.

For me, what is most compelling in their service is the emotional aspect they put into it alongside with the concept of Food Storytelling. So far, their strategy seems to support their vision and if they do it right, we might witness the creation of a new standard of recipe sharing.