Feedback Request: Advanced meal plan builder [beta]


#1

Today we released a new way of building meal plans as a beta feature. You can enable this feature by navigating to Settings, Preferences, and selecting Advanced under the heading Meal Planner. Here’s what this looks like:

The next time you build a new meal plan you’ll be using the new advanced builder!

Why we released this

The regular meal plan builder (where we suggest recipes and you ‘swipe’ for new options) was designed to be a simple way of building meal plans. However, we’ve been receiving feedback that you want more control over your meal plans, and that having to ‘swipe’ through many recipes isn’t always easy.

Many of you have asked for a search option, so you can find recipes that your friends and family have recommended. You’ve also said that it would be simpler to see a full list of eligible recipes, and have the ability to select and scroll through all of them.

We’ve made this possible with the new builder. You can now easily view all eligible recipes (depending on your eating preferences) and add whichever ones you wish. You can also search for recipes, though right now only the recipe name is indexed in search - you can’t (yet) search for ingredients within recipes.

We need your help

We’d love to compile your feedback here, so you can let us know what’s good about this new builder, what’s bad, and what can be improved. Please note that this is the first version and we have many ideas for future improvements. For how, however, please consider the following questions:

1. How does the new builder feel compared to the old builder?

Do you find it easier to use? Harder? More or less stressful? What are your first thoughts?

2. Customization (i.e., making a feature more powerful) and ease of use (i.e., making a feature simple to use) are competing objectives, and it’s tough to find the right balance.

Considering this and the tradeoffs we all have to make, is there a clear winner here?

3. What additional features would make this builder much more valuable for you?

Please think hard about this one - every additional feature introduces complexity to the app. You’ve told us (again and again) that Mealime is valuable because of how easy it is to use, and how it makes a hard problem (meal planning and eating better) much less stressful in your day to day life. Considering this, what additional advanced meal plan builder features are must haves, and which ones are nice to haves?

All other feedback is welcome. We’re excited to make Mealime better at serving your needs, and your feedback is extremely valuable. Thanks for taking the time to help us out :slight_smile:


#2

#3

[quote=“jeff, post:1, topic:63”]

  1. How does the new builder feel compared to the old builder?

Do you find it easier to use? Harder? More or less stressful? What are your first thoughts?

I just used this today as I accidentally “build” a new meal plan, thus losing my old one. So it was nice to go back in and find my old recipes.

I do like the old way of just having my recipes appear, but this is nice too. I guess my biggest question would be - does it still maximize ingredient use, and how?

  1. Customization (i.e., making a feature more powerful) and ease of use (i.e., making a feature simple to use) are competing objectives, and it’s tough to find the right balance.

Considering this and the tradeoffs we all have to make, is there a clear winner here?

I like ease of use, but I do not believe the choice of this feature makes it difficult. It’s nice that I have the option to use it or not.

  1. What additional features would make this builder much more valuable for you?

I definitely like making my future meal plans… I am still cooking this week while planning next week, so I LOVE that feature.

I would like the ability to prep as much as possible, but this is not a deal breaker for me, as I just go into each individual recipe currently and do what I can on Sundays.

All in all a good option to have that doesn’t make it much more complicated.


#4

Thanks Kelly! I really appreciate you taking the time to leave feedback.

By maximize ingredient use, I’m assuming you’re talking about how the regular meal plan builder combines recipes with common ingredients in order to limit food waste. Please correct me if I’m wrong!

The advanced builder doesn’t do this right now. We opted to get it out there and release improvements on an ongoing basis. It’s good to hear that this is important to you - there are a number of ways we could try to integrate this feature into the advanced builder in future releases.

:thumbsup:

Meal prep is something that keeps coming up. We’ll see how we can tackle this for the future!


#5

I just started using Mealime, so take this with a grain of salt, but for me personally I like this app because of the fact that it helps eliminate the research step and ‘paralysis of choice’.

What I mean by this is that when I’m deciding what I want to cook for dinner, I often get stuck because my decision space is too broad–there are too many options. And even though realistically I’d be equally happy with most of the options at my disposal, I still get overwhelmed with the decision because I’m artificially trying to choose the best thing. Having an app with an opinion is actually really nice, because then I don’t have to think about all the other thousands of possibilities and I’m perfectly happy with what’s presented to me.

Therefore in my case, I’m using Mealime not because the individual recipes themselves are better than what I can find online, but rather I’m using it because it gives me a limited set of (good) choices for dinner.

All this is to say, I think the advanced builder is cool and useful as an option, as long as it doesn’t replace the default user experience. When I swipe a meal and have it replaced by something else, I usually just want to see one option–I don’t want it to open a list of every recipe to select the replacement. The advanced builder kind of takes away some of the ‘opinionated-ness’ of Mealime, so I think it’s important that it’s reserved for the cases where we explicitly want to impose our own opinions on the plan.


#6

Thanks so much for your very insightful feedback @shaneleonard! Since starting Mealime, we’ve definitely lost some of our opinionated-ness as we’ve released more and more customization features. When we first started, we didn’t even have a way to swap recipes! You simply clicked a button and a meal plan was given to you.

Lots has changed since then, but it’s good to hear that you value less choice and an opinion. We’ve thought hard about overwhelming our users with too much choice - in fact, this was the main reason we took so long to build the advanced builder in the first place.

We have some ideas to introduce opinionated-ness to the advanced builder and will be making improvements in the near future. It’s a tough balance - would love to hear your opinion again once the various improvements are out to see how we’ve done.

Thanks again!


#7

For those who subscribe, it would be great if, while viewing the menu list, if you could print the number of calories per serving and a small pie chart that breaks down the macros. This way, for those who use this information in their decision making process in selecting a menu item, they don’t have to open it and click on nutritional info.


#8

Cool idea - thanks for sharing! Just so I’m clear, I think you’re saying that you’d like the nutritional information to be shown on the recipe thumbnail images themselves, so you can quickly see what the recipe contains and don’t have to open the recipe. Is this correct?

We’re definitely interested in adding calorie / macro goal / target features in the future, which I think you’d be interested in. No timeline yet as to when this will be available, but keep an eye on the app for updates :slight_smile: Thanks again.


#9

Yes please! Having the numbers on the thumbnail is what I was looking for. =
Thanks for following up. You guys really know how to make your users feel h=
eard.:slight_smile:


#10

Awesome - thank you for clarifying!!


#11

My comment is not about the beta version since I am not trying it out, but about the menu choices. I would love to see more of my favorites especially the kind of recipes I am used to preparing before Mealime entered my life. For instance, I am craving soups especially avgolemono! Or spinach! I can see how too many recipes can be overwhelming, but I think it would be useful to increase my current Mealime repertoire.