Saute is a food-themed community. Saute delivers food enthusiasts resources, inspiration, and support they need, by connecting them to one another. Whether the user is a total beginner in the kitchen or well-seasoned foodie, there’s a place for everyone in this community. Users can find delicious recipes, make their own cookbooks, and gear up for cooking challenges. Members can add their own recipes, add reviews to someone else’s recipes, or add their contributions to the recipes they reviewed.
This individual project was a part of SI 529 - Online communities class. The aim of this project was to design a community keeping in mind various socio-technical features like potential users, retaining users, rules of community, feedback procedure, etc.
The main page of Saute gives a feeling of community that has a lot to offer. It stays true to its slogan of ‘Thousands of flavor stories in one place’.
Various features of the main page:
1. The main page consists of a menu with options that the site is providing with - recipes, cookbooks, and challenges
2. The right side section of the website is a call to action section to join the community, a call to action to add recipes, and community talks.w
3. The first page also features sections like trending, popular recipes and featured members. By showcasing featured members who have made a contribution, Saute is inviting others to also make quality contributions.
4. The trending and the popular dish sections tell the visiting users that the community is engaging and the members are contributing to it actively.
5. The featured member's section and the community talking section shows visiting users that the community values its members and their engagement.
The target audience of Saute is anyone who is even remotely interested in cooking or food blogging. The audience can include members who are just trying their hand at cooking, members who are a well-seasoned foodie, food bloggers or food explorers who want to experiment with new dishes. There has been a rise in food blogging since the dawn of Instagram. With Saute we are trying to accumulate food blogging sector with traditional functions like recipes and cookbooks within food-themed online community.
Saute has a diverse user base. Saute ́uses word of mouth recruiting and member advertisement as it is substantially more powerful than impersonal advertising. Members who have been a part of the community for a long time, post about the community in their personal blogs or social media websites. As these members are already part of the community they are advocates of the community in front of the non-members. The share option on the recipe allows users to share the recipe link on other websites, and in turn, makes the community visible to more audience on other platforms. Saute ́ socializes newcomers by posting about the latest joined members on the member’s listing page. Moderators are notified and the initial socialization takes place through the moderators so that they can engage with the newcomers on a personal level.
While creating an account on the website the new user has to input his name, pseudonym, password, age, and gender. Users have the freedom to use their real name or pseudonym for the community. The display name is seen by the other community members. This, in turn, facilitates more contributions as the user can be anonymous and contribute.
The contributor’s role is to engage in community betterment by adding recipes, liking, commenting, reviewing, uploading, discussing or tweaking recipes. They make the community what it is by engaging with it from the smallest things.
The moderator’s role is to moderate the content that is being posted as recipes, in the comments or review section. The moderators are divided by the cuisine and their expertise. Eligibility criteria require the moderators to have posted 100+ recipes, at least 3 cookbooks, with 300 and more followers. Setting up eligibility criteria for moderators makes sure that the members have an intrinsic as well as the extrinsic motivation of contributing to the community.
Once the new user joins the community, he is incentivized to select his favorite cuisines and dishes. The main page changes to customized feed on trending items, popular dishes and similar recipes according to the favorites selected by the newcomer. The main page also urges users to follow/connect with the main contributors of the cuisine through the featured member section.
Once the newcomer lands on the community, he should be engaged to an extent of hopping a few clicks on the site and coming back for a second visit. The main page of Saute ́ has three calls to action button.
1. The first is the ‘Join us’ button on the top right corner of the page. The top right corner is one of the hotspots of any website page.
2. The second call to action is on the right side of the website and is emphasized using yellow color. The ‘join us’ section tells the users about what the website stands for, the principles it has been built on and a call to action button.
3. The third one is ‘add your own recipe’, which encourages newcomers to contribute to the website. The yellow and black color is used interchangeably in all call to action buttons in order to establish uniformity and focus on one section of the website.
Also, the ‘join us’ section and the ‘add your own recipe’ section stay sticky on the website so that they are constantly visible to the newcomers. The page consists of various socio-technical user engagement cues. There is a ‘join the conversation’ cue next to recipe image with the numeric value of people who are discussing. The recipe page also features a video of the recipe making with the instruction. The recipe page is open to any and everyone who visits the website, but in order to view the video of the making, the user needs to have an account with the community. The page also consists of usual technical cues of liking, commenting and sharing the content with the ability to save the recipe. After you scroll past the recipe image page, the engagement icons become static at the right side of the page. ‘Join the conversation’ section is an exclusive section which allows users to review, tweak, upload and ask questions to the recipe. Using the upload and ask section members can upload their own tries at the recipe and ask questions related to the recipe. ‘Join the conversation’ is the most engagement driven section of the website where everyone can deliver their take on the recipe.
Members receive likes and replies over the reviews and comments they make to the recipe. The tweaks also receive participation in the form of likes and comments. Any member is permitted to comment and like any content. Feedback to any member who has posted any recipe can be received in the form of likes, comments, shares, follows, replies saves and photo uploads.
The greatest feedback any member could receive on the community is the saves on the recipe, followers, and share. These elements are validation from other community members and play an important motivation in contribution. The badges shown in each member’s profile page generate an intrinsic feeling of self-importance. Members can earn badges for being in the community for more than 5 years, contributing 100 recipes, having 300 followers, and having a consistent average rating of 4 or more. Using badges is a form of social enhancement element which is tied to the value derived from the status the user has within a community.
Saute ́ has a few strict guidelines it expects its members to follow:
1. Keep it fun and share information in a friendly manner
2. Be honest about your contributions and give credits where ever necessary
3. Stay focused on food. Conversations drift, but you are here to tell your own food story
4. Be food aware. Remember your own allergies whole following someone else’s recipes
5. Don’t spam and don’t troll. The moderator’s role is to maintain healthy conversation within the community. They have been given the right to delete any contribution they deem unfit. Moderators are selected based on their engagement with the platform.
One of the main metrics of whether a community can be called successful are its advocates. When you empower your most passionate community members, they will develop into brand advocates. Another success point of a positive growing community would be in the number of recipes that are being shared by the newcomers. In order for Saute ́ to grow the contribution of unique users is a must. Generally, the participation starts in the form of likes, saves, reviews and ratings. But if the newcomer quickly transitions from leader to active contributors, it can be said that the community is motivating newcomers in the right way. Saute ́ aims to get users who are genuinely interested in the field of cooking and food blogging, who would have the potential of influencing and increasing the user base.
The success of a community greatly depends on how new users are brought in the community, trained and transitioned to contributors or leaders. Saute ́ success also depends on the maturity of the members. In order to call the community successful, newcomers should try to transition to contributor or leader position in a short period of time. The success of the community also depends on how the content is shared and managed by the users.