The solar cooking app is meant to be a tool to conveniently document recipes for solar cooked meals as well as designs for solar ovens. It allows solar cookers to store their recipe/oven designs, share them with others, and interact with other solar cookers. The iOS application most importantly focuses on the differences between conventional cooking and cooking food using the sun. This enables easy, and quick creation of recipes while still maintaining accuracy.
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The app in its current version has a login view (figure 1) that allows login using Facebook, a main view (figure 2) that displays all the recipes/ovens added to the app so far, as well as the buttons to navigate to other functionalities. More details about the recipe (Figure 3) is possible by tapping a recipe. Viewing, and potentially editing, the logged in user’s own profile (Figure 4) is possible by tapping the settings button. Searching all existing recipes (Figure 5) according to a wide variety of constraints is possible through the search button. Finally, adding a new recipe/oven (Figure 6) is possible through the + button.
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In order to gauge our target solar cooking app users on their experiences using the app and what they would want an app geared specifically for solar recipes to offer, our team conducted a workshop to help understand what the targeted users need out of such tool. Throughout the workshop, our team learned about the different things to consider while using the sun’s heat to cook. This allowed for a compiled list of possible attributes a recipe could have, including but not limited to: oven type, A recipe has to be custom geared to work with a particular oven type; outside temperature, differentiated from internal temperature of oven cooking compartment, could define the success chances of a recipe; Altitude; and tags to represent the need for redirection of the oven, potentially replaceable by a frequency of redirection attribute. Some fields apply for recipes as well as ovens.
During the workshop, users were also prompted to use the app’s version at the time; their interaction with the app was used to discover some issues with the flow and cosmetic appearance of the app. The workshop solar cooker attendees’ interaction with the app helped pave the way for new ideas to aid the upcoming user interface development.
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We hope to have an initial version/prototype of the app available to users for testing this summer of 2017. By then, it is our aim to have a polished app that, in addition to the main functionalities mentioned, also allows commenting on recipes and ovens posted to the app. In an effort to continuously improve the app, testers will be encouraged to submit their experience with the interface and suggest any ideas or improvements that could help us make the app better.