How will people use your content? (Bad slideshow design)

gruffalo cake recipe

Design is not just about aesthetics but usability as well. This is particularly relevant when you are designing content online. So when I encountered this example of a slideshow for a cake recipe, I had to share it.

1. There is no ‘print’ option on the page

2. The ingredients are on one page, the recipe instructions take up a further 9 pages. So using the browser’s print option would involve clicking at least 19 times (9 times to get to the next page, 10 times to print each page – more clicks if you add in clicking on menus, etc.)

What do people do with recipes? Not this, if they can help it.

Thinking about how people might use your content should be part of how you design it. Newspapers have evolved over centuries in response to this – and even that doesn’t stay still, as the way that people use newspapers continues to change.

So what should this slideshow include? Well if you have to use a slideshow then at least include a link to a printable or fullscreen version (if they have the laptop or tablet in the kitchen) of the full recipe.

And if you’re going to allow people to ‘share’ it (as this slideshow did), don’t let that mean sharing just one part of the recipe (as, sadly, this slideshow did. I pity the person who received my message saying that I thought they might like step 1 of an incomplete recipe).

Thankfully the slideshow format is not used for any other recipe on The Guardian’s recipes page. Meanwhile, it’s a good lesson in bad design.


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