While working on formulas in BakersCalc there have been a handful of times where I’ve finished a recipe only to realize I had forgotten an ingredient. No problem, I’ll just add it at the end! Except this is a problem, because my OCD won’t stop flicking the back of my head until I add it in the correct order. The way I use BakersCalc is pretty linear – the order of ingredients is the order I’m adding them to my mixer. Usually this meant either deleting items and adding the missing link, or adding one at the bottom and shifting everything around. Before the last update this issue was the definition of a bad user experience.
What is user experience (UX), anyways? The Wikipedia definition is “…a person’s emotions and attitudes about using a particular product, system or service”. Basically it’s how you, the user feels when using someone’s product. It may seem straight forward, but a large amount of research and development goes into getting things just right. If a transition animation takes too long, the user gets impatient, so that’s a negative experience. Alternatively if the animation is quick and fluid, the perceived notion is that the application itself is quick and responsive. And sometimes, it all comes down to differences as minuscule as hundredths of a second.
This issue with BakersCalc got me thinking about how this was approached in the past, and how much we take for granted today. Such a small feature is a great example of how UX standards have progressed with the advancement of technology, ten years ago you’d rarely see web apps with such features. Best case scenario each item would have an individual input field for it’s position and reordering would require interfacing with each one, and refreshing the entire page. While this does work, it isn’t necessarily pretty both visually and programmatically, especially when your data gets larger. Now, we have simple touch gestures that make such tasks seem effortless, and we’ve come to expect it from our applications. But it wasn’t always like this – it took the explosion of the smartphone industry to make us rethink how we interface with our devices. The combination of rapid hardware and software development has brought a plethora of ways to improve how we program. Logic that once was reserved for the backend could now be done on the frontend quicker, and for less bandwidth.
I’ve come to notice and appreciate how over time culture has adapted it’s perception on how we should use technology, and how that in and of itself has an impact on how we determine a positive user experience. Any phone without pinch, zoom, or swipe would be considered a failure by today’s standards, no matter how powerful it’s processor or GPU may be. If one thing is for certain, technology never sleeps.Random Thoughts
I’m glad to announce that since most of the bugs in BakersCalc have been addressed I’m finally working on adding some useful features. Today’s update brings drag n drop sorting for all devices, in hindsight this should have been implemented from the beginning. There will be a small design update to make it obvious, but to sort you simply click/touch on the item’s weight and drag it to it’s new position.Development bakerscalc, ux, webapp
Winding down the weekend with some minor BakersCalc updates. This mostly addresses some strange use cases that realistically shouldn’t happen but technically could. I also changed the animations and in my very biased opinion think they make the user experience more fluid.
- updated url generator to avoid some silly use cases
- fixed bugs on print page and add/remove related issues
- updated animations!
It’s been a while since my last update, but things are finally moving again. You can now select pounds (lb) as your displayed weights which should help when making large batches of dough.
- precision slider now affects displayed total weight & ball weight
- pounds added to weight units
- fixed bug where total weight & ball weight units would not update
- fixed bug where units would not restore to last selected radio option on page refresh
There are some more updates planned for the near future including drag n drop resorting and a “baking mode” for mobile – when enabled each ingredient will be displayed in a large, easy to view design with tap/swipe controls. Hopefully this will come in handy when you’ve got BakersCalc up on youer phone next to your kitchen scale. As always if you find any bugs feel free to reach out – we’re on instagram, twitter, and plain ol email. Happy baking!Development bakerscalc, webapp
I recently came across this neat way to present footers while browsing around and decided to try and replicate it. It works by setting position: fixed; and z-index: -1; on our <footer> tag, and on our last article we add a large margin-bottom to reveal the content beneath. It’s very easy to implement if your footer has a static height, and of course works for multiple breakpoints via @media queries.Design, Development, Tutorials
Westchester’s Stamp of Approval is built on the WordPress platform and features a fully responsive custom theme. It also features a fully customizable menu and two widget areas where users can easily change content using the WordPress CMS. [continue reading]Design, Development, Portfolio css3, html5, php, responsive, web design, wordpress
After a few days of coding and editing I’m proud to announce an updated version of the BHM theme. This time around I’ve focused on creating a theme that is very flexible and familiar, since this is supposed to be a blog after all. There are new navigation and sidebar regions defined which enable users (aka me) to take advantage of WordPress’ editing capabilities. Most of the JS/CSS files have been dusted off as well, and the code calling them has been revised so that the entire site should operate quicker.
I figured it was a good time to comb through my portfolio section as well, so there are some new (old) posts of my work. Some of these date back nearly a decade!Development
Nesto’s Pizza & Deli was built on the WordPress platform and features a custom made theme designed for the company. It features integration of the Yelp Fusion API to display useful reviews and uses the SinglePlatform API to fetch all menu information. This helps the business keep their menu up-to-date and consistent across all mediums.
This release of BakersCalc includes new features for sharing your formulas in different ways as well as bringing some very important information up front to the user.
- Added export button next to create URL in options dropdown – users now have access to a printer-friendly version of their formula. You can now also generate BBCode or HTML tables to copy and paste from the same export window.
- Added total dough weight, ball weight, and total percent to top section of page, and also revised hydration to match the new info. This should help when using BakersCalc in TF mode and trying to figure out your ball weights 🙂
As always feel free to give your feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org, happy baking!Development bakerscalc, webapp
BakersCalc is a simple yet powerful web application for creating and sharing baking formulas. It can handle a variety of formulas including ones with sourdough starters, and can even accommodate non-yeast based recipes. It includes a printer-friendly version of your formulas that can also be copied as BBcode or HTML tables. Check it out at bakerscalc.com!