Publishing to suit your own tastes
BY JOHANNES F. WOLL
The German National Library currently lists 37,793 cookery books. Countless cookery portals and numerous apps are working away for the benefit of cookery enthusiasts. Providers offering cross-media recipes meeting the needs of their users are at a clear advantage. But you still need the right technological ingredients and kitchen aids.
Most recipes have one thing in common – their formal structure: images that make you want to eat (and do the preparation), a brief but appetizing introduction explaining what makes the dish special, step-by-step instructions (in words and images) telling users the right order for making the dish, a list of ingredients with quantities (depending on the number of people being cooked for), preparation times and possibly nutrition tables as well. In a nutshell: lots of items of information that are somehow interconnected. This requires a recipe database, which ideally needs to be able to do more than just manage items.
And users have quite different functional requirements when it comes to cookery: one might be looking for a dish that is quick to prepare and another, being a healthy eater, might be looking for lean cuisine or a gluten-free or low sodium recipe. A practical person will want to use a digital shopping list, and a shopper concerned about price or origin will want to compare prices with a barcode scanner.
Added to this is the fact that users approach recipes in very different ways: whilst people who enjoy planning (so what shall I cook at the weekend?) might ease into things by reading cookery books, a time-efficient cook (what shall I make the kids for lunch?) will probably look up a website on their tablet. To whip up a dessert for a last-minute invitation, the self-proclaimed pastry chef will grab their mobile device and compare the contents of their fridge with the ingredients needed for delicious-sounding puddings. And a regular user, including the author of this article, will have a meal in mind and refresh their jaded memory of the ingredients and cooking times with a quick desktop search, put the printed PDF by the cooker and download the shopping list in order to buy fresh ingredients just at the right time.
This only looks at things from a couple of user perspectives, and doesn’t even look ahead to future user behavior or reflect the new technology options that the Internet-of-Things (IoT) might offer by way of intelligent ‘self-replenishing’ fridges and interactive medical scales, for example.
Think this sounds complicated? Well, it isn’t. The efficient cross-channel publication of cookery recipes isn’t rocket science. Innovative companies can whip up this complex menu of user requirements and contextual user behavior, endless digital content, dull processes and varied output channels step by step. If they have the right ingredients.
- Lots of content – the more structured the better.
- Images, text, audio-visual content, quantities, nutritional information.
- Metadata and attributes for each recipe. Better still – for each individual unit of information (and asset).
- Formal key data for existing output channels (typeface, form, macro- and micro-typography).
- A fundamental understanding of existing processes and an overview of those involved (internally and externally).
- A powerful digital asset management system (DAM)
- An efficient enterprise content management system (ECM)
- A productive cross-channel publishing system (CCP)
- First digitalise, granulate and blend all content, information and assets with their attributes into a large and powerful DAM and add a generous amount of metadata. The network structure of the digital asset management system ensures that all ingredients are combined in the best way and always related to one another. This mixture can also be added to, seasoned with semantic detail and enriched with assets and tags any time in the future.
- Then fold the work flows and people involved into the data. It is important to define clear roles and rights and add tasks and deadlines to taste. Alerts with escalation levels can be mixed in at this point so that nothing burns later on.
- At the same time, the templates can be served with typefaces, displays, colours, formal and structural features in the content management system. Individual adaptations need to be made here to suit the output device. This is because everything isn’t always square-shaped, practical and good, and layout transformations will need to be issued automatically later on. And there’s no need to worry: with the censhare system, it will never be a case of too many cooks spoiling the broth. With clearly defined roles and the help of InCopy and the content editor, lots of users can also work on a recipe at the same time.
- Finally, the productive cross-channel system makes it really easy to publish content just by drag & drop. Via print, eBook, online, mobile or social media – all users will find something to their taste. Guaranteed.
And we have one more important tip for professional technology chefs: only an integrated solution will ensure that it actually tastes good to everyone in the end.
Side dishes and additional ingredients:
We recommend the censhare Product Information System as a side dish. And for lovers of international cuisine, the company can offer exciting additional ingredients in the shape of its Translation System and optional Translation Memory System for a pleasurable language experience across all continents.
Depending on the digital freshness of the ingredients and choice of side dish, between four (SaaS) and twelve (on-premises, hybrid) months.
From past experience, return-on-investment is swift: why? Because companies use leaner processes and run highly-automated flexible publishing systems, creating the basis for new digital business models.
Gräfe & Unzer (Germany), Migros Medien (Switzerland), Parragon (UK) and Newsverlag in Austria (gusto.at) implement censhare solutions to make recipes work well across different channels.
This article was published in The Produktkulturmagazin issue Q3 2015. Picture credit © istock.com/karandaev