- Large amount of recipes
- Easy filtering
- Multiple newsletters
- Community and message board
- How-to videos and articles
One of the great features of the website was the ease with which you could filter your search results. When users are searching the site for a recipe and using the search bar they are able to filter the results first by what type of result they want such as video, article or recipe. Once a user chooses, for example recipes, they can then filter the results by type of cuisine, type of meal such as dinner, and by terms such as low-fat or low-sodium.
The large number of articles and newsletters which are provided is also a great feature. Since the website is affiliated with a magazine, there are hundreds of articles about cooking and enjoying a healthy lifestyle available through the newsletters, online articles, and blog. Access to a community section as well as a message board is also helpful for users when they have questions or concerns.
Another great feature which is available once a user clicks into a recipe is the ability to see what ingredients in the recipe are on sale in their area.
- The necessity to travel back and forth between the recipes and the main site
- The absence of a difficulty level ranking system
The website as a whole was easy to navigate however, when a user clicks on a recipe to see the instructions and details, they are taken to a sister website which creates a pop-up. This issue creates numerous windows if a user is trying to view multiple recipes at once and the user must continue to jump back and forth between the Cooking Light page and the page which contains the recipe.
The other item which the recipes themselves lacked was a difficulty ranking. This type of ranking system is helpful for beginners and if this system was in place, the user could possibly filter the recipes by their difficulty level. While there are how-to videos, it would be helpful for a newer home cook to be able to search for recipes which they knew they would be able to complete. For example, if a new home cook wanted to plan a meal for dinner but did not have the confidence or skill to try something difficult with many steps they would want to filter those recipes out to help them save time in the long run.
The Bottom Line
As a whole, we would recommend using the website to locate recipes and become more familiar with cooking healthy recipes. We would suggest that a new user or cook peruse the how-to section to become familiar with cooking terms and basic skills as well as to try a few of the "easy" recipes first to build up the confidence with cooking and entertaining. CookingLight.com has numerous options and a user is sure to find something to their liking after searching the site.