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What Happens When You Shake Your Phone?
Sat, May 26th

The shake your phone feature is available on both the mobile web version of the site as well as in the iOS app (for people who are logged in).

At a high level, here's what happens when you shake your phone:

  1. Your profile is turned into a query that's specific to you.
  2. This query is run against the recipe group you've specified in your profile.
  3. A score is calculated for each recipe (the scoring uses your profile settings).
  4. The recipes are sorted in descending order of score.
  5. The top fifty recipes are selected, then their order is randomized.

These are the recipes that you see in the final results.

Your Profile Becomes a Query

In this step, a couple of key parameters from your profile are used to construct a baseline query.

First, which group of recipes will be retrieved? Your profile can be configured to look at all recipes, your favorite recipes, or, if you have permission, your own recipes.

Next, from which meal types will we select? Your profile can be configured to return any of dinner, lunch, salad, appetizer, (etc).

Finally, your allergies are collected so any recipes with ingredients that have those allergies can be eliminated during scoring.

Recipe Scoring

Once the base set of recipes has been retrieved, each recipe is scored against your profile.

E.g.: here's what happens if you've self-identified as vegan in your profile:

  • Any recipes that are vegan have their score bumped up.
  • For each vegan ingredient in a recipe, it's score is bumped up.
  • Any recipes that contain your favorite ingredient have their score bumped up.
  • Any recipes that contain your least favorite ingredient have their score bumped down.
  • Recipes that contain allergens are removed.
  • If you've checked cook for kids on your profile, and a given recipe is kid-friendly, this recipe's score is bumped up.

This works similarly for users who have self-identified as paleo, vegetarian, mediterranean, etc.

Presenting the Final Results

Once every recipe has been assigned a score, the recipes are sorted in descending order of score.

The result set is then culled down to the recipes with the top fifty scores.

These recipes are randomly shuffled and are presented as the final search results.

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