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Say you have a web site showing recipes which include a list of ingredients. We want to get that list of ingredients from the user's desktop browser to the user's mobile phone so when they go shopping they have the ingredients list with them. Or maybe send it to their spouse so they pickup the ingredients on the way home.

Of course the user can browse the recipe site using their phone, and we can have the user send themselves an email which includes the ingredient list, but we want something more immediate and convenient than that.

We thought about working with an SMS service, so you could text yourself a bit.ly link to the recipe page, but the cost and effort of contracting with the service is prohibitive.

Any other ideas?

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What is slow and inconvenient about email? It will probably take around the same amount of time and number of steps to get to the information. If an SMS service is too expensive then building a mobile app will definitely be out of the questions. –  Michael Lai Sep 4 '13 at 1:46
    
Are you simply looking for a list of options? SMS is certainly one. Twitter is another. Perhaps something like Instapaper, or google docs. You could also have your own app that syncs between the two. –  DA01 Sep 4 '13 at 2:34
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1 Answer

up vote 1 down vote accepted

As it was mentioned in the comments, if you have the resourced it sounds like your best option would be to create an app. It doesn't have to be a very complex one, a web app that allows for notifications should do.

Advantages of using an app:

  • User gets notified instantly (unexpected scenarios)
  • Notifications are unique and can't be confused with other types of messages
  • They can be styled and branded as wished
  • User can receive them in any device
  • Cost of running is considerably cheaper than text messages

The value of the app increases if you can somehow link your recipes to it (ability to create lists, ability to share lists with other users who have the app installed), and you give it some extra functionality (ability to mark the ingredients that have been bought).

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I think the commenter above is right that email isn't inconvenient, but the user does have to open their email app, find the message, etc. We were just hoping for alternatives. Creating an app might be worth it. –  Dan Sep 5 '13 at 10:00
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