ckbk - the new online cookbook that’s proving a boon for blind foodies

Steaming Asian stir fry in a wok.

When I’m at home I love cooking, but it’s really exhausting at dinner time trying to think of new suggestions for what to eat that will please the whole family.

I’m Madleen Bluhm, a totally blind mum to three active girls, and a full-time technology coordinator with the RNIB Technology for Life team. I often want to rustle up something that’s quick and easy, but I’d like it to be healthy, and maybe with some sneaky hidden veg!

When I discovered ckbk.com I was immediately interested as the website promises to do a lot of the hard work. The ckbk website says that they have brought together recommendations from hundreds of world-class chefs and food writers to create a ranking of the most essential cookbooks of all time. The website and app offer online access to a curated collection of the world's great cookbooks, with more than 100,000 recipes included. Many of the cookbooks featured have never been available digitally before, so ckbk has many recipes accessible to people with sight loss for the very first time.

For me the search function is the most useful thing. It has built in filters that let you search recipes according to your tastes, dietary preferences, cooking technique, occasion or just according to what ingredients you have in the fridge at the time. So, it’s perfect to come up with something tasty and new for dinner.

Accessibility

ckbk still has some accessibility issues but I have found that it is very usable for sure with a screen reader. For testing the website I used the latest version of JAWS and iOS 14 on an iPhone 12.

ckbk is a relatively new website, and the people behind the scenes are very friendly and supportive of users with sight loss. I noticed a few unlabelled buttons and also at sign up there is a bit of work to be done labelling the edit fields. When I brought this to the developers notice they were interested and responded quickly. I have no hesitation in saying the site is easy to navigate and I think anyone could use it with no big issues, even without those corrections made.

Use

Signing up or subscribing is easy and only takes a couple of minutes. You can either head to www.ckbk.com or go to the Apple App Store or Google Play and download the app for your smartphone or tablet.

Once signed up treat this website as you would any other recipe site. Look for specific dishes, or search by country, ingredient or anything that tickles your taste buds.

New recipes are being added all the time, so the site is constantly growing. Finding specific recipes is very easy.

A tip here: use your normal navigation keys to get to your edit fields, then type in your search term and enjoy ploughing through the results.

On the app you have four tabs:

  • Home: Access to the editor’s favourites, see what recipes are trending, read features and stories and browse the recipe of the day.

  • Books: Here you find out what books have recently been added. It is well worth checking in here as new recipes, cookbooks and features are being added all the time.

  • Search: This is the place to look for foodie inspiration.

  • Collections: As you grow more familiar to the site you can create your very own collections or “recipe playlist”. My collections include “My favourite main dishes”, “My easy kitchen” and “My BBQ and summer recipes”. A very handy tip I found is that you can add to your collection from any result screen.

I personally like the feature where people can say “I cooked that” and put a comment about their cooking experience below their post.

Hear from the founder

Connect Radio’s resident bookworm and keen cook, Red Szell, spoke to ckbk co-founder Matt Cockerill about the development of the online cookbook website. Listen to the Connect Radio interview on Audioboom.

Special offer

ckbk are offering 25 per cent off the Premium membership cost for blind or partially sighted users. Premium membership of ckbk entitles a user to unlimited access to the full content of ckbk’s expanding collection.

It usually costs £39.99 for annual membership but use the discount code RNIB25 at check out to subscribe for just £29.99 annually or £3.74 per month.

Further information

Website: ckbk.com

Author: Madleen Bluhm, Technology for Life co-ordinator, London

Members of RNIB's Technology for Life team are early adopters of new technology and share their own experiences with the most interesting and useful apps in a series of reviews. This is not an official accessibility review or audit, nor have we reviewed the site for security or compliance with data processing law. For issues concerning accessibility please raise these with the developer via its website.