Brewster is an app that enables beer enthusiasts to explore and try local craft beer and breweries. The core purpose of the app is to bring local breweries to the spotlight and to increase awareness of craft brewing.
Our task was to create a gamification element into the app and thus create a new way in which people could explore and discover local breweries. We had to conduct a TON of research into the brewery industry not just in the lower mainland but around North America. The research would be used to not only help in accomplishing our goals but also be used by the client to pitch the Brewster app to local breweries.
- Create a gamification system that rewards players for completing tasks based on findings from user research and testing.
- Integrate a social media element into the system.
- Integrate the system with the current Brewster user flow and sitemap
- Increase Traffic by increasing daily active users.
- Increase awareness to promote Vancouver’s craft breweries and the businesses that sell their beer
- Increase Sales by increasing marketing value
We started our research off by looking at the current state of the brewery industry in BC.
It was clear that the initial findings showed that Portland was the epicentre of craft brewery. Oregon had 40% of the craft beer market while BC followed it up with 18% followed by California with 16%.
The interesting tidbit that arose was that BC breweries had been in an upturn in the past year alone. 30% of BC’s breweries had opened in the last year alone and more were continuing to open. It was clear that while Oregon was the front-runner for the amount of craft breweries, BC was on an upswing with a number of breweries that were opening.
For our Domain Research, we looked into three apps that shared the common functionality of discovering breweries and indexing beer.
The most popular brewery app out there. Untappd enables the user to create a beer passport, access a social hub of brew enthusiasts and find local breweries in their area. Given their success, Untappd has required breweries to pay to appear on their listings and, given the amount of them, companies have done so.
Similar to Untappd however, their flow and functionality is a little different. They have a different set of features and filters that, while laid out nicely, are a little overwhelming to sort through.
The app for Ratebeer has since been taken off of the market and is just a website. We included Ratebeer in our research because they still had the same functionality in that they helped the user discover local breweries and bars. However, they had been bought out by a larger conglomerate and have since been dismissed by the local community.
Our primary competitor has been successful with their existing system (badges & social interaction), but we don’t want to blindly copy them. We would love for you to do LOTS of research and come up with a reward system that is based on your findings and is tested with the target audience.
Once we completed our initial research we did some comparison on a variety of apps that integrate gamification, breweries, social connection and community.
Through the competitive/comparison analysis, we found that many of the brewery related apps were lacking in honing in on the community aspect. They opted to cast a wide net in focusing on making functions like a beer passport, badge systems, and reviews. On the other side, social media platforms (unsurprisingly) focus on making connections locally (how often do you get the “you may know this person” notification?).
From our information acquired we took the decision to focus on creating something that focuses on the local community and that helps bring them to breweries and creates the rewards so that they receive something tangible instead of something that is just status related (ie. badges, etc…)
Of course, when learning about your user it’s important to view your target audience in their element. So, with great “ambition”, we did a self-instructed brewery tour and observed how people acted, how their manner was, what went into their decision when choosing a beer. Basically, we observed and partook to get the “full experience.”
From our inquiries, we saw that local Vancouver breweries played host to a diverse audience. There was everyone from families to beer connoisseurs that were in attendance.
To better understand our user we sent out our surveys in an effort to really hone down on a more broad viewpoint of breweries and their audience. We would then compare our findings with our research thus far.
Our survey results confirmed what we saw in our contextual Inquiry:
- There is a broad diversity of people.
- The majority frequented breweries on a semi regular basis and most would be there for a beer or two.
Of course, during our contextual inquiry, we also took the time to sit down with locals and brewmasters that were in the breweries to conduct some user interviews. We didn’t really have a limit or specific target as to who we would interview as we wanted to gauge what the audience we interviewed thought of breweries and gamification in general.
From our initial interviews, it was clear that the community aspect was huge that breweries provided. There was a clear connection between people within breweries and all of them were united in one key aspect: beer.
On gamification and badges:
Our interviews made it clear that there was a fine line with badges. The older demographic didn’t enjoy them so much, they were viewed as “gimmicky” and an unnecessary feature. The younger interviewees were more open to a badging system thus giving us the conclusion that badges in of themselves were generational.
Once our interviews were complete and all our research was compiled we began the process to build our target user persona. This started off with building an affinity diagram where we categorized commonalities that appeared through our surveys and interviews:
From our Affinity Diagram and all our pooled research, we came together with our following person. Meet Jordan:
With our Persona in tact, we began to start planning out how we wanted our gamification element to integrate into the Brewster app. We wanted to ensure that players had a sense of reward while getting the satisfaction from drinking a beverage and interacting with the local community.
From the business perspective, we wanted to push out a system that enabled businesses to have promotions, specialized rewards, and events. In the end we wanted to keep the framework open to being altered and changed to meet the need of each brewery and customer.
The final decision eventually came from building a Scavenger hunt but having a fun “twist” integrated(get it? Twisting the bottle cap?).
Our storyboard takes our user, Jordan, into the initial interaction with the app.
From left to right the following is occurring:
- Jordan wants to have a fresh brew so he goes to his local brewery for a quick pint.
- He goes up the counter and then notices a small advertising card that catches his eye and piques his curiosity.
- The card is an advertising for the BrewsterQuest on the Brewster app.
- Jordan becomes intrigued and decides to download the app, fire up the quest and get hunting!
We wanted to create a basic user flow from when Jordan first opens the app to the end point when he receives his reward.
User Journey Map
Our User Journey map showcases how Jordan emotionally interacts with the app upon opening it and going through the on boarding process. From there he navigates through his first quest, eventually completes it and then receives his reward.
The sitemap that we created is intended to be combined with the sitemap of the current Brewster app. The current sitemap is rather large so, in our example, we just showcased our own additions.
The Paper Prototype
Our paper prototype was created after several iterations of wireframing and carefully ensuring that the design worked into Brewster’s current standards.
From our paper prototypes, we took in our iterations after a few series of testing. Our testing included live users which we instructed them to go through a specific task and see if they could complete it. We also went to usertesting.com and had a series of tests made there.
Our testers found some confusion on the Quest Log screen. They were unclear as to how to rate the beer that they’ve sampled and there was some frustration that we could see from the map. Initially, we had the map launch a second screen when the users tapped the “view map” button. However, users were annoyed when they were taken to a second screen and there was some confusion on how to close it so we remedied this by adding the map onto one screen.
Mid Fidelity Prototype
Our Paper prototype changes were soon transcribed into Sketch and from there we built our mid fidelity prototype.
You can view a full version of the prototype here.
This project was by far the most enjoyable during my tenure at RED. Not just because of the brewery hopping but also because I was able to meet some incredible people that were embedded into the community. For this project, I wanted to address that aspect of connection and collaboration that “brew-couver” has. Our process started with going out and exploring that community and gaining insight into what kind of product we would make that would address that audience.
One of our key takeaways was that during testing users took delight in the little nuances and “emotion” that was put into the app. Terms that were more appropriate for the desired audience made the experience more delightful for them. It was clear that small things really can make or break a design.
For the future, I would like to incorporate a simpler flow into the prototype. There was still a bit of confusion with our set tasks during our testing so I would like to see a more cohesive, simpler process. We got very embedded with the reward systems that I feel the flow took a bit of a hit which was also due to the time constraint. Regardless, I really enjoyed this project and look forward to seeing how Brewster implements it into their final product.