Your Pocket Sommelier
When was the last time you felt embarrassed and clueless when selecting an ice-cream?
Now, how about wine?
CloudWine is an iOS app concept, designed to simplify & personalise the process of pairing food & wine from restaurant menus.
Discovery of the Problem Space
A personal struggle
Bamboozled by the plethora of wine bottles and labels with cryptic vocabulary, one decides to pick a bottle spend money on it, and look forward to opening it, only to find out that the wine inside isn’t as great.
Such situations and several other versions have made choosing a bottle of wine an intimidating ordeal.
Infact, a study conducted by Wine Business Institute at Sonoma State University shows that the 3rd highest scoring suggestion by Gen Z participants was to “Make wine not so scary and intimidating for people who don’t know as much about wine.”
Impact of Perception on Business
I wondered if this perception that Gen Zers have about wines affects wine businesses and found some interesting facts:
Gen Zers are the largest generation - constituting 32% of the global population
They command a full 40% of consumer spending and are set to change the way we live, shop – and drink.
Gen Z was also predicted to have $44 billion in buying power by 2020 & they want a bang for their buck
So it is quite evident that unless this perception is changed, it will be difficult for wine businesses to sustain.
This is why I chose to focus on Gen Z to provide a win-win solution for both, the users and the businesses.
Understanding the Users
........ actual interviews brought a different problem to light.
I conducted remote interviews and began researching challenges that Gen Zers face while selecting wine in a wine shop, but the actual interviews brought a different problem to light.
I found that most Gen Zers research wines online or use apps before they select a wine. However, they have a harder time selecting a good food & wine pairing from a restaurant menu. Staring at a list of 50 different wines and 50 different food items confuses them.
82% are overwhelmed by menu options
90% don't know how to pair food & wine
100% want personalized recommendations
Based on these insights, I created to dive deeper into the user journey and their pain points, motivations, frustrations and opportunities for design intervention.
Meet Tara, she is at a restaurant staring at the menu, utterly confused by the plethora of options.
She wishes there was a simple way to find perfect matches from the menu.
Tara's dine out experience map
Understanding the Competition
In order to check if there were any solutions in the market that currently address this issue, I conducted a competitive analysis
(Pingza, Vivino & Delectable) & found that:
Although these apps help users find wines, they treat food pairing as a side note.
These apps only scan wine labels to help the user understand what is in the wine
None of them provided food & wine pairing recommendations from a restaurant menu
Overall, the market was missing a solution that would enable users to find tailored food & wine pairing recommendations from restaurant menus
These insights led me to pivot my focus away from my assumptions and towards solving actual pain points faced by my target users.
How Might We
Simplify & personalize the process of food & wine pairing for Gen Z in order to augment their dining experience?
Selecting a Taskflow
Given the time (Just 10 weeks!) & resource constraints, I had to narrow down and select a single task flow to work on. So, once I had a clear understanding of the problem space and the user, I started brainstorming.
I finally started sketching solutions. (Pen & Paper is <3)
This ended up taking the form of a scanner and a simple rating system that would work in tandem to provide personalized food & wine pairing recommendations from the menu itself.
& key iterations
To test my designs, I conducted two rounds of moderated remote (thanks to covid) usability testing and discovered that:
Users are used to seeing the home button in the middle of the bottom navigation and not on the extreme left.
2. Users expected to find the pair function on the main screen instead of the bottom navigation
3. There was confusion about what the users were scanning, so I added supporting text to make it obvious.
3. Users preferred visual pairings over text
On conducting research on trending colours, UI patterns, brand personalities, I found that gen zers prefer vibrant colours and patterns that depict a zest for life. They are drawn to apps that are user-friendly and unique.
So the colours I chose were lavender, pink, white and black. I added an element of cloud as a background to keep in sync with the name.
As for typography, I chose SF Pro Rounded to keep it in sync with Apple’s system font. The font is highly legible and will also save dev work as typeface is optimzed dynamically.
And finally, introducing CloudWine - Your Pocket Sommelier
It is important to keep an open mind & respond to the insights derived from research through design intervention.
I also experienced the Tapper & Listener experiment in my own project.The importance of user testing cannot be stressed enough.
First inject colours only on a few screens, test and then inject colours on all the screens. Doing this could have avoided the redesign work and I could have optimized my time properly.
I learnt that establishing styles, building a UI library in the beginning of the project makes the whole design process streamlined and helps establish consistency across the app
Heuristic evaluation to improve the app
Work on branding
Develop the app