Find and follow your new favorite bartender.

Mobile App Research & Design for agency Mango Concept. 2018.

Mobile App Research & Design for agency Mango Concept. 2018.

The goal for HoozeOn was that of a full redesign, from the very idea outward. Formerly known as Hoozetending, the app let users know when their favorite bartenders were working, and it was our job to reevaluate the entirety of its purpose and execution.

As the lead product manager for this app, I took my team through the steps of research and ideation to flesh out our value proposition, then through the processes of prototyping, visual design, and final development.

hoozeon-screenshots

A promotional image for the app. HoozeOn was designed for all areas of hospitality: bartenders, servers, and venues alike. 

Discover

Research and insight into the problem

Patrons like to see a familiar face behind the bar. While first just an assumption, we validated this claim through multiple phases of research, during which we oversaw multiple surveys, led focus groups, and conducted one-on-one interviews with both bartenders, owners, and customers.

Our original goal — to pair patrons with great bartenders — was unshaken by this research, but the extent of our value proposition was not entirely clear. We pressed into this further, conducting a comparative analysis of our direct and indirect competitors, and began to pick apart a trend regarding rating systems, especially when we confronted our potential users.

Define

Synthesis of research and identifying focus areas

Ratings were a sore spot for the majority of our interviewees. The mafia-esque nature of Yelp had left them utterly miffed at the idea of being graded on a 1 to 5 scale, almost entirely by those who had a negative view of them. Their fans — the future “followers” we wanted them to have — were always less likely to leave a review. Good experiences don’t disturb you, and anger drives most to review.

hoozeon-survey-research

Refining our queries for bartender and patron focus groups. Incentivization for our user base was an absolute necessity in our research. 

This struck a chord with me. If we could not only provide this singular service of connecting bartenders and patrons, but also reimagine the rating system to which we seem so confined, then we would truly be innovating around our space, and the value proposition we were searching for could be right in front of us.

Design

Ideation and brainstorming solutions

To design our product’s system of ratings, I focused on the best asset I had: direct user feedback. Bartenders feared negative reviews, wishing instead that their best assets could shine through, and that drove the system’s design. Ratings in HoozeOn were to be positive-leaning, capable only of doling out accomplishments. These ratings were to be known as Accolades.

hoozeon-accolades

A collection of in-app Accolades, given out as positive-leaning ratings to combat the inherent negativity of the 5-star scale.

The HoozeOn Accolade system rewarded good service by focusing on the many traits customers seek out in their restaurants, bars, or bartenders. Quick drinks, Mixologist, Instaworthy — these and more were created to act as a sort of trophy system, one in which our bartenders and venues could amass a legacy of achievements and demonstrate their class to potential and returning visitors alike.

hoozeon-ranking

Collecting Accolades increases users' HoozeOn scores, earning them higher-ranked badges to display on their profile.

Deliver

Finalizing the solution and overseeing development

The accolades were a substantial part, but so too was our main value proposition of finding and following bartenders. I led the wireframing and visual design processes with my product team, first fleshing out the general architecture of the app to accommodate for our variety of user stories, then overseeing the paint job to embody our brand.

hoozeon-early-designs

An early-stage design from when we are finalizing the hierarchy of information on user and venue profiles. 

Development of HoozeOn was overseen by the Director of Product and me, as I served in a dual design and management role. I prepared the redline documentation and storyboarding for our team of developers, and provided quality assurance testing along the way. Slowly but surely, HoozeOn 1.0 was completed and released onto the App Store and Google Play Store in May of 2018.

Retrospective

Looking back and looking ahead

HoozeOn was an exciting project to work on. Working alongside bartenders to design an app that gave them more control felt meaningful, and devising a system of ratings to escape this endless of cycle of negativity felt especially purposeful. The product was designed to inspire positivity around finding your next favorite place or person, and I’d be thrilled to continue working on future projects with that intention.

HoozeOn

Team credits

Product Manager — Zach Dorsett
Director of Product — Dom Propati
Art Direction — Benjamin Rude
iOS/Android Developer — Ihor Sokolyk
ios/Android Developer — Igor Kosandyak
Assistant Researcher — Drake Danner
Assistant Researcher — Sonia Gannes Araujo
Assistant Researcher — Hasan Ansari

Learn more and download the app on iOS and Android at www.hoozeon.us

Copyright © 2019 Zach Dorsett