One of the highlights of my UX research was a BeerWeek Con I attended in May 2022. Interviewees were asked about beer-food pairing and how important it is to them; have they ever tried to look for this kind of information for themselves or what were the situations and places they did ask themselves „does it really match?”.
The feedback I got was interesting. Most people confirmed their interest in beer/food pairing at some point, though majority of them mentioned restaurants as the main opportunity to utilize their knowledge (and potentially use the app). People would like to know if they’ve been served properly by the staff and if their beer was matched well with the meal.
The second overwhelming answer indicated guest parties, where interviewees (as hosts) want to impress their friends and family by serving a nicely-matching food’n’beer pair. Keeping that in mind, I added one more significant option to my early mockup. Besides simple „beer2food match” (and vice versa), now you can also check how the food and beer you already have in your fridge fits together.
Though my persona and main target group consists of Beergeeks and Nerds, it is important not to forget about people who may not be that much into craft beer world and some of the Yummi™’s pairing choices could be questionable, to say the least. Therefore, I decided to add some extra information about beer species itselves as well as simple justification and rules of each matching choice (explained in all of the foodcards). Registered users are allowed also to add some of the dishes and beer styles to their favourite list.
Name: Tomasz Szamot
Age: mid 30s
Social status: payed above average
Profession: Full-stack software developer
Bio: Tomasz lives in a highly populated city (above 100k ppl). He often eats outdoors, visiting bars, restaurants and foodtrucks, as he doesn’t have much time to cook on his own. He is vividly interested in high-end food and beverages, in particular craft beer. Thanks to his big salary he can afford buying expensive alcohol and shine above his friends, sharing his knowledge and enthusiasm all around.
Features: high-end oriented, a bit snobbish yet honestly interested in craft beer industry
Goals: wants to expand his knowledge about craft alcohols – he wants to follow the trends. He loves to experience the dining degustations on his own as well as impress his colleagues with an outstanding knowledge.
Frustrations: too many food/beer pairing sources instead of one, quickly accessible and acclaimed source; mutually exclusive information; too narrow food & craft beer index.
To check and improve on Yummi™ as much as possible, I conducted 7 independent testing sessions with people I know, who were told to follow given orders. The app was tested on a late wireframe using a mobile phone, thanks to Adobe XD prototyping option. Look at the below bulletpoints and test Yummi™ by yourself!
Main functionalities: beer/food matching
- You’re in the Italian restaurant, where you’ve just ordered a spaghetti. You wanna have a good time and order the beer which matches the best. Go!
- Your friend bought you a crate of Guinness beer, which is Stout. You’d like to know what kind of meal matches the best, as your supply is far from short.
Main functionalities: match quality evaluation
- To celebrate the first day of summer, you decided to make a Pizza garden party. Your guests brought lots of beer and all of them are Pilsners. Let’s check if that kind of food and beer matches together!
- If the couple fits well, would be good to add both aforementined meal and beer style to favourites.
- You have a date in a restaurant and the waiter brought you sushi and Bock beer. Let’s check if he’s not mistaken by serving you that way.
- If the couple doesn’t fit well, try to look for a better beer that matches Sushi.
Main functionalities: database
- You want to know something more about beer types and you are particularly interested in Saison beer – try to find info about the alcohol voltage as well as best recommendations that you can buy at the store.
Account & Accesibility
- Go to your profile and sign-in using Yummi™’s account. If you are already signed in, log out and log in again.
- Check out your favourites and then notifications. Sort push notifications from oldest to newest.
- It’s quite late in the night and you woud’l like to switch Yummi™ to dark mode. Ready, steady, go!
Some of the changes made after tests:
- Changing the main screen interface (where pairing options are available) by adding colorful tiles and providing short comments description
- Changing the order of main pairing options („Beer to food” above „Food to beer”)
- Adding „BeerPedia” and „FoodPedia” options so beer and food infocards could be more accessible
- Adding Yummi™’s proposal option (both „Match Beer” and „Match Food”) for Bad pairing examples
- Smooth change of color palette
- Adding the possibility of requesting a new food/beer feature
- Expanded accessibility screen
- Adding option of Google/Facebook login
- Re-designing and expanding filter boxes – adding food allergens and meal-type filters
Second iteration of tests
All the pain points I was able to identify based on the first test results were fixed in prototype 0.1 of Yummi™, which was released back in 2022. After a couple-months break that I needed to focus on different challenges, I made some amendments to the first version of my project. I decreased general Paragraph font size, re-designed splash screen, home screen and „Buy” tab in Beer Card – just to mention the most significant changes. Once done, I applied the dark mode demo and basic matching database (all the food/beer cards and pairing proposals) so the potential users could feel like they’re experiencing the real product. The second iteration of usability tests was performed on 6 users individually on 0.1 prototype in January and February of 2023. Even though it went smoother than the first session, it still managed to bring some interesting ideas to the table. The most significant ones were, as follows:
- Language barrier (e.g. confusing „Sign in” with „Sign up”) – Yummi™ had an english-based interface from the get go and even though I don’t plan to make any translations or significant changes to it’s UI, I always remember about keeping the layout rich with icons and illustrations understandable for everybody. I also stick with the possibility of switching between different metrics systems (°C vs °F) in the account options.
- Tap-triggered hints – one most the crucial suggestions that came up during the tests. It made me apply the hints to all the unusual shortcuts used on Beer Cards (ABV/IBU/SRM).
- Suggestion to move the Menu bar to the top of the app (Facebook style) – declined. Placing the Menu bar right above the OS’ bottom bar was the very conscious choice. No matter if you’re drunk or sober, you like to have all the options within your thumb’s reach.
- Changing the background of Food/Beer icons inside „Favourite” section. Initially, I planned to substitute the original écru background color in the favor of more fitting, pale shade of powder pink. You know, just to differentiate „Favourites” from e.g. „Beerpedia” visually. However, testers who were confused about that change made me revoke my idea. Consistency above all.
- Homescreen tiles being not minimalistic enough – declined. That suggestion was quite of a punch that unfortunately couldn’t be implemented. Too many testers before were misled with super-ascetic pairing designs, often confusing different options even after several attempts. I consider the current Homescreen view as a good mix of all the vibes I experienced from Testers during the sessions. It’s still essential, but a bit more rich with descriptions and artworks – just enough to allow users to differentiate the basic options.