UX Research Case Study

the coffee shop app that no one wanted

Project Name

Cafe Finder


UX Researcher | UX Designer


2 people: Me and the Udacity instructor who interviewed users


To be frank, when I was given this assignment as my bootcamp capstone, I immediately felt that no one would ever want this product. If I want a coffee, I just use Google Maps.

So why would others want a separate app solely for finding a cafe?

Well, that's just the thing. The user research says people don't.

However, in order to complete the bootcamp, I had to complete the project and turn in a design. It was a lesson in real world design, however.

If my company values user research, they'll listen to it.

But if the company doesn't value user research, I would still have to design a product, so I approached this project as if my boss told me to still make the app.

Problem Overview

The Coffee Shop App That No One Wanted

I was tasked to create an app that allows users to find coffee shops suited to their personal preferences using an "app-barista" to help to personalize the experience of ordering coffee. During onboarding, the user has option to choose types of drinks/flavours they tend to gravitate toward or would like to try. Those suggestions - and their subsequent orders - would help determine what the app suggests later.

This case study focuses on what user's don't want, as shown through the user research provided.

Key Focus Areas

  • Do users actually want an app to help them find cafes?
  • What are user's current coffee habits?
  • What kind of help do users need for finding cafes, if any?

Interview Synthesis

  • Users expressed a general appreciation for coffee, but their desire to visit cafes waned.
  • Users were split on their level of interest in the actual beverages available at cafes, focusing mainly on their experiences in choosing cafes, choosing those beverages, and where they chose to enjoy the beverage.
  • Frankly, the user interviews Udacity chose to provide should not have been included as the eligible users since none of them had any desire to actually personalize their cafe finding experience.

View my notes taken from Udacity's recorded interviews.

Cafe Finder Interviews Compiled into Trends


No one wants this product ... now what?

Maybe there are users who would like an app like this, however the three users that were interviewed were not among that group.

Because I couldn't complete the program without designing something I took what concerns and desires I could glean from the available interviews and attempted to design a product that could convievably address user needs, assuming they change their minds and don't want to just use Google Maps to find a nearby cafe.

Paper Prototypes

To be fair, the app I designed takes into account much more than Google Maps does, providing:

  • A Google Maps-like view to see where all the cafes are that are available. When a cafe is selected, info available on that cafe includes: name, image(s), address, which of the users desired "atmosphere" preferences are/aren't available there, a percentage match for them, etc.
  • More information can be seen for that cafe when clicking further into the map/cafe's location. More images, whether the user has been there before, whether or not they liked the visit, as well as more desired atmosphere preferences, and popular drinks, and/or suggested drinks based on the users likes and their "Usual".
  • During the onboarding process, users have the option to select the types of flavours/drinks/items they love to order. These will be saved in the user's preferences and used for suggesting/recommending cafes and certain items later.
  • Users will be able to rate/review cafes and their offerings, including seating arrangements, busyness, lighting style, noise levels, busy times, price points, number of outlets, types of seating, outdoor seating, accuracy of the above, etc.
  • Users will be able to rate/review cafes' items; like or dislike, favouriting the items, as well as their specific and overall experiences of their visit.
Cafe Finder Paper Prototypes

Usability Study & Findings

Despite initial users lack of interest in this product, I continued to pursue this project. It really should have either ended after the third interview showed lack of interest, or Udacity should have interviewed a wider subset of individuals. Regardless, in order to complete the program, I iterated on the design under the assumption that this product could help a very specific niche market.

  • Users were split on their level of interest in the actual beverages available at cafes, focusing mainly on their experiences in choosing cafes, choosing those beverages, and where they chose to enjoy the beverage.
Cafe Finder Paper Prototypes

Final Designs

See the app that should never have been designed here. Or play with the clickable prototype here.