UX Awards

The Premier Awards for Exceptional Digital Experience

Barly Details


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The Barly App: Delivering the MVP and Creating a Unique Brand Experience for Users

We completed the Barly application project in just three weeks’ time while students at General Assembly’s User Experience Design Immersive course during the summer of 2015.

Our clients came to us for help with their self-described ‘clunky’ prototype. Their concept was to help novice to somewhat knowledgeable craft beer drinkers make better, more informed choices based on their individual taste preferences. A key feature of their design was the ability to scan a printed beer menu through the use of OCR (optical character recognition) technology and then provide users with ratings, reviews, and information retrieved from BeerAdvocate's open API.

While we were confident we could deliver a solid MVP, our greatest challenge was how to differentiate the application from the competition. Our clients were definitely not first to market with Barly. Existing applications like Picky Pint, SipSnapp, and Next Glass all solve the same problem and even make use of nearly identical OCR technology features. We could design the application in their image, and do it well, but to what end? How would giving them essentially the same application serve the business and its users?

Much more than just a toolset, we wanted to create a totally unique experience for our users when we conceived of a digital bartender/beer expert in your pocket, tentatively named “Barly Tender”. We feel that having a character to engage, guide, and entertain the user, much like a good bartender does, would make the user journey a distinct, personal, and fun experience.

Why this project is worthy of a UX Award:

Unfortunately, a very real part of being a UX designer is having to evangelize why UX matters.

Our project answers why it does.

Our entry is worthy of a UX Award because our solution to the project’s challenges is a shining example of the enormous role that UX design can play in serving not only the needs of users, but solving major business challenges as well. We could have just given our clients what they were expecting, which was, quite frankly, an ordinary, toolset application. But that would have ignored what their application really needed and what users really want.

While the UX process asks us to wear many hats, and branding usually isn’t one of them, we definitely went above and beyond and were thinking way outside the box in creating a unique brand experience for our users.

Submitted By: General Assembly

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