Barback began as a fun weekend project with a friend. We got tired of how much time we wasted standing at a bar, with all of this technology around us. Why can’t we just order drinks off of our phone?
The design process was easy because we designed for ourselves. We knew that the ordering steps should be broken down into direct points: find the bar, select drinks, order drinks, receive drinks.
The initial design was a 2-day sprint to create an MVP that allowed us to get user feedback. The focus was on the user flow, specifically on drink ordering.
Searching for the nearest bar that uses Barback.
Selection flow to pick the bar.
Notification your receive after your drink order is ready.
Paying your tab through Barback.
Armed with initial mockups, we hit the bars early to engage in some user interviews. The info that we received did not bode well for the future of Barback.
While the bar patrons were keen on the idea, we found that the waitresses, as well as the bar staff were worried about having to focus on two lanes of ordering. Additionally, they were worried that without the ability to have real face-to-face contact while ordering that they could lose tips because they weren't able to make a connection with the patron.
We also found that it would be a fairly steep barrier to entry monetarily as well as with development and design time because an app would need to be built for both the customer as well as the bartender and waitress. Each bar would also need to be provided with at least one POS piece of hardware, like an iPad, as well as branding material to advertise the service.
We think that the project still has legs, but based on the overall lukewarm reception and need for more solid infrastructure (order receiving interface, ipad ordering systems, employee training, and signage), we’ve shelved the idea for now.