MFA Studio Course Project
HopNob is a mobile app that socially interacts with both customers and bar owners. It allows customers to check-in to bar locations, send invitations out to friends, and earn badges with rewards from bars, breweries, wineries, and distilleries. HopNob also allows bar owners to post specials, events, and status updates to both the HopNob app and social media. HopNob can also be used to discover new bars to go to and plan out your bar experience.
Develop a project that stems from your heart and translates to the hearts (or heads) of others.
HopNob was developed during the beginning of the pandemic. The majority of my freelance design clients are bar owners. Listening to how the pandemic has affected both bar owners and customers inspired me to create a project that was something both bar owners and customers could use.
Jon Taffer, bar guru and host of Bar Rescue, played a big part in my research. I read his book Raise the Bar which was really helpful in gaining an understanding of good practices that bars can implement to benefit their business. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Jon was doing several podcasts about the pandemic's effect on the hospitality business. While listening to his podcast a quote from Jon really struck me. “Everyone’s focused on what do we do during the pandemic? I’m focused on what do we do after it.” It was then, I realized I didn’t want to create something that would be short-lived for just the pandemic, but something that would both help during this time and after.
I spent time interviewing bar owners to get their perspectives on the challenges of being a bar owner. A common theme of trouble marketing and creating awareness was apparent. I also had several discussions with bar customers to get perspectives on what they are looking for when choosing a bar to go. After collecting my data from these discussions I thought about a bar app similar to Find Friends where you could see what bars your friends and family were checked into. The idea was that you could send invites out to friends to tell them what bar you were at.
“The biggest challenge is getting people in the door. There are a lot of avenues I can go through for marketing, the cost is always the issue. Figuring out what is effective and works is also a challenge. I can boost a post(Facebook & Instagram) here and there but are the people seeing that even interested.”
“In college there were a lot of bars to choose from within walking distance. The challenge was finding where friends were at. We were always walking back and forth from bars and seeing if one had a better crowd than the other or planning on where to go to next.”
Finding a Name
To find a name for the app, I really spent a lot of time creating word lists while seeing if any names or ideas were similar to other apps that already existed. It was then I stumbled upon the word hobnob. Hobnob is defined as drinking sociably, which is exactly my goal for this app. I thought to play it one better and call my app Hopnob to still give it a drink style name to also play on ‘bar hopping’ which is essentially the main feature of my app.
The wireframing process helped me visually organize elements and features while also thinking of additional features the app could consist of.