Coffee Bean: Full-Scale User Experience Prototype

    Full-Scale User Experience Prototype

    The Coffee Bean prototype was launched in October 2011 and the feedback we have received from the Institute of Design community has been enforcing our hypothesis to change the space dynamics to facilitate more spontaneous social interactions through utilizing the coffee station as furniture rather then as appliance. It feels more social. Now people don’t need to turn around because in the station they were already in front of someone.

    We believe in the ability of utilizing quick prototyping when faced with a space or a service that needs to be envisioned. Through quick prototyping we were able to start observing, testing, and tweaking in a matter of hours. As we developed and iterated on one problem, new needs would appear and being able to tweak allowed us the answer the problems that would arise through the design process.

    After six months this prototype built out of gator board and corrugated cardboard is still in the lounge, helping us to continue the dialogue. Being a prototype we are still learning from the interactions users have with the coffee station, the problems and the adaptations the staff has made. These road signs can start to point out opportunities that can help us iterate on the next prototype. 
  • Design Criteria

    We wanted to make the coffee experience at ID more enjoyable
    by taking the coffee station (and the users) out of the walls. This allows the users to interact simultaneously with preparing and making the coffee along with interacting.
    From the design brief that helped guide the process.
  • The Process
    We wanted to turn the 4th floor lounge into a more social space. Observing that most people used the 4th floor lounge to make themselves a cup of coffee, we choose to utilize the coffee station to help drive social interactions.

    By looking at the space, we recognized the need to pull the coffee station out from the wall. Taking the coffee machines “out of the wall”, the coffee station would become the focal point of the space.

    This would help draw more people into the 4th flour lounge to make themselves a cup of coffee.
    Along with utilizing the coffee station, we brainstormed around the idea of transforming the coffee machine from an appliance that needs to be up against the wall, into furniture that could be placed in the center of the room.

    With this design principle, along with the user criteria that the coffee station facilitate more social interactions, we were drawn to the natural shape of the bean.

     We recognized that this shape would utilize the roundness of the room as it created a flow for people. This shape meant that two individuals could make coffee simultaneously, as well as a third person start to prepare their coffee with cream and sugar.
  • BRAINSTORMING: Space Evaluation
  • BRAINSTORMING: Sketching
    Once done sketching, a franken-esque prototype was created with blue tape and paper. Getting on our hands and knees we started testing our hypothesis within hours of starting the project.

    By utilizing this quick prototyping method we were able to pivot and tweak our concept as we did quick tests to see how our prototype interacted with users and the space.
    We built the Coffee Bean over the weekend, totaling 20 hours from start to finish.
  • 5E Experience Map: Before and After