Due to the rise of COVID-19 temporarily halting tourism and the wave of specialty coffee roasters/shops that sell their beans online (Intelligentsia, Blue Bottle and Verve to name a few), Kona Haven Coffee is looking into paving a new channel for sales aside from tourism and freshly building a digital presence and rebranding that reflects their in-store experience for specialty coffee drinkers -- where the enjoyable, in-person interactions could be translated onto screens for a modern, trendy audience.
Kona Haven Coffee is a family-owned and run coffee farm - located on the Big Island of Hawai’i with its oceanfront flagship coffee shop only 12 miles away, the farm specializes in kona coffee.
This was all conceived from my own research and personal experiences with coffee, where I realized purchasing specialty coffee online sometimes felt like a solo, albeit confusing experience compared to purchasing at a brick-and-mortar establishment - when buying at a store, the baristas are (hopefully) able to assist me with finding the “right” choices by asking questions about my preferences to guide me through my purchasing decision, as well as having the chance of a light, enjoyable social interaction. Despite Kona Haven’s farm offering only 7 coffee bean options, it’s a well-oiled, family-run and loved farm that’s active in their local community and puts effort into staying as sustainable as possible by keeping all their processes in-house to provide their coffee beans directly from farm to cup.
Typically, Kona Haven Coffee’s bread-and butter consumer for their farm and shop is tourists (U.S. + international), as well as locals on the Big Island. But from a digital and eCommerce perspective, their user base would naturally look different:
1.6% of total gross domestic product is represented by the coffee industry within the U.S., with over $225 billion in revenue (National Coffee Association) and millennials are one of the biggest drivers and embracers of coffee culture by consuming 44% of all coffee in the U.S. (Bloomberg) as well as being the first “digital generation” where their purchasing decisions are placed in the experience and brand mission above the product itself (Fromm & Garton).
To get even more specific into specialty coffee consumption, 35% of people aged 18-24 and 42% of peopled aged 25-39 drink specialty coffee daily (National Coffee Association). This was adamantly reflected in my user interview participants (who were screened in user surveys) as they all fell under the millennial, 25-29 age group (I do too!).
After interviewing 6 individuals, I catered my designs to three main user cases:
Kelsey is a graphic designer at an agency and freelancer on the side who’s a coffee enthusiast for the strong culture and enjoys testing new brands to explore different flavor profiles and notes. As an artist, she also appreciates beautiful branding and packaging.
Jim is a cybersecurity professional who drinks coffee throughout his day for energy and focus. As someone who knows what he likes, he tends to purchase from specialty brands that he’s familiar with but is always open to trying new coffee - especially local or small businesses.
Claire is a product designer at a startup who’s a 24/7, avid coffee drinker. Due to her high coffee consumption, she consciously purchases only from brands who are sustainability-minded and are transparent about their business practices.
After discussing with a SME (Subject Matter Expert), conducting competitor analyses, and interviewing the particpants, I identified 4 major pain points in the user journey when purchasing specialty coffee online:
All participants unanimously feel that reviews and ratings help them to feel more confident before purchasing specialty coffee, especially due to the higher pricepoint. Some specialty coffee sites don’t provide a feature for customer reviews, which make users feel less assured and less likely to purchase.
All participants feel that they are more likely to purchase from a specialty coffee brand when a website is holistically cohesive in high-quality visuals, consistent branding and features. Things like product images excluding the coffee bag or caffeine levels were commonly-echoed pain points.
All participants appreciate brands who are local or independently owned, especially those who are sustainability-conscious. They also tend to trust those who provide their users more transparency about their processes.
I wanted to make sure that the site's flow was simple, straightforward, and familiar to users so I looked to competitor's websites and ones that the interviewees mentioned that they've personally explored. After creating a user flow to visualize the interactions, I started developing the concept for a "match quiz"-- this is a short but detailed quiz that users can interact with that would provide recommended items based on the users' selections and preferences.
This naturally led me to look at coffee shops with similar quizzes, as well as other digital spaces that did quizzes well-- Starbucks, Blue Bottle, Verve, Buzzfeed, Popsugar... (the list goes on). Below, you can see my initial freestyle sketching using a whiteboard of my concepts and layouts. Scrolling further, you'll see some of my low-fi wireframes of the core, necessary pages along with the building blocks for the quiz.
Tackling the next layer of the solution-- redesigning the branding to evolve with their digital presence. Kona Haven’s stakeholders were excited to see where this could go and were very open and trusting. After interviews with the stakeholders and users, I crafted the brand's style, logo, and packaging!
The logo was initially a bit challenging- I tried to integrate graphic elements of a Hawaiian Monstera leaf and coffee beans that I illustrated using Procreate into the logo with an elegant, minimalistic font. But I kept finding that the iterations felt outdated for the style I was envisioning. After playing around with the word “Haven” in the brand name, I created a simple element that resembles a refuge or door with rounded corners. Additionally integrating a bolder, decorative font while leaving the outline of the leaf element resulted in a clean, modern logo that evoked the brand’s Hawaiian identity.
I conducted usability tests using a mid-fi prototype with 3 participants- to note, all 3 have tried Kona Haven's coffee and 1 of whom has visited the brick-and-mortar cafe and farm in Hawai'i. The interview results guided my final solution: