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Santa Barbara Happy Hours

How might we help people find local happy hours more easily?
Roles & Responsibilities

UX Designer, user research, information architecture, prototyping, testing


Aug 2019 - Mar 2020

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The Problem

Happy hours are a unique and important way for friends and co-workers to “catchup” in a relaxed environment.  However, finding information on a good venue can be difficult. Which places have good food and drink deals? Which places have a convenient location?

The Solution

Santa Barbara Happy Hours was an mobile app I designed as my capstone Case Study for my Springboard UX Design Career Certificate. It is an app designed to help users find happy hours in their area that suit their needs.

Understanding the User

  • Secondary Research

  • Competitive Analysis

  • Screener Survey

  • User Interviews

Secondary Research




I reviewed scholarly articles and the internet for information on happy hours and what they mean to the users:


  • All drinkers (average or heavy) drink more when alcohol costs less. 

  • Patrons are willing to shift their time of visiting a restaurant to off peak hours based on menu discounts.

  • Benefits of Happy Hours:

    • Co-worker mingling in a “safe” space that can help strengthen bonds

    • Value of discounts which allows for more time socializing

    • Time of day allows for de-stressing after the work day

    • Crowd at bars is often more relaxed, tranquil, and less noisy so people are more able to talk and connect.

Competitive Research

  • Appy Hour

    • Simple and useful app

    • Clear with good info

    • Not a lot of clear feedback, clumsy

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Appy Hours 2
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  • Groupon

    • Well organized app, very good feedback

    • Provides good info but not all at once

    • Busy - a lot going on

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Of people surveyed look for the right “vibe” when looking for a happy hour.

Screener Survey

The survey gave me a few important takeaways:

● Most people often use the web or apps to search for information about bars and restaurants

● There was no specific place for people to go to find happy hour information

● A large amount of respondents wanted a happy hour that had the right vibe

Survey Responses
User Interviews

From my Screener Survey, I was able to select 5 people to conduct User Interviews with regarding their Happy Hour

habits and preferences. This was a great method of gaining valuable qualitative insights into what Users would really like in a Happy Hour product.

● “When it’s quiet enough that I can have a conversation”.

● It can be easier for a group of people to meet at a bar instead of a restaurants. It’s easier

to coordinate, as people can just drop by.

● In an unfamiliar town - what would you use to decide?

● “Distance is a factor, but I’m willing to walk further for a better deal.”

● Happy hour entices them to go out when they might not.

● “Don’t have to clean house”

● “Hassle takes the happy out of happy hour.”

● “It’s monetary and social at the same time.”

"Hassle takes the happy out of happy hour"

- Laurie Hammack

User Interview 8/20/2019

Defining the Problem

  • Empathy Mapping

  • Personas

Empathy Mapping

I found there to be two distinct types of Users, and I proceeded to map out their thoughts and feelings.

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  • Prioritizes Socializing

  • Has trouble finding the right place to go

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  • Happy hour is a means to an end

  • Deal is less important than convenience

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  • Affinity Mapping

  • Information Architecture

  • User Flows

Affinity Mapping

I reviewed my User Interviews and jotted down the following:

● Observations

● Insights

● Quotes

This allowed me to start categorizing these notes which helped me form patterns from the qualitative insights.

Affinity Mapping
Information Architecture
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User Flows

In order to develop a prototype for testing, I focused on two main Red Routes.

  1. Filter for a Happy Hour with a specific vibe, and share it with friends

  2. Find a Happy Hour venue for a specific time and save it for later



Lo Fi Protyping

  • Preliminary Sketches

  • Guerilla Testing

  • Wireframes

Preliminary Sketches

I began my preliminary design sketches keeping my insights, observations, and user flows in mind. Including a Map was key for finding location, as well as because many people use Google Maps currently to find HHs. I also included a list with distances. Prices, hours, and times were central to the design. In addition, I added vibe symbols to give an indication of what a venue would be like.

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Guerilla Testing

After some preliminary rough designs, I iterated my sketches into a mobile screen size in order to put together a Marvel Pop app for testing.A few issues came up during testing, mostly regarding “favoriting”. Most users confused the heart in the menu with the best location for “favoriting” a venue.

Otherwise the issues were mostly minor and partially due to the rough sketch quality of the app.

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My next design step was to flesh out my sketches into wireframes. I realized that I had been neglecting an important aspect of my app and made sure to include a way of filtering for time as well as location and vibe, as this was important to users. In order to address the “favoriting” issue, I changed the heart icon to a bookmark icon. I also decided that a menu bar on the detail page may in fact just be confusing so I included a back button instead which also addressedthe confusion.

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Hi Fi Protyping

  • Mood Board

  • Style Guide

  • Hi Fi Prototypes

Mood Board

The mood board really helped inform my final design.

  • Colors are vibrant, stand out and reflect the nighttime which is associated with bars and restaurants.

  • Colors go well with photos of drinks and food.

  • Style is slick and mysterious

  • Font is slick but accessible (not too trendy).

Style Guide

The next step was to put together my style guide based on my the look & feel of the mood board:

  • CTA buttons are bright orange to really stand out. Secondary UI Components are in violet.

  • Main scheme is a dark scheme to complement the bright orange colors.

  • Primary blacks and whites are subtly shaded in violet to compliment the overall scheme.

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Hi Fi Prototype

With my Mood Board and Style Guide in mind, I had fleshed out my app designs with the colors, fonts, and buttons to create Hi Fidelity Mockups for all my red route screens.

Time Filter
Detail Page
Profile Page

Test Solutions

  • First Round of Testing

  • Second Round of Testing

First Round of Testing

I created an Invision app for my red routes and tested the app with four people over a one week period.


I learned that many people were confused when trying to find my “time filter”. In addition there were comments in regards to the size of the text being too small. Some people were confused by the “pick a place for me” button on the filters and what it was doing there.

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Second Round of Testing

For this round of testing, I tried a different type of filter for time. I included a time slider on the main explore



My results from this test were a bit mixed. 3 of the 5 users had virtually no trouble with the test, and were able to perform all the tasks easily. For the Time

Filter, the slider worked much better than the “Start/End” button I had used for the previous testing. Although this worked fairly well, I do worry that it still has a few problems. For example, what if the user doesn’t know or care what time they will go out?

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This capstone project with Springboard helped me gain invaluable knowledge of all steps of the UX Design Thinking Process, and I thoroughly enjoyed the process of developing this application, which provided an exceptional learning opportunity. The incorporation of this unique "time filter" presented an intriguing challenge seldom encountered in similar applications that I have personally seen. Moving forward, I hope to further develop and expand this app. 


1. Experimental analysis of the ‘happy hour’: Effects of purchase price on alcohol consumption.

2. An Evaluation of Guests’ Preferred Incentives to Shift Time-variable Demand in Restaurants.

3. 7 Reasons Why Happy Hour is Essential for Your Social Life.

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