A Delightful Little Robot Recommender

05.10.2018 |


Every once and a while you get to work on something really fun.

A while back, I got to work on a nonline cartoon called Coffeebot. I don’t know about you, but I love cartoons. They give me a break from the serious scientific life I try to lead, and allow me to partake in something just plain silly. And Coffeebot was that, a super silly show about an introvert and his sentient coffee-machine robot. Ah, futuristic technology and low-brow comedy…two of my favorite things.

On that project, I was in charge of web design and development. Everything needs a website, right? User research and usability testing were all on me too. Although the focus of my work was to create an enjoyable mobile friendly experience to view comics and animated episodes, I got to work on some side projects as well. My favorite part of the Coffeebot website is actually this little module that recommends coffee to our users.

Geolocation Example Example of Coffeebot coffee recommender based on your location and weather

I read a lot of coffee trivia and history during this project, and I wanted to combine this knowledge with a way to give our main character (also Coffeebot) a voice on our site. This idea turned into a message from Coffeebot to each user. When a user visits the site, Coffeebot recommends a coffee beverage. To make it more personal, I based his message on the user’s location and current weather. It is really hot where you are? Try an affogato (ice cream and espresso). Oh man, that was actually my favorite part of the project to work on. Once it started functioning, it was all smiles from me.

Geolocation Example 2 Close-up of the module in mobile view

Usability testing for this went well too. Our users found equal delight in the little module and it helped them get to know our main character, Coffeebot. We found that some users were not comfortable sharing their location though. And that makes sense, we all have different priorities when it comes to our privacy. To not exclude these users, we also added back-up messages. If a user has geolocation off, Coffeebot makes a recommendation based on their current timezone. Up too late? Coffeebot will call you out, and recommend coffee of course.

Geolocation Example Time-based backup in desktop view

I am happy with how my work on Coffeebot turned out, but it’s funny what small details on a project stick with you.