World, Meet Ground Rules

How to make good coffee without really trying.

This summer, Viget interns across offices in DC, Durham, and Boulder came together (in spirit) to identify a problem and create a compelling, digital solution. We had ten weeks. We had the combined skills of our five disciplines. We had free snacks.

We started with brainstorming. Through the pixelated magic of Google Hangouts, we bemoaned the lack of taco trucks. We mourned the trials of finding free wifi. We grieved over food that goes to waste in the fridge.

Nothing felt quite right, until we realized that the problem was in front of us, lukewarm and half-drained.

The problem was coffee. As a rule, we drink coffee when we’re tired. But making coffee makes us tired.

First of all, there’s finding the right roast — the quest for the perfect blend that inevitably ends with Folgers. We don’t want Folgers, but at least we know what we’re getting with it, unlike the light roast, organic, fair trade, single-origin enigma on the top shelf.

Then there’s the actual coffee-making. For some people, it’s a labor of love. For tired people, it’s drudgery. We still haven’t recovered from that time we spilled coffee grounds on the carpet. It’s exhausting trying to figure out the right ratio of grounds to water. It’s depleting when the coffee we finally get is either too weak or too strong. To top it all off, there’s the despair when we realize we actually need to clean the coffee machine.

With this in mind, we decided to do something. Armed with coffee, we got to work. Our audience: tired coffee drinkers. Our objective: to provide effortless roast recommendations — and hacks for managing unruly coffee machines.

Our intern team consisted of a UX designer, two front-end developers, a back-end developer, a visual designer, and a copywriter. Over the course of 10 weeks, we braved user research, strategy definition, visual design, front and back end development, QA, and a cross-office  presentation to the entire company.

The result was Ground Rules: a website for helping people make good coffee with minimal effort.

Along the way, we learned:

  • UX: Sometimes, the best solutions aren’t the snazziest ones. Put away your personal biases and focus on users’ needs.

  • Copy: Developing a strong strategy is essential. If you know your audience is already half-asleep, you better have a good reason/plan for getting their attention (they won’t thank you for waking them).

  • Design: Learned about practices for front-end development handoff and SVG formatting, and was able to push layout, type, and color skills to the limit.

  • FEDs: Learned about group collaboration, new technologies, SVG animations, and building with accessibility in mind.

  • Dev: Learned about Content Management System functionality and how they can work to update information. Also learned about team communication and working with people in other disciplines.

At the end of it all, we’re slightly more tired than we were before, but we’re happy. After all, most interns just get coffee.

Elyse Kamibayashi

Elyse is Viget’s copywriter apprentice. She believes that good words are always welcome, and that digital spaces provide unique opportunities to showcase the value of language.

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