Hoi Polloi Brewing

Client -Bringing the masses under one roof

A small local brewery filled with dope beats, chill vibes, and quality craft beer. Hoi Polloi Brewing is located in South Berkeley, CA.  Hoi Polloi means "the masses; the common people."

As a regular customer of Hoi Polloi Brewing, I learned about their need to expand their internet presence. I completed an online UX design course and met with my mentor, continued to visit Hoi Polloi,  and offered to help design, create, and build their website.  

Inside of Hoi Polloi

I met with the Hoi Polloi stakeholders right away and discussed their needs and vision for the website.  It needed to be simple, informative and constructed in a way that represented Hoi Polloi Brewing’s aesthetics.

In addition to their beer, Hoi Polloi also serves other local beers from around the Bay Area.  My first step was to research other local breweries websites in the Bay Area.  I canvassed approximately 5 sites for 3 crucial categories.  1. User-friendly experience, 2. Responsiveness, and 3. Informative content  I truly enjoyed learning more about the business and industry as a whole. However, some issues need to be addressed. For example, was there a legal requirement to ask the website visitor if they were 21 years of age or older before proceeding to the web page content? This took time to research with the stakeholders to ensure that we follow any legal requirements.  Once we were in the “okay” and ready to move forward, we determined that a single page website would make the most sense to be both informative and user-friendly.  

STAGE 1:  RESEARCH

I began the search for a hosting site that is responsive and easy to navigate to build. Wordpress, Weebly, Wix, Squarespace, and others were some ideas that came to mind. Also, I wanted to include accessibility in the design process. I read many articles about the hosting sites above, and I wanted to challenge myself and recommended using Wordpress. Honestly, as I proposed this, the stakeholder seemed a bit hesitant about it, but they put their faith in me.   Now for the truth:  Wordpress is easy for mid-to-senior level designers, but I was not as prepared even though I felt I was ready. I sketched out many iterations layouts, color, type-font, homepage, and others while building in Wordpress.  Yes, I failed and took some months realizing what was not the best fit.  Accepting failure and being honest with the stakeholder was a big step and in the end, helped give me an opportunity to continue. We agreed on Squarespace as the best choice and built out a timeframe. The reason why we chose Squarespace was that my mentor recommended it.

STAGE 2: DESIGN

Sketch was my tool of choice to build upon the research I collected.   My first step was to do a design sprint: 2-5 minute sketches in 1 week.  Following up with other UX designers and the stakeholder for feedback was something I was afraid of.  Accepting feedback is scary to hear if they dislike it, but understanding areas to improve was crucial to benefit me and the website.   I created milestones for myself to each design phase bi-weekly for sign-offs.  This helped me to keep on track to hit each goal.   This process took about 2-3 weeks,  ensuring I included some element of accessibility.  I did forget to mention about using a prototype to go from sketches to low-fidelity to mid in Invision and Marvel for a prototype and tested it on some friends and customers for feedback.  This took about 2-3 weeks after collecting feedback and stakeholder feedback within 6-8 iterations.

Sketch Wireframe

Mobile wireframe

STAGE 3: BUILD

Now begins the final stage of building the website.  The Squarespace platform is easy to navigate and user-friendly to build.  This is true, but there are some flaws while building it.  Not all websites are built perfectly, and I acknowledge that there’s always an area to improve on and iterate.  Building a single page was easy at first, but transferring the designs into Squarespace took some time and creative mindset.  This took about couple months including back-to-back meetings with one of the stakeholders to ensure I provided full transparency and updates weekly.  The experience was something I cherish and continue to learn from today.

CONCLUSION:

My goal was to build a website: something I wanted to research, design, and build.  This brewery helped me experience the process as a UX Designer.  I failed many times and was worried about not finishing the project.  I’m honored that the owners gave me an opportunity, including the struggles and long hours committed.  I learned many lessons by writing down notes on things that were needed and areas to improve on, to strive toward each step in the design process. Also, I want to thank everyone, especially the mentors who helped keep me sane during this project.  In the end, this project is still ongoing and ensures I remain part of this website and its future success.  
Also, I wanted to acknowledge that Wordpress was hard in the beginning and very time consuming, but if I had more time I would have tried to build it using that platform.

Other projects: 
Pearlyst

Jose Ortega

© Jose Ortega 2019