Can wine shopping be fun?

Product Design, UX, UI

Did I pick the wrong wine?

Did I pay too much?

Did I choose a bad producer?

Did I serve it with the wrong food?

Am I serving it in the wrong glass?

The problem: Buying wine is anxiety ridden, confusing, and costly.

People love wine but experience choice overwhelm, difficulty discerning quality while shopping, embarrassment over not being “in the know,” snobbery from wine culture, and an expensive trial-by-error learning curve.

Our challenge was to create an online wine shopping experience that was educational and fun.

We want to explore and tackle the problem of wine snobbery and intimidation and design for wine-shoppers besides the stereotypical middle-aged connoisoir. But how?


Research, UX, UI


5 weeks


Tanya Sheremeta: UX, Identity, Web Design

1 Research

We conducted qualitative and quantitative research to learn more about what we should build.

Through a competitor analysis and interviews, we learned that focusing in on our region provided an entry-point for the wide world of wine as well as a cultural perspective to design for.

A few key results from our surveying are below:

2 Our Users

Zach, 38

Horticulturalist, Seattle $55k/yr

—He’s saavy about wine but still experiences shelf overwhelm

—He gets advice of what to buy from the store employees and the app Vivino

—He’s interested in local, curated products

“I’m invested in permaculture and urban farming, and love the idea of learning more about local wines. I want to be connected to what I’m drinking wherever possible, and I hate the confusion of the wine aisle at the grocery store.”

Elise, 30

Elementary Teacher, Oakland, $40k/yr

—She’s not yet knowledgable about wine but interested

—She’s price conscious

—She doesn’t have a trusted source of wine knowledge

—She wants to learn from a guide that is fun!

“I’m not a snob about wine—I’m happy drinking warm rosé with my friends. But when I buy I want to fell like I have a reason for choosing one wine over another, and I want to be able to find choices that are a good value for what I spend!”

Wilma, 45

Nurse Practitioner, Portland, $70k/yr

—She enjoys wine but feels ignorant compared to others in her friend group

—She enjoys cooking and drinking with her community

—She pefers to shop at smaller, indie businesses

—She wants her food and drink choices to feel in line with her values and community

“I just want to feel like I have something interesting to contribute when I get together with my friends for a meal!”

Designing for our key audience

With our research in hand, we focused on an audience of 20-55yr old consumers looking for:

—bespoke curated experiences with distinctive voices

—interest in community, inclusivity, and discovery

—delicious and interesting wine

Our inspirations:

—new generation of indie food magazines & brands

—surrealist art + food & wine content

3 Our Solution

Vinbox is an online wine retailer delivering the best of West Coast wine with low stress and plenty of delight. We believe that wine is for everyone—not just the rich or vine-educated. We demystify wine culture, pairing great wine with engaging storytelling, confidence through learning, and community reviews.

Branding & Design System

We're expressing a unique point of view, and exploring, inviting an audience that resonates with those values. The colors are almost on-trend, but made dusty, moody. There's a slight flirtation with surrealism, calling to lovers of cookbooks and Dali. Young Serif calls back to warm friendly serifs from the 70s.

Tone of Voice

Visually, we're having fun. As we discovered the emotional landscape of people's wine shopping, we decided to lean into nostalgia, warmth, cheer, and organic forms. Vinbox should always bring joy.

Using Vinbox

Flow One: First Time User

When a user first downloads the app, they will be walked through a brief introduction to the app, with dialogue boxes calling out each major area within the app.

Flow Two: Purchase

Now let's follow a user as they make a purchase. In this flow, the user has not previously entered their payment information. We chose to allow users to use all areas of Vinbox without requiring them to onboard in order to create a frictionless experience. Here, the user is certain that they want to use the service before they sign up.

Flow Three: Record

After a user has received wine, they enter their wine notebook to record what they thought of their wine and learn how others reviewed the wine. They are incentivized to publish their review with points that they can apply to their next purchase.


We want users to be able to use all features of Vinbox on their mobiles or their desktop. We know that a little over 50% of site access is mobile versus desktop, and our goal is to create a delightful experience no matter where users access us.


Users are prompted when they begin using the app to onboard their wine preferences through a quiz so that we can better suggest wines that they would like, and so we have more information about our users. However, they are not required to take the quiz.

User Testing: First Findings

We very quickly discovered changes needing made, such as:

—Drag screens in intro rather than tap arrows

—Make sticky nav at bottom

—Hotspots in general are too small or buggy

—Link to shop the wines in Willamette Valley article

—In the Oregon Pinot Pack page, link to the article about drinking Pinot in Willamette Valley

4 Next Steps

We need to complete more testing to discover how users interact with Vinbox.

We'd like to add small animations to the prototype in order to make it feel more realistic and delightful.