When we first sat down to discuss ideas for our project, we decided we wanted to come up with something fun and playful. Preliminary ideas included a candy shop and riffs on southern desserts. Our first structured idea was to have pre-made cookies that would be decorated with a variety of garnishes determined by participants. The prospect of involving some sort of game was something we really liked. Next, we decided on something similar to the cookies, but with hot chocolate. Participants would be handed some sort of quiz or riddle to complete and their answers would determine what would go on their hot chocolate.
The addition of the quiz determining what would be on a guest's hot chocolate meant that participants would have a more playful experience at our booth. It also meant that they were going to be more directly involved in the process of creating their drink and that their drinks would be more personal for them. Along with the individuality aspects of our booth, we decided to add an element of surprise. Instead of participants being able to see their drink being made, it would be hidden and then revealed at the end. This would make our booth overall more of an exciting experience with a hint of mystery.
Hearing Angie's lecture on User Experience was helpful in solidifying how we wanted the experience of coming to our booth to be like. It became important to think of details including what our table would look like and what we would look like in order to make everything compliment what we were serving. Because we chose to make hot chocolate, we decided we wanted our booth to have a cozier theme. This meant we would have chairs in front of our table that guests to sit in to enjoy their drink.
At first, we thought we might be able to offer more than one kind of hot chocolate but after discussion, we realized simpler was better. It was also important that we keep the amount of garnishes to a minimum. It seemed more exciting to have more than just two options for each component of the hot chocolate, but having so many options would have been too complex. The process of organizing our dish was made difficult by the amount of people we were expected to serve. Although the servings were to be small, knowing that 70-100 people would be trying our dish made planning more of a challenge.
Then we tested making garnishes! We wanted to have interesting combinations. Diane was a huge help in the planning of our garnishes. She was super knowledgable about ingredients that would work well no matter what the combination was.
After getting some feedback from class, we had all of our ideas set. There would be three simple, two-possible-answer questions that participants would answer as they walked along the table. This would keep everything moving quickly and efficiently. Our final components for the hot chocolate were as follows:
dark hot chocolate
rims of either crushed graham cracker or crushed pretzel
a peppermint or milk stout marshmallow
a garnish of either candied orange peel or a sprig of candied thyme
We decided to decorate our booth with winter-y things. Cue snowflakes and and glitter and fake snow!
The actual event proved to be successful. Because we were placed a little separate from the other booths, it was interesting to see how people reacted to our table. They seemed to be confused either because we were so far from the others and because there was no visible food on the table. However, the element of mystery and surprise seemed intriguing to our guests. Many wanted to know what they would have gotten had they answered differently, some tried peeking to make sure they liked what they were getting, and some tried to make their friends answer similarly to them.
Popular combination for men = salty (late night snack), stout (saturday at the pub), and thyme (vacation in the mountains)
Popular combination for women = sweet (late night snack), peppermint (saturday watching movies), and orange (vacation at the beach)
Positive comments on our booth included the fact that people liked that the ingredients were made evident and special because the questions pertained to each individual component. That made them appreciate and think about each ingredient separately from the rest.