top of page


4 Weeks


Me, myself, and I


User Research,

Interaction Design,
Visual Design,

3D Design

The new Starbucks Self-serve Solution is a cross-platform product feature that provides a seamless experience for users to enjoy freshly brewed coffee at the airport.

The product is aiming to reduce customers' waiting time, save labor cost, improve order accuracy, and elevate Starbucks customer experience by providing a 24/7 available self-service coffee booth to Starbucks customers at the airport.



The outcome

My design outcome includes new app features added to the current Starbucks Mobile App, as well as a Starbucks coffee booth 3D design that works together to provide a convenient self-serve solution to Starbucks customers.

The interaction and video effects were made in Figma and After Effects.

The coffee machine and coffee booth 3D models are designed, modeled and rendered using Cinema 4D.

Take a look at the coffee machine I designed and modeled for Starbucks using 3D softwares:



69% of the US population has the habit of drinking coffee everyday, even when they are traveling. However, when coffee shops close at night, it is impossible for travelers to get a hot fresh coffee anywhere.

This product wants to change the status quo and act as a helpful bridge by providing an easy-to-use and time-saving coffee self-serve solution in the airport.


Current Products

I researched the most common methods how people get a coffee from the airport, including through Starbucks shops, Starbucks mobile pre order, and Assorted Beverages vending machine.

Frame 2.png


Understand the user

In order to understand potential user painpoints and needs, I started with field engagement by observing airport coffee customers. I also did an online survey and held 6 interviews with travelers to gain in-depth qualitative responses regarding the key aspects of their experience with purchasing coffee at an airport.

My goals are:

1. understand how customers make purchasing decision at an airport
2. discorver elements that customers care most about about when buy a coffee
(time, brand, quality, taste, price)
3. uncover pain points and product opportunities


Alexa Young, PA

“When we have an early morning flight, there are three long lines you’ll need to stand in: Bag Drop, TSA Checkpoint and Starbucks."

Morgan James, IL

"I felt totally guilty because I cut the line of a bunch of people through using the mobile to preorder at 5 am."

Tanvi Ganu, PA

“I noticed people will do mobile orders before getting thru TSA. Unfortunately their order will be 30 minutes old.”


Key findings


​1. Familiarity/past experience, steady good quality and value for money are the top 3 motivations mentioned about why people choose certain brand.

"Starbucks is a brand I'm familiar with, it's a chain so its prices and quality are guaranteed. So why should I go to a new brand that I haven't tried and has the risk of being a wrong choice?"

2. Not being able to find Starbucks easily, also having to wait for long time, are the main two reason people give up buying a coffee from an airport cafe.

"The airport is so large and confusing that sometimes I can't find a Starbucks, and sometimes I need to take a detour to get there, then I won't buy one."

3. Starbucks app can’t tell pick-up time correctly, and customers tend to not use pre-order function.

"I don’t know which cup is for me and I also don’t want to go check on every cup’s tag."

4. Convenience, brand and price are regarded as most important to travelers to consider about purchasing a coffee at the airport.

        "I don’t care about taste. Black coffee taste the same so Americano can’t go wrong."

How might we create a feature for Starbucks App that enables customers to improve their purchasing experience at an airport?


Why Starbucks?

After synthesizing all the research results, I decided to narrow down my MVP into creating a new feature for Starbucks App and help customers at the airport improve their purchasing experience.

I chose to do Starbucks brand because of its large user base, consistently high-quality product and service, and a recent new technology invented by the alliance of Starbucks and Nestle that aims to facilitate self-service in places such as hotels and offices.

Image by TR

Top 1

Starbucks is the world's largest coffeehouse chain. It is the #1 brand mentioned by consumers when they think of coffee.

Image by Guilherme Stecanella


of Starbucks customers use the mobile app to pay in store, order ahead, manage rewards stars or view menu.
Starbucks App provides a large and increasing users base.
Image by Hamza Inayat


Starbucks have opened more than 280 stores at 78 airports in the U.S. and Canada.



Frame 8.png
Frame 9.png

Pain Points

  • Customers have to wait long time before making an order

  • Customers are not able to buy a hot coffee during night

  • Quality and order accuracy are not ensured due to high order volume

User Needs

  • A better purchasing experience that reduces waiting time

  • I can buy a freshly brewed coffee at time at the airport, even at night

  • I want my coffee always taste the same good

Design Insights

  • Speed up task to reduce waiting time

  • 24/7 available self-serve machines could be a viable option

  • Decrease the manual process which causes human error


My Solution

The first things I want to solve are the lack of access to fresh coffee and the long waiting time. So a 24/7 available self-serve coffee machine with a pre-order mobile app could be a viable option.

And for those people whose orders get mixed up or wrongly picked by someone else. A pickup code might be helpful. Besides, for users who don’t have access to the app or don’t have the data at a transit airport, they also can place an order in some way.



To determine the flow of this cross platform product,  I asked myself well what is the main point of this feature, what is the easiest way for users to finish the task, since they are in a very busy and crowded environment.


The overall goal is they make a purchase, receive a code and use this code to check in at the kiosk by themselves. And for those users without the mobile app, they will also be able to make a quick order by interacting with the kiosk. 


Usability Testing

After completing the low-fidelity prototypes. I invited a few participants to attend my usability testing process, and gave them representative tasks to perform and asked them to think aloud their actions, issues encountered and any concerns they may have while using the prototypes.