Interactive Cocktail Visualization

Has it ever happened to you, to be in a cocktail bar, read the cocktail catalogue again and again and not being able to remember or decide which cocktail you’d want to drink? Have you ever asked the bartender for a suggestion saying that you’d like to drink something fruity, or sour or creamy..or something with rum or gin? Well…it happens to me every time I try to order a cocktail! There’s so much information about the ingredients of a cocktail that makes it very hard to put each cocktail in a flavor category. That’s why categorizing cocktails and visualizing them somehow was the perfect subject for that project in Information Visualization!

This project in keywords:

information visualization, paper prototyping, iterative prototyping, sketching

What I did:

After doing a first research on the most representative cocktails, we selected 40 recipes to work with. We wanted to categorize the cocktails in a chart in a way that their base-alcohol and the mixers (like juice, soda, sugar etc.) were all included in the chart. We started with a first attempt in a lo-fi prototype, which led into a second and third lo-fi paper prototype. After many hours of paper prototyping, observing and comparing prototypes, categorizing in different ways and piles of paper we finalized our design in a final prototype. The final version is an interactive paper board, separated in concentric circles to represent the different alcohol bases and different sectors to represent different mixers. Every cocktail has a place on the board depending on its alcohol base and its combination of mixers. A special moving piece – the “Alcohol Tie” – that goes around the board makes the “navigation” on the cocktail board easier and more playful for the desperate and confused cocktail bar visitor!

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Stan Ackerman’s Institute – User System Interaction, Eindhoven, The Netherlands


In this project I worked with Sasha Pozdnyakova and Prina Bajracharya under the supervision of Robert Spence.