Coffee Exchange

Designed a mobile app where store owners can buy coffee beans from farmers


Researcher & Designer working with developers and product manager


4 months


Created a platform that the CEO used to successfully get sponsorship for the company. Increased users and positive feedback for each time the company reached out to potential clients.

The Problem to Solve

Coffee Exchange is a startup that connects coffee producers directly with coffee store owners. My job this internship was to create a mobile platform via WeChat Mini Program that can connect the two sides of business together by increasing trust with the transparency of information.

Coffee Exchange's original App design - they created an app with just enough features to buy and sell coffee

Desk Research

​I researched how common e-commerce websites such as Taobao and Etsy provided information regarding their products. Stores were upfront with personal information, background and bios, as well as goods production quality. The transparency of products and store owners created a sense of trust.

Notes I took on existing stores to present to the project manager on what we can learn from for our own app

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User Research

I surveyed current users on their values in buying coffee through the marketing team. I found out that they were promised a the potential of a personal relationship with farmers to do business with, but it was difficult with the app. Farmers then wish to have returning, regular customers.

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Ideation and Prototyping

In order to create a sense of reliability, each product will display unique details and information regarding the product that would help guide the user's decision. Secondly, details about individual farmers and their farms will also be displayed to provide a more interpersonal and close relationship between the farmers and buyers.

Originally, I intended for buyers to be able to directly contact the farmers via the app, and that  farmers can send test samples or discounts to different buyers if necessary (this was something the farmers said they wished to be able to do). Buyers can even rate the beans they bought, and "follow" a farmer so they can receive updates on the products they are selling. However, these features won't be implemented in version 2.0 of the app because of its complexity in correspondence to the current state of the company.

Some of my sketches and lofi prototype

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User Testings

Due to language barriers and time zone difference, I wasn't able to receive direct feedback and present to the farmers we worked with. However, I was able to present to the higher-ups in my company. One feedback I received is that although my ideas would work to achieve the company's values, they are very complicated to implement for the "version 2" of the app. I had to simplify the app. Secondly, buyers most likely wanted to see tracking/shipping information of bean bags, so that they can follow when is the best time to buy their beans.

Final UI

Final design features include:

  1. Ability to search for specific farmers based on location, season of harvest, and flavors
  2. Farmers get a chance to showcase their farm/farming stories and experience. Coffee store owners also get to deepen their understanding of the farm.
  3. Photos, photos, photos! The more photos, the more "real" the farmers become! 
  4. Coffee tracking - where stocks currently are depending on harvest.


I was happy to hear from my boss that I was on the right track, but unfortunately, my ideas couldn't all be implemented due to cost budget and time. If I had more time and less constraints, I would love to create a bigger platform - with chat features, samples, and the ability to follow farm posts and status updates. During this internship, as the only designer, I learned how to communicate with higher ups to advocate for my ideas with research and evidence.