Case Study: BarGlance

The one stop shop for all things nightlife

  • Lead Designer
    3 months

  • 2023

BarGlance hero


Going out often involves juggling multiple apps to find the ideal spot, coordinate with friends, and arrange transportation. And once you arrive... it’s not always what you imagined it would be. Maybe it’s a lot more crowded than you expected, or it’s karaoke night and you’re still scarred from the last time your friend took the stage.

BarGlance identified a market opportunity to create an app designed specifically for nightlife. After creating and validating an MVP on their own, they approached DEPT® to create a new version that could be more easily scaled to other cities. I was assigned as the design lead for this engagement.

Project goals

  1. Make the app scaleable to other cities, move away from using live cameras
  2. Make it easier to find the best bars
  3. Improve the look and feel of the interface

Problems to solve

  1. How might we communicate what’s happening in a bar without the use of live cameras?
  2. How might we make sure this can’t be used for stalking or harassment?
  3. How might we generate revenue with in-app advertisements and partnerships?

Our starting point

BarGlance previously relied on live camera feeds to give indication to users about what a bar is like. While this accomplished the goal of showing what a bar is like, it wasn’t a scalable solution.

Original version of BarGlanceOriginal version of BarGlanceOriginal version of BarGlanceOriginal version of BarGlanceOriginal version of BarGlance

Solving for scalability

User generated content was our hypothesis for what should eventually replace live video feeds. This addresses goals of increasing engagement, showcasing authentic experiences, and promoting usage of social features.

To prevent spam, I designed it so that people must post from the app while in a bar. Using intelligent suggestions based on location, I made this process (mostly) automatic.

BarGlance posting experienceBarGlance posting experienceBarGlance posting experienceBarGlance posting experience

Helping people find the right bar

The map underwent the most iterations during the limited time I had on this engagement. It was challenging to avoid the temptation of showing everything at once—friends, popular neighborhoods, bars, crowd levels, and user content which quickly becomes overwhelming. The end result was a series of compromises, but the goal of the map is to show the popular neighborhoods, represented by a heat map, and bars, shown with traditional pins. Other characteristics are highlighted once you’ve selected a bar.

The major piece missing from this experience is a search feature, which was unfortunately cut due to budget constraints.

BarGlance mapping experienceBarGlance mapping experienceBarGlance mapping experienceBarGlance mapping experience

Privacy and safety

This app handles lots of location data, so privacy is paramount. To start, a person’s location is only visible to friends they’ve added. Additionally, a person is only visible if they are currently in a bar and have allowed others to see it. They can change these visibility settings at any time. We never show someone’s actual coordinates.

Barglance privacy settingsBarglance privacy settingsBarglance privacy settingsBarglance privacy settings

Generating revenue

Ads sprinkled throughout the experience recoup operating costs. To keep them unobtrusive, they only appear in content feeds alongside similar posts and they are skippable. On the back end, we leverage a user’s favorite drinks captured during onboarding as a way to make advertisements more relevant.

Barglance onboarding - asking for your favorite drinksBarglance advertisement exampleBarglance advertisement example

Dark mode

It’s a nightlife app, it needed a dark mode.

Barglance dark mode exampleBarglance dark mode exampleBarglance dark mode exampleBarglance dark mode example

Results & takeaways

  1. Substantial increase in new user activations and activity
  2. Now available in all major cities in the U.S.
  3. App store rating increased by 15%

Other projects