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The coffee analogy of UX design

This analogy gives an example of what UX design could be. As you know, an analogy is not the complete truth. The personas (Eileen, Linda and Brandon) used in this analogy are just examples and made up by me. Read more about personas and how we use them:

The QlikView Journey

Personas in UX Design

So maybe you’ve heard of the Kano model which is a theory for user satisfaction..? If not, google it and you’ll find plenty of diagrams. Basically it says that there are some basic needs that our users expect us to meet, but it’s the “exciters” that will make our users truly delighted. The users may not have asked for such “exciters”, but once in their hands they love it.

When Eileen, Linda and Brandon decide to have a cup of coffee, they probably have the same basic expectations: it should kind of taste like coffee and it should be hot. For Eileen, the taste might not be crucial, all she wants is caffeine and she wants it now. She is happy with instant coffee prepared in her own office. Linda has slightly higher demands; she drinks several cups a day by her desk. She is happy using the coffee machine near her cubicle and she’s perfectly fine with that as long as the machine works.

Brandon wants his coffee to taste really good. He wants more than the regular coffee provided in the machines. He goes to the local coffee shop at lunch.

Then one day, Eileen, Linda and Brandon find a new, top-of-the-line coffee maker in their office kitchenette. There is also a coffee grinder and beans. Someone has brewed them fresh coffee with such a fantastic taste that Eileen usually only enjoys at breakfast on Saturday mornings, that Linda did not even knew existed, and that Brandon now has access to in his office.

For Eileen, it was such a delight that someone had prepared for her what she really wanted and with no extra time or hassle.

For Linda, it was such a delight to discover what “real” coffee tastes like.

And for Brandon, it was such a delight to be able to drink really good coffee together with his colleagues. Brandon now brings different kind of beans, so that everybody gets to try different roast flavors. After all, sharing is caring

So how can this be translated into UX design? Well, first of all, whenever we're designing a QlikView app, a QlikView extension or a new generation of the QlikView platform, we need to accomplish a hygiene level that our users expect. Hygiene features refer to basic operations that the users must be able to do in order to complete their tasks, complying to standard interaction techniques, factors that facilitate learnability etc. If done well, the hygiene features won’t even be noticed because it just works. On the other hand, when poorly done, users will notice them because they cause frustration or dissatisfaction.

But to offer our users a world class experience, we need to turn our innovation, passion and leading-edge technology into really useful, nifty solutions that will make our users go “wow”! In order to do this, we need to truly understand the driving forces and contexts of our users. So you could say that UX design is about being the users’ advocate, being someone who realizes that Eileen, Linda and Brandon needed a Moccamaster.


Contributor III

Nicely worded. 


great analogy and with alot of experience with requirements gathering the KANO model is fantastic. I think the important thing in regards to UX is identify and understand that the wow factors to set us apart. However the must have items or expected items are crucial to ensure that there is a foundation for the exciters to be built upon. In this analogy it is the coffee machine not only makes coffee but continues to do so day in and day out. The machine needs to be robust.

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vey well link QV with coffee .

Valued Contributor

very well written..