Authentic Behaviors. Intoxicating Insights.

Drinking Counts: Nike+ FuelBand and Drunk Activity Tracking

A year ago, we would have never tested an activity-tracking device on a drunk subject. Until the release of Nike+ FuelBand, most personal metrics tools were confined to exercise. Today, Nike encourages FuelBand users to track everything from washing dishes to walking dogs, providing targets and tallies.

So why not track drunken activities? Certainly the inebriated are still working toward daily Fuel goals, even if their movements aren’t always in a straight line. In today’s research we’ve asked Dan, a 24-year old barn manager living in Maine, to try out FuelBand after several rounds of drinks. Dan has an active career, exercises frequently and maintains semi-vague fitness goals. It was a spirited assignment with moments of clarity and confusion.


  • The FuelBand was sleek and inviting, although the setup and display were perplexing.
  • Emails, accounts and passwords were NOT appreciated, as Dan just wanted to get moving.
  • Dan never quite figured out what the points were measuring, but seemed to enjoy trying.
  • The post-activity reporting was disappointing. Dan would’ve appreciated less data and more encouragement.


Keep the experience, from setup to reporting, paced to match the impatience of a typical drunk user. Too much time setting up accounts, figuring out devices and interpreting tracking infographics will put your drunk customers to activity-free sleep in no time.


Social Drinking: MySpace After Five Bourbons

The statistics about drinking and online social networks are telling. 76% of British Facebook users are tipsy in their photos. 80% in the U.S. are drunk when using Facebook after 9PM. 95% of active Twitter users can’t remember anything they’ve tweeted on Saturday nights. We wonder why social networks bother to test designs on anyone BUT drunk users.

In today’s research we asked Matt, an active Facebook user, to try out the new MySpace after 5 bourbon and ginger ales. Despite the blurred vision, occasional UX problems and noticeable gassiness, he found the site to be a welcome update to the MySpace he’d abandoned years before.


  • The new design was “slick” and a “way different experience”.
  • The UX glitches didn’t get it in the way of the frequent moments of delight.
  • Searching was hard for Matt to figure out, but “fucking cool” once he did.
  • While mixes and profile songs were difficult to create, profiles were fun.


We have a sneaking suspicion the creators of MySpace were already thinking about drunk users when designing the updated interface. There are still some UX hurdles but, as long as their usability labs are well stocked, the site should be drunk-friendly in no time.


Windows 8: Operating Under the Influence

Following the release of Windows 8, we wasted no time in trying out Microsoft’s new operating system on a drunken subject. Jennifer, a 40-year-old mother of 2, is an active consumer of PCs, software and alcohol. She agreed to sit down with us the afternoon following the product’s launch to share her thoughts on Windows 8, all while imbibing several rounds of her favorite tequila.


  • The Start screen was overwhelming. The tiles’ functions, fonts and photos were unclear.
  • She searched in vain for conventions, often punching the Esc key to no avail.
  • She resented the omnipresence of Microsoft properties, like IE and Bing, referencing “Big Brother” and “Ass”.
  • She frequently expressed a feeling of being trapped, powerless and “in retreat”.

Any new operating system will be difficult for a first time user, whether drunk, sober or just a bit slow. It is possible Jennifer will eventually learn how to use the software. But it is doubtful that, even the morning after, she’ll ever fully recover from her initial impression of Windows 8 as a confusing buzzkill.


Cocktails and Customization: Drinking and Online Sneaker Design Apps

In today’s post, we’ll look at a recent interview we did with Samantha, a 21-year old pharmacist from Rhode Island who likes horses, clothes and mixed drinks. She also loves shopping online, an activity she often finds herself doing in the evening, often after a few too many.

We invited Samantha to several rounds of cocktails and asked her to visit three web sites that offer sneaker customization: Vans, Converse and Nike. The results were interesting. Despite her familiarity with the web and her strong sense of style, she struggled with the various interfaces and options. Was it the alcohol? The site design? Or both?


  • Too many options frustrated her.
  • Pre-designed sneakers were “butt ugly” and annoying.
  • Fonts smaller than 14 pts were “really, really teeny”.
  • Not enough options frustrated her.
  • At several points, she became very sad and wanted guidance.
  • “Stupid” options frustrated her. Overall she had issues with options.
  • Nike presented the fewest challenges, albeit this was tested toward the end of the evening after the most alcohol imbibed.


Overly complex interfaces take the joy out of drinking and designing, an activity that should be fun. Skip the bloated feature set in favor of a simple, yet highly customizable, set of options and you’ll convert more buzzed browsers into satisfied sneaker owners.