Real-Time Occupancy Tracker for Cafe

A simple way to figure out the atmosphere, amenities and crowdedness of cafes nearby, including live stream video and audio to give comprehensive experience


Everyone have had experienced unabling to stay at a cafe because the cafe had no seats, too loud, or just didn't have enough outlets to charge their laptops. Current existing platforms like Yelp or Google search do not give enough insight on the specifics about a cafe.


When choosing a cafe, the atmosphere and seating occupancy are the most important factors. However, getting to know these factors are currently nearly impossible without physically going to a cafe.


We designed a mobile application that enables people to see live stream videos and audios of the inside of a cafe so that they can be informed of how a cafe really is.

Timeline : Jan 2017 - May 2017
Team : Tina Park, Ji Young Ahn
My Role : Product Designer
  • Led design process, including developing screen maps and wireframes.
  • Generated hi-fi prototype and interactive prototype

Product Overview

How does Crowdy work?

Glance at different cafes near you with live-video feeds

'Home' shows a feed of 10-second videos of each cafe nearby, which is updated every 15 minutes. Users can bookmark cafes, and share the information with friends. The little arrow on the right side drops down and reveals all the information needed for people who go to cafes to study and have meetings.

Find out about a cafe that best suits your needs and wants

'Filter' allows the user to filter out cafes that don't meet their needs. In the filter, user can choose amenities like Pet friendly, Power Outlets, Wi-fi, or Quiet environment. After the user saves the filters, the feed will be rearranged.

Understand the atmosphere of a cafe of your choosing

From our research, we discovered that users are most interested in knowing whether the cafe is great for socializing, studying, or meetings. We included the real-time sounds of the cafe to better inform users.As the user scrolls down, multiple videos will be playing at once. A video will only play sound when it is tapped, and if tapped again, the sound will stop.

Quickly share cafe's information to your friends

The share button allows the user to send the cafe's information and location to her friends in case she wants to invite them to study together.

User Flowchart

Audience of Crowdy


He wants to do his work in a cafe. He wants to find a place with power outlets to charge his laptop while he studies.


She wants to find places that is quiet and not too busy to work. She wants to be able to check if the atmosphere is suitable for her.

Why Crowdy?

Quickly find out about the environment and the ambience of a cafe

Currently, the best way to find out about real-time ambience and the environment of a cafe is to physically go there. However, Crowdy allows cafe customers to find out specifics about a cafe quickly in real-time.

Accommodating different needs

Some customer may want just seats to hangout with friends or to have a short meeting. Some customers may want power outlets over comfortable seating. Crowdy helps users to find out what they need the most and filters the options.

Our Process

Understanding the cafe environment

Cafe's crowdedness and atmosphere constantly changes

Even when a use goes to the same cafe, the crowdedness constantly changes depending on which hours, which days, or changes even by community events. There are many factors that affect the crowdedness of a cafe.

A table is mostly for one customer

Mostly, people are not comfortable with sharing a table with strangers, even though it is usable by 4 people at once. There are many empty chairs that are not being used

Pain points of finding suitable cafe

The cafe environment constantly changes

Over-customized EHR makes it difficult for Allscripts to provide continuous support, such as providing solutions for usability problems, providing training for new employees, causing client dissatisfaction.

Lack of amenities makes it hard to stay long in a cafe

EHR usage data can inform valuable information for providing supports to clients. However, data is underutilized and not fully surfaced in the Allscripts management system.

Every customer has different preference of the environment

It is difficult to gather all stakeholders in the same place to make decisions. Lack of communication between the physicians and IT technicians causes poor decisions to be made.

Finding out about cafe customers in Korea

We conducted a short survey in order to better understand people's cafe experiences in Korea.
Questions in the survey were:

We interviewed total of 43 people (20 - 30 years old) 
18 out of 43 responded "lack of seating and tables"
7 out of 43 responded "overly loud music and environment" as their biggest inconveniences.

On average, those who chose "lack of seating and tables" rated the inconvenience 4.48 out of 7.
Their responses to dealing with the problem included:

Finding out about cafe customers in the US

Since the initial survey was directed towards a foreign crowd, we interviewed several people from the United States to see if their cafe experiences were similar. We talked to 17 people living within the United States.
(5 from New York, 10 from Pittsburgh, 2 from Boston)

12 out of 17 people mentioned:

Interview insights

The surveys and interviews helped us gather information about people's value
and thoughts regarding cafe environments.

Deep-hangout research to find out about cafe environment

We gained a lot of insight from having conversations with people who enjoy cafes. However, to further understand the responses from our interviews and surveys, we decided to visit cafes ourselves and " deep-hangout" as a group. We visited total of twelve different cafes, for at least an hour each. We recorded the day and time we were at each cafe, and noted the things we found intriguing.

Competitive Analysis

One of the interviewees mentioned that she researches cafes before leaving her house, because most of the cafes nearby are usually full. This talk inspired us to search for websites and mobile applications that help customers find places to work. We analyzed the features, strengths, and weaknesses of these applications in order to decide which are helpful or inefficient.

Ideation : Functions

After going through the features of other mobile platforms and insights from our research, we listed the main functions that we would need. We based these functions off the values we determined from our research.

Possible Technologies

We researched existing technologies that we could implement. Listed below are a few of the technologies that we explored, that could distinguish whether seatings were occupied or available.

Thermal Imaging to figure out how many people are in the room

Color Detection Technology (from the top) to determine which tables and chairs are being used

Pressure Sensor placed on chairs to provide an accurate number of chairs currently being used

Beacon Technology to keep track of when customers arrive or leave the cafe

Initial Concept

Idea 1

A top-down view of the cafe allows the user to have a vivid idea of how the cafe looks, and how the seatings are arranged.


Privacy of the customers is not protected. Also users cannot see the atmosphere and noise levels of the cafe.

Idea 1

User can see the location of the cafe and see how the tables and chairs are being used.


Pressure sensor needs to be installed on every chair. And users cannot see the atmosphere and noise levels of the cafe.

Initial Testing with Paper Prototypes

Paper prototypes were used in order to confirm that our software meets the user's expectations and needs. The users were given a scenario and we closely observed how they performed and reacted. Our goal was to have almost no conversation with the user so that if they got stuck, then we would know which parts to improve.


While observing people use the application, we realized that the floor plan graphic would be too binomial.
We wanted the interaction to be more fun and interactive.

Taking a step back to find inspiration

Taking a step back to talk to more peers about their studying habits and daily routines greatly inspired us to dive into other creative methods. Below, you can find the three services that especially intrigued us.

'Coffee Shop Background Noise
for Studying' playlist

From talking to an interviewee, we found out that she focuses better with background noise. When she is studying in her room and it gets too quiet, she would play a Youtube playlist made up of cafe-background noises. Talking to her helped me discover that some people may also want to know how loud a cafe is.

NYC Live Cam

Another interviewee from New York noted that that she often checks the 'Times Square Live Cams' before leaving the house, to see if she's wearing the appropriate clothes for the weather.

Arriving at our Final Concept

We created wireframes to accommodate insights from our research and previous user testing. We focused on showing real-time atmosphere and environments as quick as possible so users can glance through the choices to decide.

Check out my other projects!

Project Melo

Key Echo