Running the Baseline: The Basic User Experience Process

One question I see discussed on many UX forums is one that new professionals have a hard time understanding– what, exactly, is a baseline UX process?  Regardless of what you’re working on, what are the steps that every UX professional should, as a general rule, take to ensure that they are touching all of their bases to ensure a quality final product?

The problem is that everyone has a different take on this process.   Although I’m not any different, but I do have my own process that has worked well for me for some time. My ideal process has six basic steps to it.

  1. Iterate
  2. Design
  3. Develop
  4. QA
  5. Implement
  6. Back to step 1.

Look a lot like a basic design process? That’s because it really is. Almost by definition, the job of a UX Engineer is to provide the right kind of support to the development/QA/leadership teams at different steps along the way. Here’s a quick rundown of how I approach each of these steps.

1. Iterate

Nothing’s better than a little brainstorming. I always try to spend a few hours in the morning gathering ideas from different sources, even if they’re ideas for something that isn’t a current project or doesn’t yet exist within our ecosystem. I’ll cruise Twitter, read UI/UX blogs, check out Dribbble, and spend a little bit of time doodling ideas on my whiteboard. Very often I’ll find myself dragging in a developer, manager, marketeer, or some other team member into my cube to give me feedback or thoughts on a piece I’ve frankensteined on my whiteboard. Often I’m creating a steaming load of poo that can’t be used, but every now and then we come up with an idea good enough with which to move forward.

This is in addition to being the one who’s dragged into different meetings to provide my two cents. Very often the life of a UX Engineer revolves around giving spot opinions on topics with little or no notice. This is a skill to hone, but one you’ll get better at as time goes on.

Also key in this process is getting an idea of the business needs behind a particular project. Speaking with business owners about the business needs behind projects in the works really helps me get an understanding of what a particular project is supposed to accomplish.

All sorts of other things could go on here. Building user personas. Gathering/examining analytics to determine pain points or deadends. Direct interaction with users, feedback forms, scripted user testing. All of these methods could help me get an idea of what needs to be done next in our product.

2. Design

Once I’ve been drawn into a particular project, I’ll begin the design process.

The first step is always to build a Low-Fidelity (LoFi) design that can be easily changed or adjusted as new feedback comes in.  This can be doing anything from more whiteboarding sessions to sitting down with graph paper and hand drawing something out.  As more information comes in, changing these types of designs is easy and inexpensive from a manpower perspective.

Once I feel confident that I have all of the business requirements figured out and have a good working LoFi prototype, I’ll continue on by firing up Photoshop or a prototyper tool like JustInMind to do something more in-depth (known as a HiFi Design).

My goal is usually to have a very solid, interactive design ready for my developers by the time we get to anything approaching backlog grooming (or similar ritual in non-Kanban environemtns). Not only does this ensure that I’ve given my developers a great chance at success as they can visualize a design that may otherwise be a bit more abstract, but it also puts to rest a lot of the design bickering that often happens among the development team.

It’s important to note that I also prefer to do a fair bit of user testing at this point. I’ll bring in business partners to review designs, bring in clients to do A/B testing or provide feedback on mocked up screens, and if I’m able to get a really good mockup created, maybe even do some scripted user testing to ensure that my designs are intuitive.

In reality, probably 95% of my active work is done by the time I’m handing this piece off to my developers. My role shifts drastically from design to support and testing in the last three steps.

3. Develop

During the development process, I should ideally be supporting our developers by answering questions and providing clarity on my designs.  This is far less of a hands-on approach than in steps 1 and 2.

I also like to have a demo presented for me by the developers so I can confirm that look, feel, and functionality mirror my designs and business requirements before the project is handed off to a quality assurance team as any changes made post-handoff are much more expensive to make.

4. QA

As development comes to a close and the project is handed off to QA, support remains my main objective.  I also prefer to get one final demo prior to deployment to ensure all is ready-to-go.

5. Implement

Post-implementation, I’ll usually help by checking to ensure that the deployed design looks, feels, and functions correctly on a basic level.  I’ll also do user testing as soon as possible after deployment to get good feedback and lead…

6. Back to step 1.

In an iterative world, creation is, quite literally, the alpha and the omega. Nothing is ever truly “finished.” As soon as a feature is rolled out, I’ll begin collecting and analyzing data to see how we can make it better. I’ll cruise Twitter, read UI/UX blogs, check out Dribbble, and spend a little bit of time doodling ideas on my whiteboard.

Inevitably, there’s always something to do.

I’m sure my process is very different from others, especially considering my industry and team. Ask 10 different UX professionals, and you’ll get 10 different answers on this question.

What is your baseline UX process?

Leadership & Mentoring in the UX World

I hang out (probably more than I should) on UX Mastery’s great forums.  It’s a great way to network with different professionals in the world, and to try and help anyone who might need a hand on anything from real-world UX issues to help getting into the industry.

Today, one user in particular posed a few questions about leadership and mentoring within the UX world that I found particularly interesting.


That got me thinking about my role in the UX universe as a whole.  Admittedly, my influence is minimal compared to the titans of the industry, but that doesn’t mean I don’t play a part in any way.  How would I answer these questions?

After a bit of thought, I decided to chime in and give the best response I could.

@HAWK is right– true leaders prefer to be acknowledged by their peers rather than self-declared. That said, I’ll do what I can to answer your questions.

1) My thoughts:

i.) The web design industry, as a whole, does not have a good understanding of the difference and value propositions focusing on both user interface and user experience. While the two are often related, they are also often confused. Muddying the waters is the fact that many professionals in our industry are asked to perform a variety of functions that, ideally, would either be performed by both a UI and a UX professional. The crossover is negating some of the gains of having two separate teams focusing on different elements of each. To get a feel for the difference and why it’s important, please feel free to check out my blog post on the subject. Educating young professionals and corporate leadership on the difference is one way I work to negate the impact of this issue.

ii.) Many professionals come to the UX industry from a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences. In truth, you don’t have to be a good technology professional to be a good UX’er– you need to have a passion for solving problems, a drive for improvement, and the ability and empathy to see things from your users’ perspectives. As a result, UX professionals come from a variety of backgrounds. Here on UX Mastery, we have architects, engineers, journalists, and a variety of other professionals.

This is both a strength of the industry, as it means we have a wide variety of valuable and interesting skill sets to draw from, but it’s also a detriment in that many look to get into the UX industry without having a common skill set. Furthermore, the skill set employers ask for is often at odds with the value of the skills of a potential employee could offer.

Defining that skill set and working to create a common conception of what basic skills a UX’er should possess before getting into different areas of the business is one of the reasons I’m here on UX Mastery. I personally had careers as a sports journalist, freelance web developer, digital sign developer, restaurant server, retail manager, call center phone jockey, and corporate trainer before I finally settled into this career. Each job taught me something valuable to my UX career, and I feel that I have a lot to offer the community at large. I’m here on UX Mastery offering my experience and thoughts in every way possible to try and lessen the impact of gaps in knowledge or experience within the community.

iii.) The wide variety of technology requiring UX focus, along with the variety of different roles a UX’er might pursue, make finding a niche difficult for many people. Simply put, there’s a lot of opportunities out there in the UX world at the moment. Different people might be more well-suited to different careers at different points in time.

As an example, I’m currently mentoring a really great young professional who’s trying to get his foot into the UX world. His background is in the financial world, where he interacts with customers and provides technical support on a daily basis. Due to his relative newness to the industry, his affinity for statistics, and his excellent people skills, I’m guiding him towards exploring a career as a UX Researcher, a career very different from a UX Designer or Engineer role.

By providing online and in-person mentoring, I’m doing what I can to help new professionals build their skills and find their niche. My hope is this will, in some small way, help to eliminate this barrier to entry for many who would be well-suited to the UX world.

2.) Being successful and being a leader are two very different things. Some of the most successful people I know are people who merely follow orders to a T, providing excellent execution of the ideas and thoughts of others. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this. I merely use it as an example of how the two aren’t necessarily correlated.

To be successful, I’d recommend anyone looking to get into the world of UX do three things– build the basic skills required of every UX professional, find a niche within the industry to focus on, and to find ways to get practical, real-world experience.

I talk a bit about the first two points in my answer to your first question, but when it comes to building real-world experience it can often be difficult to find opportunities to which you can contribute. @seyonwind, perhaps, can provide some insight into some ways to get some good experience ahead of trying to enter the industry full-time as his work ethic and diligence in volunteering for UX-related projects and causes is apparent to all who know him, online or not. My advice is to work on your own projects, to volunteer for open source projects, or offer your skills to charity ( is a great place to start.)

To be a leader, it’s imperative that you seek to serve the industry in any way you can. For different people, that means different things. For me, it means hanging out in places like this and answering questions for the interested and inquisitive individuals like you. For others, it takes the shape of volunteering their services to nonprofits, blogging on the subject of UX, and providing mentoring services for young professionals.

3.) Who knows where UX growth will come from in the next 3-5 years? One of my favorite areas that hasn’t had much discussion, but will need a lot of UX attention, will be in self-driving cars and related applications. Tesla right now is leading the world in this area, but major and minor players alike will create quite a bit of competition as they enter the industry. That means more specific UX jobs for the industry.

4.) In general, corporate leadership will need the ability to better understand the value proposition of investing in user experience. At the moment, it feels like a bit of a reaction to buzzwords rather than true understanding of the UX professional and their value that’s driving the UX industry.

I hope that helps! Apologies for any typos– I’m hammering this out before a meeting and not giving it my usual once-over before I post as said meeting starts in just a minute or two. Let me know if I can clarify anything or provide any additional context :slight_smile:

What do you think the challenges that UX as a whole will face in the coming years?

Featured Article: Native Apps are Doomed

By Eric Elliott for

From now on, I won’t be building any more native apps. All my apps going forward will be progressive web apps. Progressive web apps are web applications which are designed to work even more seamlessly on mobile devices than native mobile apps.

What do I mean by “more seamlessly?” I mean that most web traffic comes from mobile devices, and that users install between 0–3 new apps per month, on average. That means that people aren’t spending a lot of time looking for new apps to try out in the app store, but they are spending lots of time on the web, where they might discover and use your app.

Progressive web applications start out just like any other web app, but when a user returns to the app and demonstrates through usage that they’re interested in using the app more regularly, browsers will invite the user to install the app to their home screens. PWA’s can also benefit from push notifications, like native apps.

Read the full article at

Three Great Fall Hikes Near Denver

When fall begins to roll in, it means that hiking season is quickly coming to a close. With a beautiful weather forecast for the weekend, now’s the time to get in one last good hike for the season. Here are three parks close to town (but far enough away to feel away from it all) that could be on your list this fall.

Matthews/Winters Park
Difficulty: Moderate
Cost: Free

Matthews/Winters Park
Matthews/Winters Park gives one of the best views of Denver’s “Hogback” and Ken Caryl Valley.

Located right next door to the famous Red Rocks amphitheater just west of town, this hike features a walk past a historic cemetery and hike up a ridge with a beautiful view of all Denver and Red Rocks itself. A common path is a loop that runs over the Village Walk Trail, up the switchback on Cherry Gulch Trail to the top of the ridge, and Red Rocks Trail AWAY from Red Rocks, which leads back to the Cherry Gulch/Village Walk intersection. The switchback section of the trail is a bit rough, but the view is worth it.

This is a great trail to take if you want to fit a hike and Red Rocks into the same day. You can visit Red Rocks and then take a hike, or you can actually hike from the Matthews/Winters parking lot all the way to Red Rocks, though you’re looking at a much longer hike if you decide to go that route.

Roxborough State Park
Difficulty: Variable
Cost: Park Entrance Fee (< $10, see website for more information)

Roxborough State Park is a jewel of the Denver area, offering views of red rock formations and scenic hikes without going too far from home.
Roxborough State Park is a jewel of the Denver area, offering views of red rock formations and scenic hikes without going too far from home.

This is one of the most beautiful places around Denver, bar none. It may be a bit late to catch all the fall colors, but this place absolutely glows with color this time of year if you can catch any of it. Apart from that, Roxborough has a host of trail options that make it really easy to control your difficulty and mileage. Tougher trails include the hike up Carpenter’s Peak, a moderate to steep switchback trail with a summit height of 7,160 feet.

Cottonwood Canyon
Difficulty: Easy/Moderate
Cost: Park Entrance Fee (< $10, see website for more information)

Cottonwood Canyon
Cottonwood Canyon offers a choice between hiking the canyon rim or floor, literal flocks of birds of prey, and historically significant sites.

Cottonwood Canyon is a beautiful hike through a river gorge and canyon, with the option to get up on top of the canyon itself, past a crumbled, out-of-use dam that was one of the first in the state. I often see birds of prey hanging out above the canyon, playing in the wind currents. The hike through the canyon can get more chilly than the rest, so make sure you pack a warm, long sleeve shirt for that particular section.

Others to Consider

Cherry Creek State Park – Located very, very close to our office, this state park is part reservoir, part flat hiking trails. Great for a quick getaway.

Golden Gate Canyon – More of a mountainy feel, but still with great views of the Denver/Boulder area.

Mt. Falcon Park – A beautiful hike in the pine trees with several sites of historic significance. One of the big draws, apart from the scenery and wildlife, is the cornerstone for the “Summer White House.” This was laid here, and although construction never continued, you can still visit the cornerstone and learn more about the site’s history.

Meyer Ranch Park – A moderate hike through the pines west of Denver. This hike is all about experiencing the forest and wildlife, and has an excellent payoff at the end. Moderate difficulty.

Deer Creek Canyon – One of the best “mountain-y” hikes for its proximity to the city.

Hayden Park on Green Mountain – Completely exposed, but moderate difficulty and the best direct view of the city in the metro area.

One of the Most Beautifully Designed Video Games of All Time is Getting a Sequel

I have a confession to make.  I didn’t grow up with video games.

It wasn’t until I was in my 20’s and on my own that I got my first console, a PlayStation 2 that I paid $50 for nearly 6 years after it was released.  In 2011, I bought an X-Box 360, also six years after it was released.

There are some drawbacks to being a console (and more than a half decade) behind the cutting edge of video gaming.  Avoiding spoilers for that length of time is tough, especially working in an industry where the nerdy stuff is a daily topic of conversation.

But if you can stomach not “keeping up with the Johnsons,” being six years behind is an amazing blessing.  There are hundreds of titles available for your “new” console the moment you purchase it.  All of the bugs that are fixable have been fixed.  Each last in-game feature morsel of DLC is available, with both main title and pay-to-play content often available at steep discounts.

When I picked up my X-Box 360 in December 2011, I decided to pick up the then year-and-a-half-old Red Dead Redemption at the same time.  I had been a big fan of Rockstar Games since Vice City (which, though it came out in 2002, I only managed to sink my teeth into four years after it was released).  I figured Red Dead would be the GTA in the desert.

I was wrong.  It was so much more.

To this day, Red Dead Redemption is the single most beautiful and addicting video game I’ve ever played.

Perhaps the most telling argument for the game’s intrinsic beauty and playability is the ability to get John Marston on his horse and simply ride around the map for hours, rescuing damsels in distress, hunting buffalo, dueling with Mexican bandits, and watching the amazing landscape ebb, flow, and change around him, without once completing a single mission in the main story line.

It took me years to complete the main story line, simply because most days I played, all I wanted to do was saddle up and ride.

Today Rockstar announced a sequel to this gem of the video game landscape.  Red Dead Redemption 2 is due out in October 2017, with its first trailer appearing on Thursday.

There has not ever been a video game title that’s pushed me to spend the kind of money that the “next gen” consoles demand.  Though I’m a huge NFL fan, I’ll keep updating my Madden 15 rosters and re-playing with old graphics and physics.  Ditto with FIFA 15.  I’m three titles behind in Gears of War, so GoW4 holds little interest for me.  Destiny is not my destiny.

Red Dead 2 is.

Come October 2017, I will have my next-gen console.  And if Rockstar lives up to the hype and promise that it’s shown within its capabilities, I’ll have a new favorite video game as well.

When are Ageless, Genderless User Personas Effective?

On the web, everyone is equal.

This is a problem, especially for those of us engaged in the business of writing user personas.

It should be no secret by this point that the how-to of creating user personas is still up in the air.  There is a modicum of agreement that personas should be based around the analytics gathered on the website in question.  How treat data in comparison and contrasts with your target audience, and how to synthesize that comparison into user personas, is still widely up for debate.

So where do we start when it comes to building user personas?

One of the most helpful resources I point newcomers to is, which has a list of some great user persona standards. Among other things, they suggest you provide a persona with an age and gender.

This is a tricky bit, however.  There are many who want to treat everyone in all walks of life with equality, including some industry leaders that believe in removing age and gender from personas. The argument they provide is that these facets of a user don’t provide relevant context, and only add biased, unproven assumptions to the equations. Personas, they state, should be based on story archs, and not on aspects of the user that provide useless context to that story.

On a certain level, that makes sense.  We all make assumptions about people of different gender and ages based on our own experiences and the influence of the different people and institutions in our lives.  We’ve probably all heard that women are terrible drivers, or that teenagers don’t care about the world around them.  In general, we’re fighting a battle against the stereotypes we as individuals and as a culture use to label these groups.

This extension of ethnocentrism is the antitheses of what the world wide web is all about– providing the same opportunities to explore, learn, and consume to individuals the world over.

There are others (myself included) that believe the usefulness of a persona is at least two-fold. A persona allows you to synthesize data captured from analytics into usable format, true.  They also allow for designers to design for actual human beings rather than the generalized “user” that is so often discussed around the conference table.

By putting a face and name with a set of requirements, you’re suddenly working to make Susie Shopper’s experience better, not some nameless, faceless, un-relatable “user.”  Your work is more personal. You feel like you’re connecting with and solving the problems of actual customers.

Removing aspects such as age and gender only serve to de-personify the persona, which seems a bit of a contradiction of terms.  So long as we’re aware of our own presuppositions and actively seek to counter them, there’s no problem with keeping age and gender as part of our user personas.

But that’s not the only issue I have with this approach.

But wait! There's more!
But wait! There’s more!

The difficulty we run into here is the age old “ideal vs reality” conundrum.

I absolutely agree that men and women should be treated as equals.  Everyone, regardless of age, should have the same fair treatment when it comes to their web experiences.

However, the fact of the matter is that there is a good deal of difference to how men, women, and different age groups consume user interfaces and experiences.

According to a study conducted by the Worcester Polytechnic Institute,  women notice and use different aspects of a UI than men. Women, for instance, are more prone to notice people and faces, whereas men are more drawn to dynamic color choices. There’s also empirical evidence that things such as font choice may have a large effect on how men and women consume user interfaces.

The study on font consumption in UI dealt specifically with cars, but has far-reaching implications.
The study on font consumption in UI dealt specifically with cars, but has far-reaching implications.

Additionally, the age range of your demographic should affect your UX design, especially if you’re designing for older audiences. There’s a significant amount of research and knowledge behind understanding how older adults interact with the web.  Things like font choice and size, which you might expect has a larger impact for older audiences, actually have negligible effects on usability for older adults, while persistent and consistent navigation have a huge benefit.

While it may be politically correct to have the concept that “women are no different from men,” and that “age doesn’t matter,” the reality of the situation, when it comes to UX at least, is that there’s a distinct difference between the groups.  How this difference is applied will vary depending on you site’s demographics and target audience.

If your site is age and gender agnostic, then by all means, go ahead and strip out this information.  If not, ensure that your user persona, as well as your assumptions about that user, are based on a solid scientific grounding, and not your stereotypical presuppositions.

As UX professionals, it’s our duty to provide everyone an equally effective and awesome experience, tailored to our users’ collective needs and wants.

Afer all, on the web, everyone is equal.

User Interface vs. User Experience: Sliding Into the Differences

You’ve been thinking about a career in the emerging field of User Experience, and as you read through job listings and requirements, a questions hits you.  What is the difference between a User Experience Engineer and a User Interface Designer?

You’ve hit one of the core problems with this emerging career field. I would say most people don’t know or fully understand what UX is. Many employers have heard UX as a buzzword, and are just beginning to recognize UX as an important aspect of the design and development process. As a result, UX is often confused with UI, and many people taking on UX roles end up doing more UI work than anything else.

The infinite wisdom of Inigo Montoya extends to the world of User Experience.
The infinite wisdom of Inigo Montoya extends to the world of User Experience.

So what is the difference between the two?

The basic answer I go with is “User Interface is the controls you use when working with a website/piece of software/etc. User Experience is how you feel about using those controls.”

My favorite way to explain what UX is, and where it fits in the process is to imagine a building that constantly has so many people on the top floor and coming up the staircase that it’s difficult, if not impossible, for anyone to use the stairs to go back down again. It’s a huge problem, and the fire marshall is threatening to close down all access unless a way to get people off the top floor is installed soon. An interior design consultant is brought in, and has quite a few different options to select from that might get people from the top to bottom floors: stairs, elevators, bungee cords, a sheer drop with a big inflatable cushion at the bottom, etc. After some consideration, the consultant might come up with the idea of a slide being the most efficient way to get from top to bottom floors.

Who knew a beautiful view could be a major fire hazard?
Who knew a beautiful view could be a major fire hazard?

To get as many people off the top floor of the building, it will need to be as close to the best possible slide for its particular use. Now the building’s architect has some work to do. Where does the slide go? In the corner, in the middle of the floor, by the biggest window, or even starting at the window, leading outside the building?

This was either a terrible or an awesome idea.
This was either a terrible or an awesome idea.

The architect will likely base their decision by coordinating with a number of different individuals and groups. The architect might need to review with the building owner about where to put the slide so that it doesn’t interfere with using space on the bottom floor. The architect might also have a conversation with people on the top floor of the building about how they’d feel about different slides in different places in the building. The architect will likely do some reading to see if any other building are using slides to get people from floor to floor, and what’s making those slides successful. They may even visit a building down the street with a slide of its own to experience for themselves what they like or don’t like about that slide (competitive product research).

Who says research can't be fun?
Who says research can’t be fun?

Once they have all of the information they need to make the final decision about where to put the slide, they’ll probably work with the interior design consultant to make sure that the color and sizing of the slide work with the existing color scheme in both the top and bottom floors.

By the time the construction crew is on-site and ready to build the slide, the architect will have blueprints and specific instructions for the construction team on how the slide should be constructed.  The architect may need to be available to answer questions about the slide’s construction and materials.

The architect will also need to test the slide, however, both before and after it’s in use to answer a number of different real-world questions.  Is the slide dangerous to use?   Is it as fun and efficient as the architect expected?  Do people use it as expected, or are people attempting to scramble up the slide to get to the second floor?  Depending on the results of the testing, the architect may need to tweak the design slightly (or perhaps even scrap and remove the slide if it doesn’t work well at all).

My work here is done.
My work here is done.

We can extend this metaphor to actual web product development. The interior design consultant is a UI designer: it’s their job to understand the different options about what different elements are available for any particular situation (in this case, choosing between another staircase, a the big cushion at the bottom of a sheer drop, or a slide) and to make initial recommendations on the controller.

The UX engineer is the architect, doing the research on the chosen controller and deciding best location for that controller in context of the current project (the house itself), giving the basic instructions for implementation, and then testing the product both during its development and after it’s finished to make sure it’s reaching the needs of real-world users.

Additionally, the architect and interior designer collaborate at different points in the project, just as UI and UX teams might interact. There may even be some crossover between the two functions, but in the end, there is a distinct line where the UI designer’s work ends and the UX engineer’s work begins.

With all of this in mind, it’s easy to see how UX and UI get mixed and confused with one another. Hopefully I’ve built a good description of how these two vital functions differ from one another.

Pun totally intended.

When Worlds Collide: My Cup of Tea (of a Kind)

It’s not often that my love of good food and drink intersects with engaging and fun user experience and interfaces.  An exception to this rule is the relatively-new (at least to the Denver area) Tea of a Kind, which is a tea unlike any other I’ve yet experienced.

When you find Tea of a Kind (hereafter abbreviated as “ToaK” because I’m just that lazy) on store shelves, it looks something like an eco-friendly, bottle of purified water.  This is hardly surprising, as, at this point in its life, that’s all it really is.

But do you see notice the weird looking cap?  It’s the secret to ToaK’s success.

This weird little gizmo is called, fittingly, a Gizmo.
This weird little gizmo is called, fittingly, a Gizmo.

In a moment, this little cap, which ToaK has termed a “Gizmo,” transforms the contents of the fresh little bottle of water into even more refreshing tea.

If you can’t make out Marty McFly’s jawline, it’s only because it’s on the floor.

Seriously, how cool is that?

What’s more, not only does this little Gizmo provide the single best physical UX element of any drink I’ve yet encountered, ToaK maintains that it “prevents degradation of key ingredients” such as vitamins, antioxidants, and other key functional ingredients.

Now, let’s be frank for a moment.  Is ToaK any better tasting than other tea brands out there?  I’ve sampled the unsweetened black and peach ginger varieties and I’ve come to the conclusion of “not particularly.”  ToaK may be marginally more fresh, but compared to its competitors its flavor is average.

The reason I pick one of these up every. damn. time. I’m at the one convenience store in the Denver area I’ve been able to find them is because of just how cool the user experience is.  I don’t care that it’s supposedly fresher, or that the bottle looks cool, or even that it’s slightly more expensive that a majority of its competitors.  I’ll buy it just to show it off the fantastic experience of watching tea brewed instantaneously before my eyes.

Kudos, Tea of a Kind.  Until someone else comes up with something similar and more delicious, you’ve made a loyal customer (and fan) out of me.