HotBox Back Story |

HotBox is the consumer report for smoke shop product and accessories, leading the industry in product discovery and consumer education. Customers rely on HotBox for their in depth product reviews and information on where to purchase these products. They are one of the most influencial companies in their industry and even have the only approval rating for smoke shop products called "HotBox Approved". This approval can be found on dozens of products nation wide as a way for customers to easily identify safe and reliable products.

My Role |

My role was to lead the design and assist with the front-end development of the HotBox mobile application. I used over 2 years of market research to come up with the idea behind the app after I had noticed glaring holes in how/where customers were buying products, how companies were reaching consumers and how HotBox could essentially provide a service in order to fill the gaps.

Flow Diagram |

User Register/Sign In |

We wanted the app to be accessible to everyone without any delay. Many apps force a user to register or sign in prior to fully experiencing thier apps however I feel this is bad practice unless having a profile is critical to the app functioning. In our case, it was not.

With HotBox, we decided to only ask users to sign in or sign up once they are ready to store favorites and leave reviews for products and shops. Keeping our sign up minimal without asking for a ton of info is key to getting the user back to what they were doing prior to being asked to sign up/in.

Locate Your Local Shops |

One of the most asked questions HotBox gets from readers and supporters is "Where is the closest smoke shop?" or where they get a specific product. Many shops do not have the type of marketing opportunites that regular businesses have due to the products in their shops being limited to those customers who meet strict age requirments. This means that local advertising, tv commercials, billboards and many other platforms are tough to come by.

Our main focus for the app: where are the closest shops, what products are they currently carrying and what type of feedback have they recived from past customers.

The outcome is pretty straight forward. Users use a map to locate the closest shop. Once they have found a shop they are interested in, they can then tap to view the shops profile. The shop profile contains everything they might want to know about the particular shop such as hours, contact info, get directions, social media and website.

Our review system works similar to that of Reddit, where users can up vote and down vote reviews based on how helpful or legitimite they find them to be. When searching through their product selection, each brand has a profile that can be accessed so you can even get a better idea of what that company provides. A media gallery is also available so that shops can show off the inside of their shop, new products and video demonstartions.

Discover New Products |

While finding a quality smoke shop is half the battle for customers, identifying quality brands is even tougher. First off, even the best products are not found at every shop. Many are just regional because the company does not have the resources to get their product national distribution. This makes it extremely difficult for the customer and even the companies.

The product directory is critial for all involved; shop, customer and company.

Shops can use it to identify highley recognizable brands that they should consider carrying in their shop.This can be measured by how many reviews they have and how many authorized dealers they distribute to. The authorized dealer map allows users to see a map of only the shops that carry the products. If a shop notices many local shops carrying products they don't, it may lead to them wanting to carry it as well.

The companies can use this directory to see their competition, possibly products they never knew existed. This happens very often in this industry where a company thinks they are the "world's first" or "only" company to make a product with a specific feature. On top of this, they can use their specific directory profile to get customer feedback and push happy customers to leave positive reviews so they can gain credibility.

The customer uses the directory to obviously search for products they might be interested in, see customer reviews and also find out which shops are authorized dealers for the product.

HotBox Product Reviews |

HotBox's bread and butter is their unbiased product reviews. They currently have reviewed over 400 products in the industry, by far the most from any other source. We made sure to add the product review feed from TheHotBoxMagazine.com so that users did not have to navigate directly to the website in order to stay up to date on the latest news and reviews.