• ux
  • design
  • ios
  • android

Rock n' roll karaoke

When Alamo Drafthouse needed an app as cool as the Highball, they knew who to call.

The Highball is amazing. Their app wasn't.

Thousands of Austinites head to the Highball to sing their hearts out in the coolest karaoke rooms in the galaxy. Owned by the world-renowned Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas, the Highball offers great music, food, drinks, and the best karaoke experience you could imagine.

Problem was, their app had issues. Designed at the beginning of the mobile revolution, Highball was buggy, slow, non-responsive, and worst of all, unusable when the connection was bad. So we rebuilt the entire thing from the ground-up.

How we made the Highball app sing

  • UX
  • Design
  • Front-End


We are massive fans of Alamo Drafthouse and the Highball here at Rocksauce Studios. Add to that, we’re big proponents of singing karaoke all the time, anywhere, every day. If you’ve had the please of visiting the wonderfully eclectic karaoke rooms at the restaurant, then you’re aware of how delightful they are. Whether an 8-Bit themed Super Mario room or the Twin-Peaks inspired David Lynch studio, at the Highball, they are in the business of making their karaoke seriously fun.

One of the big technical hurdles we faced was the terrible data connection people experienced in the various rooms, due to sound-proofing and location. This meant the Highball app had to work seamlessly, whether offline or online, so we worked specifically with the team to create a system that tied into their legacy song CMS. That meant whenever the management team updated the list, it would immediately appear in the app, then download for offline usage. If no connection was available, it elegantly wait.

Visually, we expanded the brand of the Highball, focusing on great photos, clean typography, and the black & gold the brand is famous for, while tossing in some delightful little animations along the way for scrolling or loading screens.

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