Copy of hackathon

Pay It Forward

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About Pay it forward

Pay It Forward is the name of a movie in which a young boy attempts to make the world a better place after his teacher gives his social studies class an assignment to devise and put into action a plan that will change the world for the better. The young boy then plans a charitable program based on the networking of good deeds. He calls his plan "pay it forward", which means the recipient of a favor does a favor for others rather than paying the favor back. The theme of paying it forward was the idea that our hackathon was based off.  Each team was to design an app that was based around a charitable act.



Our Approach

We began to approach this challenge by first asking each team member about some of the ideas they had about an app based around the theme of Paying it Forward. After we had written down and discussed each idea, we decided to move forward with idea that had the most favorable response. Then we decided which part of the UX process each team member would do. Each of us agreed to take part in fulfilling a specific role. However, we ended up helping one another out as the project progressed for the sake of finishing within our very limited time frame, especially when it came to the interaction design.  



UX Vision

Create an app to mobilize printed coupons so that people can share and pass it on to others. Some of the key features this app will include are: 

In store notification -When user enters a grocery store, the app delivers a push notification on what coupons people have left for him/her.

Scan all coupons- Simply snap a picture of any printed offer, and the app converts all the text, images and barcodes into a mobile-optimized offer that's ready for use.

Point system- Users earn a point when giving away a coupon to someone else and lose a point after redeeming a coupon.

Search by voice - When shopping at grocery stores, users can search coupons by voice to save time.


Internet Search

A lot of the research I performed was internet based since we had so little time. I focused most of my research on gathering information on the demographics of the types of people who are most likely to use coupons, where they are used, as well as the types of financial incentives that could motivate people to use them. The information I gathered from this research was enough for us to figure out who would be the main users of our app, what type of value the app would bring, and what level of success we might expect such an app to have if it were to actually make it into a mobile app store. Some of the results were surprising, and influenced us to some degree on how the interaction design was put together and how it would function.  The data gathered was also used to carefully put together our primary persona.








Primary Persona

Contrary to what many people may imagine, avid coupon users do not fall into a category of people who are just trying to make ends meet. Some of coupon user statistics I found were:

  • Those who come from households with an income $100,000 or more
  • College educated people are 78% more likely than non-educated to use coupons
  • Men are 27% less likely to use coupons
  • Baby Boomers are 75% more likely to purchase something if they have a coupon or loyalty discount
  • Baby Boomers account for 41% of the mass affluent population 
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Competitive Analysis

Having an idea that was original was a huge factor, since we were competing with other groups and the judges would not reward an idea that was already being used. To ensure we were on the right path before we progressed too far, I performed internet searches for any and all websites that would be similar to our idea but found nothing. I also rummaged through the app store to make sure our idea had not already been used by another mobile app. Although there were no traces of other designs with the same functions, we did discover other coupon apps that have become quite popular. Some of these apps included: Krazy Coupon Lady, ibotta, Snap, Key Ring, Shopmium, and SavingStar.






White boarding the wireframes allowed all teammates to participate in the critiquing process so we could finally nail down each sequence of events in a way that could realistically be executed with as little confusion as possible. Some changes were made through team analysis such as switching the mail envelope icon to a bell. This was done in order to prevent notifications from being mistaken as email. The bell icon is becoming a more recognized symbol for notifications.  Another change we made as a team was putting a number next to the heart icon, symbolizing the number of points that has been earned. Before this change, each individual heart was placed on the screen, taking up valuable real estate.                                                                                                              




Prototype Testing

We created a paper prototype and selected 3 volunteers to participate. Problems that were discovered during testing were:  1) Confusion over where points go  2) The give away icon was not communicating the idea 3) The gift box icon looked clickable 4) Barcode needed to be redeemed during checkout 5) Confusion over the term "someone" when receiving coupon donations at the store.






An interactive mockup was completed near the end of the hackathon.

Mobile App Programming By Alaina Buzas

Next steps

  • Expand the coupon types beyond grocery stores
  • Develop IOS mobile app
  • Accessibility
  • Responsive

What I Learned

  • Developers are very much involved in the UX process. It's important to understand their capabilities and limitations
  • An incredible amount of work can be accomplished in a very short amount of time
  • All team members need to help other members with their roles when deadlines are short 


I was very pleased with the amount of quality work that was accomplished during to this very short time period. Each of our teammates devoted themselves entirely to the work. We worked towards a common goal and became very innovative in the process by putting our minds together to solve problems. I was very amazed at what can be done in such a short amount of time.


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