About the Project

I was the lead designer on Family Dollar’s first coupon-focused iOS and Android app. My role included facilitating discovery sessions, interaction design, visual design, and even a few customer interviews. Also on the team: an information architect, two engineers, one project manager, one business analyst. An IT and marketing team represented Family Dollar.

Getting Started

We had a month-long discovery with key stakeholders. In this time we defined a vision as well as a list of goals, fears, and ideas for the app. We then charted each idea by effort and impact to determine the right ones to pursue (our sweet spot was high impact, low effort). We used that information to prioritize what to test—this also helped us ensure the best match of customers’ needs and Family Dollar’s ideas.

We also needed to understand the customer's mindset. To do that, we collaborated with Family Dollar to create personas based on previously-established research. We also went into stores to speak with customers directly.

The personas allowed us to identify the types of customers who shop at Family Dollar. However, we found nothing else was as valuable or insightful as meeting customers in person.

Speaking with customers taught us they relied heavily on Family Dollar's weekly ads. They painstakingly cut coupons out to take with them to the store. Sometimes they lost coupons or they expired without their knowing. Many customers didn't know what an App Store was, saying their grandkids install apps for them.

Problems to Solve

  1. Help a non-technical, smartphone-novice group of people understand this product
  2. Use gamification to make the app more enjoyable
  3. Increase sales and trips to the store
  4. Reduce checkout time by half

The Approach

Working closely with the information architect, we tested numerous prototypes in-store. Our goal here was to ensure we built the right product—the knowledge we gained from these user testing sessions was invaluable.

The final app includes a card-based design, which closely mimics clipping coupons in real life. That allowed customers to have faster checkout times and less hassle from lost or expired coupons.

There are also fun interactions—when a customer clips a coupon, it displays a pleasing-yet-not-annoying animation. We also gamified the experience by including a progress bar which entices customers to clip more coupons. We plan to introduce more gamification features soon.

Key Accomplishments

  • Met yearly download goal in one month
  • Boosted average transaction price by 50%
  • Interviewed at least 75 customers
  • Currently holds a spot in the top 25 shopping apps on Google Play
  • Earned a 4.8 rating


A card-based coupon clipping screen with a gamified progress bar
Initial mapping of goals, fears, and vision with the client
Dot voting on most important features in the client’s discovery session
A prototype we tested in stores, this focused on helping customers understand the app
Mapping out the customer’s journey and flow with the information architect
Animation exploration for clipping coupons
Final animation for clipping coupons
The final version of an onboarding screen that teaches customers how to use the app
Before asking for permission to use certain features, we presented the value of this choice