UX designer


Four weeks






High Five Movement is a positive only feedback mobile platform for customers to “high five” employees to reinforce high-quality service. It was co-founded by our client, Allie Capeless and Raj Krishnan. Allie realized a key component of personal success is recognition and positive reinforcement but found that it’s lacking in many areas, especially in low-income jobs, where most feedback is negative. She decided to pursue the idea of letting everyone give positive feedback in real-time. 


Our client wanted us to enhance the overall user experience of the existing app with a focus on the evolved “anyone anywhere anytime” product. HFM’s aspiration is to expand this offering into a tool that provides users the ability to high five anyone, anywhere, anytime and for employees to collect/share feedback and performance data as they move from job to job. 

Screens of the beta app


High fiving a good employee seemed like a simple way to do it, but I thought, is this really needed? I went back to thinking about the time I used to work in the service industry. Would I have wanted this? I wasn’t sure because I think tipping did the job. Then I thought, I didn’t appreciate having to split it with everyone depending on how many hours I worked. It didn’t matter that I received a large tip during my shift for exceptional service. So maybe it can be a motivator and give something extra for the employees’ transcending service. My past experience has helped me better understand the need for the app, but I remembered that I am not solving for myself and need to think of the potential users. 


We wanted to better understand how feedback is being captured by looking at the competitive landscape. While there were no digital apps like High Five Movement in the market, we looked at customer feedback management and survey platforms. The direct competitors we analyzed were: Zonka, Praiseworthy, and Hively. They collect feedback through online channels, or through kiosks/tablets. I found indirect competitors (Foursquare, Google My Business, Yelp) were focused on reviewing businesses, not people and are highly dependent on user content. 


Overall the market was clear for products regarding reviewing people but not businesses. 

We wanted to look at a competitor that was more similar to HFM’s focus on the employees. So we looked at Uber as it is similar in that HFM focuses on the employees. Uber lets the patrons rate the driver through an app, not a review for the company or businesses. From their friendly and interactive rating form, I learned that HFM should be easy, have as fewer steps as possible, and fun to encourage patrons to give feedback to the employees.

Uber's rating form


We interviewed a total of 9 users, who were potential patrons of the app, to identify any pain points. I also wanted to validate my initial thoughts on being a motivator for the employees. We asked our users to download the app or visit the HFM’s website so they were familiar with it. 

We asked the following questions:

  • What would make them use the app?

  • What level of information would they be comfortable sharing (privacy concerns)?

  • When they received exceptional service and what they have done about it or have not taken action?


Here's what we found:

Motivation for using the app

Six out of nine users were motivated to use the app if they knew that it will help the employees gain more recognition in their current positions. Users wanted to make sure that the employee and the employer were getting positive feedback.

Our users held the belief that people want to help others succeed. We presume our target users have an altruistic outlook on life and believe in spreading positivity, as it would contribute to the greater good. From our research and our interviews, we hypothesized users that understand the employees were the altruistic users and would use the app. 


The project scope was vast and it was overwhelming to focus on three types of users: businesses, employees, and patrons. Our clients were targeting new and existing users across three behavioral segments:

  • Users frequenting businesses with customer-facing employees

  • Users already contributing to customer review sites

  • Avid mobile app users


With a short time period, we needed a better focus. We initially came up with three problem statements for each user group, and our clients validated that we were working from a bottom-up model–our focus should be the patrons. If the patrons and the employees were to actively use the app and became widely adopted, the businesses would eventually jump on to use the HFM app.


The client’s ultimate goal was to capture the people who are not already using it and they recognized that the early adopters are likely to be altruistic users.


This led to our persona–Angela. She represents our research and someone we want to focus on solving. She is an altruistic real estate agent wants to make the world a better place.


From synthesizing our user data and arriving at Angela, we came up with our problem statement.

The empathetic, altruistic patron needs reassurance that their positive feedback has been received by both the employee and their higher-ups because they understand what it is like to work hard and not receive recognition.

These three design principles helped us guide through our design process to keep our design solutions true to our research and problem statement:

We wanted the app to encourage users to give positive feedback and contribute to spreading positivity to our society filled with negative feedback. To do that, we wanted to make the process as easy and fluid as possible. We also wanted to assure the user that the feedback is being received by the right people and therefore making their feedback meaningful. 


We used Brute Think to come up with ideas for the app. We came up with adjectives and descriptors that come to mind to words like taxidermy and space suit. We chose these words after coming up with any random words and decided that it has to be something bizarre for us to think of good descriptors to result in interesting ideas. Below are some of the terms and descriptors that helped guide our concepts.

Some keywords and descriptors

We then came up with “how might we” questions we wanted to answer as we created our concepts. Our questions we wanted to answers were:



We created paper prototypes that answered these questions and conducted testing with five potential patrons.

How might we make the fast five process as fast as possible?

This is the basic flow of giving a high five

  • We A/B tested on screens of the employee listing–

    • 1. Hand icon 2. Active state 3. List view with smaller profile pics and hand icons

    • Users preferred the hand icon profile page

  • The active state was not received well because of concerns for privacy/safety. It is also not realistically feasible for employees to check-in for their shift.

  • List view seemed impersonal (current state) and larger photos were well-liked to easily identify employees

How might we entice people to continue using the app?

I created this concept to let patrons discover places with high five–the social toggle was modeled after Venmo

  • Newsfeed was created but users said it was insignificant to have

  • Users said they liked the global option out of all but said they value seeing their friends’ high fives as they trust them over strangers’ reviews (Yelp)

  • Users said they wouldn’t share their high fives on social media, but our client said it was necessary to have as a free marketing tool

How might a user be able to high five an employee who doesn’t have a profile?

This was created to figure out how to add an unlisted employee

  • “Employee not listed” language is confusing

  • Users wanted to see how many employees to have an idea of how much they may have to scroll through

  • Name was not required as in many cases the user wouldn’t remember the name

  • The language we use will be important for comment as we don’t want the user to describe the employee but describe the situation

  • Users don’t want to spend time writing a comment if they’re not 100% sure it’s going somewhere–they didn’t like the “claiming” screen

How might we ensure the user that their high five’s received?

This feed was created to give a confirmation that the employee has seen the high five

  • Users didn’t care–they already assumed that they would

  • Users prefer to see their own personal high fives or their impact

Through testing, we found that social connectivity is not a priority for users, but necessary to have for our clients. This is when I found that I need to balance the needs of the users and clients. High-fiving “anyone at any time” is not solvable from the patron platform and it would require business accounts to already exist.


From the feedback we received from the clients and concept testing, we created an InVision prototype. We then presented it to eight users that weren’t too familiar with the HFM for usability testing.

Employee listing

User profile

Users were confused about clicking hand or the profile picture, so we made the high five more prominent. Users were still clicking on the profile to high five an employee.

Employee profile

I added the employee’s profile page where it displays the employee’s # of high fives received, the top qualities, and a feed of the comments they received. Users were confused about using a different button.

We made only the role required and made the comment optional. Some suggested not requiring role and contradictory to concept testing users, users felt that comment field should be required from all the fields.

Explore–discovery map

We added filters to find specific businesses and time filters to see a specific time period of high fives. 

Many users didn’t recognize the toggle even though they’ve used Venmo.

High five unlisted employee

I created a profile on the user’s side–displaying their impact, high fives

they’ve given, and a visual display of their high fives. Users were confused by the employee/patron toggle on the profile.


HFM_Final Screens.jpg

Click to view the final prototype

For our final prototype, we:

  • added login flow that required the user to allow their location to use the app (modeled from Tinder) and created an active onboarding to clarify the confusion of users clicking on the profile to high five.

  • labeled the social toggle and made the filter to be part of the search bar to solve the problem of having a filter on the top and bottom of the map.

  • changed the Profile on bottom nav to Me to clarify the difference between settings/editing a profile. To solve the confusion of employee/patron toggle on the profile, we moved it to Settings.  

Screens of the final prototype

Our clients were pleased with our final solution and plan on implementing some of our design solutions in their future iterations. Below is Allie's testimonial:

“We were really impressed by the problem statement the team defined. It was spot on in terms of our targeted user and go-to-market strategy. We also loved the concepts they came up with, tested and then designed based on the user feedback. There were features and flows we hadn’t considered that we intend to integrate in our product either immediately or in later iterations. We were so pleased with the deliverables and very much enjoyed the overall experience.”  - Allie Capeless, CEO of High Five Movement


Due to time restrictions, there were parts that we did not get to explore and recommended that our client:

  • Test with altruists

    • We would’ve liked to test the app with altruists, as most of our users did not fit our ideal persona and as we thought the initial adapters would be those that are altruistic to give positive feedback.

  • Explore the idea of gamifying the explore map

    • Some of our users expressed interest in exploring the idea of gamiflying the explore map–i.e. If you give an x # of high fives, you get a reward.

  • Build out the experience more for what an employee and employer would see on the app.

    • We only got to work on the patrons’ side of things as that was our focus for the short time period, so definitely go through the design thinking process of what it would be like for the employees and the employers’ side of the app.


I learned that as a designer, I can’t meet all of the client’s needs and expectations. Sometimes not everything is feasible and I had to learn to accept and communicate it to the client.


I also appreciated the interaction we had with our client, and the client’s involvement and passion. It was helpful to have Raj's app development expertise–it helped shape our product and gave me more assurance that it was going in the right direction. Overall, our client was happy with our solution and have plans to integrate it into future iterations.

Icon credits to flaticon.com