woman with shadoo app on phone

Original Mobile App

About the project

A full product design sprint aiming to improve the daily lives of humans by increasing motivation through the psychological rewards gamification provides; resulted in the development of an original SaaS product called Shadoo - the game that helps you get things Sha-done!

Timeline: 3 weeks in January 2022
UX Topics: Research, Ideation, UX Strategy, Product Design, Prototyping

Product Concept

As a team, we began mind mapping individual ideas to aggregate and consolidate. It was at this stage we were able to discover an area of focus from which we could explore. We agreed to work on Task/Habit Formation and Management.

Competitive Market Research

We needed to discover what other products out there existed - results ranged from old-fashioned pencil and paper and planners/organizers to expensive softwares and applications. Ultimately, we were able to confirm that our concept had a unique value proposition relative to the top competitors we explored.

Business Canvas

To start mapping out our new business idea, we used a Business Canvas to identify ideal customers, potential cost structures, and to begin shaping our value proposition.

Discovery Survey

We created a survey to learn how users completed tasks and habits; we learned that people wanted personalization, but did not want to be forced into pre-set tasks. We also asked about their motivations and areas they may struggle when completing tasks or habits; these were both highly unique to the individual which presents an interesting difficulty to explore.

Research Topics

To create a strong concept, we utilized the psychology of successful habit formation. We took time to explore the empirical data to determine which topics we should incorporate to yield the strongest results.

Mobile Apps

How might we be able to meet both user and business needs to launch and grow our app?


What exactly is gamification? And, how can it be used to alter human behavior?


How do humans learn? What external factors may influence human learning?

Building Habits

How do people build habits? How long does it take? What slows them down or speeds them up?

Motivation Theory

How can we find what drives individuals? How can we translate that into our app?


How do individuals feel about app reminders and notifications? How are they used in other apps?

User Interviews

At this point, we reviewed all of the information we had collected to discover that there were a few areas where we wanted more information from real users. We spoke with seven people age 25 to 64 who use a smartphone and have tried to build or modify habits within the past year.

Key insights included:

  • Internal motivators were more important than external ones.
  • Most people use paper checklists; they enjoy the act of checking things off. They feel proud!
  • Social factors like competition are important to users.
  • Apps that have fun or excitement are more memorable than apps that are minimal.


We now had enough information to create this critical document. The persona is the result from the personification of data collected during user interviews. We kept 'Jade' in mind from this point forward. She represented our average user and was for whom we designed.

Task Analysis

To help us process how users currently keep track of tasks and habits, I developed a task analysis which uncovered areas of task inefficiency that could be improved greatly with our solution - specifically task abandonment.

Problem Statement

It was time to pause and clearly define our project with a problem statement. We know knew the direction we needed to follow while ideating and developing our solution. It would be our project's North Star.

People feel a strong sense of...

accomplishment and happiness when they are able to successfully complete their to-do lists. While people are able to achieve the documentation of their objectives, they still have trouble following through to completion. Many people need help establishing methods to stay motivated and organized in order to reduce abandonment of tasks, habits, and goals.

How might we create a solution...

to motivate the development of habits and the completion of tasks while simulating the satisfaction of physical lists to assist people in achieving their goals?


Each member of our team completed a 4-step sketch activity to generate ideas for our solution. The different steps include: brain dump, doodling, crazy 8s, and a solution sketch. We conducted a dot heat map to identify some of the strongest ideas for the solution sketches.

App Requirements

We also were able to define a list of relevant in-app requirements, such as a sign up page, tutorials, guide quiz, rewards/competition aspect, user profile screen, and micro-interactions to name a few.

Business Definition

We've got a clear vision and now it was time to revisit our business canvas to confirm, define, and update our ideas. We also prepared a storyboard that could be used to help secure initial funding for solution development.

Business Concept

We further cultivated the business identity and concept by focusing on our unique value proposition, development costs (both fixed and variable), and projected revenue streams. Ultimately we agreed that the most viable option was to operate on a "free-mium" model and have limited ads and in app-upgrades.

Value Innovation Storyboard

We also created a Value Innovation Storyboard, focusing on the process that our user would go through when using our application. This deliverable offers stakeholders a visual timeline of our users and how they might go from being target users to actual users.

Onboarding Users

Our team split up into smaller groups to tackle the development of the app. I worked on the sign-up/sign-in flows and screens.


It was important to begin the design by loosely outlining required UI components like images, text, inputs, and buttons. We also honed the initial user flow. Ideation was still very much alive and occurring so we kept the fidelity low.

Usability Testing

We completed usability testing with these wireframes to confirm that our designs and user flows were intuitive and without errors. We mostly identified low to medium level issues which further confirmed that our design, while not perfect, was on the right track.

  • Create a new account // Users quickly completed the task with minimal misclicks
  • As a returning user, log in to app // Users quickly completed the task with minimal misclicks
  • Navigate to dashboard // This task had a high bounce rate indicating frustration for our testers. The correct path required clicking through the guide quiz to get to the Dashboard; however, users tried to find the dashboard without clicking through the quiz.

Dashboard & Internal Screens

The second group worked on the dashboard and other screens like the user's profile, to-do list, and more within the application. This group quickly spun up low fidelity wireframes and elevated them to the mid fidelity ones that were used for usability testing.

Dashboard Usability Testing

  • Complete 1 Task for Today // As a returning user, log in to app // 85% success rate. Misclicks can be attributed to the quantity of clickable elements on these screens.
  • Where could you turn off the motivational messages from the guide? With an 84.6% success rate and average of 4s per screen, the testers found the slider option quite easily.

New User Tutorial

One of our in-app requirements was to create a tutorial for new users to help them learn how to use the dashboard and various internal screens. Unfortunately, given the tight time constraints of this project, we were unable to run usability testing on these tutorial screens. In future iterations, testing this set of screens will ensure that users are working through the tutorial in a way that does indeed help them learn the user interface.

Change Your Guide

To provide users with freedom, I created a backup option in settings where users could manually select the guide that they believe would work best for them - or they could just try out a new guide if they wanted to see what the others are like. This element of personalization was a small, but powerful way to show users that they can take charge.

User Flow

Implementing changes that were found necessary from usability testing, created a user flow chart which shows the ideal path through the app, with path options for both new and returning users.

Motivational Guides

We needed a sorting quiz to assist new users with choosing the right guide based on their motivator preferences. I formulated and distributed the quiz which asked questions about affirmation, engagement, and competition. I gave the quiz to 24 users and all felt that they were appropriately sorted to a guides that would encourage them to remain engaged and complete tasks.

Style Guide

For the style guide/branding, we settled on a sophisticated, natural palette designed to mimic nature while being mature enough to offset any feelings of immaturity that gamification elements might bring. We responsibly sourced images using royalty free sites and attributed ownership as required.


Up until now, we had primarily focused on the user's experience. At this point, we shifted to focus on visual design in creating high-fidelity mockups. Between the five of us we created 75+ mockup screens spanning onboarding, app tutorial, guide quiz, and other various app pages. This step incorporated all of the data that we had gathered and was custom created for our users.

During this process we made stylistic changes left and right. The minutiae of flower petal placement, textures, shadows, degrees of rounding corners and much more came into play and ultimately ended in the development of a prototype.

Interactive Prototype

We created high-fidelity, on-brand mockups for the entire onboarding process, guide quiz, tutorial, and main app dashboard screens which we converted into a prototype.

Please take a moment to look at our working prototype - explore the onboarding flow, tutorial, dashboard, and more! We're proud of to have delivered this original mobile app solution tailored to the needs of users.

Future-state Customer Journey Map

This deliverable provides a visualization of the user's journey. It explores the thoughts, feelings, and actions from the persona, Jade's, perspective. Jade goes from an ineffective pen and paper method to being extremely happy and motivated by Shadoo, even to the point of telling her friends and family about how it has changed her life!

Next Steps

One of the most valuable things that I learned while working on this project is time management. As a group, we had so many ideas of what NEEDED to be in this app to have a viable product. This project, without a doubt, left me with a thirst for more.

Given more time/resources, we would need to focus on usability testing our prototype including further testing the screens and flow of the tutorial, onboarding, and dashboard areas. Plus, we'd continue validating our product concept to be sure that what we built is desired and used by users. We would also further explore: premium add-ons/revenue structure, delete/trash options, library of preloaded habit-building suggestions, and widget integration.