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Bappo helped local businesses during the aftershock of COVID-19. I was the project manager / technical lead and shaped Bappo's user experience and back-end system. 

My role:
- Project Manager
- User research, UI prototyping, software development
- Brand and art director 


- Profitable business
- Boosted sense of community and increased local business economic activity amid global pandemic


In 2021, the world was still heavily impacted by the effects of COVID-19 - this was especially felt by small-business owners.
So, when we selected the direction for our venture in Entrepreneurship class, we opted to pursue a business aimed at revitalizing the local business community. Introducing Bappo—a website providing students with local restaurant coupons. Our goal was simple: help students save money while supporting local businesses.



In order to serve this offering, we needed to develop a system that could do two things - provide coupons for students and provide a way for vendors to verify and redeem the coupons.

To create initial designs for the application, we conducted user research by going to various local small businesses. We asked questions like, "Would you offer coupons to students if it led to increased sales?" and "How have the effects of COVID affected your revenue in the past year?" Through compiling our responses, we came to two key conclusions. 

1. Local businesses were desperate to regain customers lost from the pandemic. 

2. They wanted it ASAP

Given that there was clear demand, and we expected usage early on, we moved onto the prototyping phase. AsCTO, I was designated to design, prototype, and develop the product. I knew that the application needed to be easy to use and limit friction of use from a student perspective as to maximize recurring customer rate. I wanted to make it easy for a student to provide the local business with recurring revenue. 


user flow

Before creating initial designs for the product, I used Figma and created a rough user experience flow, mapping out how I wanted students to interact with the application. I based this chart on the feedback I had received from my fellow students and prioritized the efficiency of the transaction process. 

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Made in Figma

the initial design

student view


vendor view


Made in Balsamiq

The emphasis for my initial design (created in Balsamiq) is simplicity. At the core of the business lies a very straightforward transaction: students get coupons, and businesses get customers. I didn't want to complicate the execution of that offering by adding unnecessary features or components. With simplicity, also comes ease of use, which minimizes customers leaving due to frustration or confusion - I wanted to make it as easy as possible for students to use Bappo, and keep using Bappo.

I had my initial design ready for the second stage of development: prototyping. 

the prototype - student view

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active coupons

find coupons

Made in Figma

       The student-side application was designed to be simple, elegant, and, most importantly, intuitive. I identified two essential needs for students: a page to explore local deals and another to view activated coupons. The goal was to create an experience that was easy to understand, minimizing any potential for confusion.
      Our success in achieving this goal was evident in the overwhelmingly positive results from our primary user research group, comprising 15 fellow students. Our test group was observed using the prototype - no participants reported getting lost or confused while navigating the application, and when asked afterward, every student was able to understand and convey the purpose and value of Bappo. The predominant question arising was, "Can you get a coupon for Chipotle?" Our student-side prototype was a success. 

the prototype - vendor view

redeem coupons

create and manage current offers


       The vendor-side application needed to offer an interface to input student coupon codes, and provide a checker to verify, authenticate, and ultimately void used coupons. Vendors also needed to be able to add different coupons, as well as delete existing ones, if desired. Again, we wanted to emphasize ease of use and simplicity, as we wanted to make the vendors' lives easier with Bappo. 
       With a completed minimum viable product that we could present to our vendors, we set out. My Bappo sales team and I went back to the same small business owners from our initial market research and presented our proposed product. They absolutely loved it! We collected extremely valuable feedback on usability, logistics, and how Bappo would fit into their sales model. One issue that they were concerned about was the viability of offering coupons to every student who came in - a few owners were concerned that this discounting would eat too much into their revenue. Hence, I made a small tweak and allowed for discount deletion at any time, as well as the ability to set an expiration date, solving the issue for them. 

Hence, our final prototype for our web-application:

design system 

The final prototype included 14 screens, and I created a set of like components, to maintain brain consistency and recognition. 

Given our timeline for the project and budget, we decided to pursue paper coupons rather than developing a web app. This was ultimately successful and our business was able to use this system to help over 10 local business owners and ultimately help restore some sense of community cohesiveness after such a powerful devastation had rocked it. 

To help both customers and vendors understand the purpose of Bappo, I created an initial set of components to be used. Given that our business revolved around saving money, I designed certain frames to resemble coupons. I believed that this was an aesthetic and subtle way to help convey our value proposition. 

For my color palette, I chose a navy blue and an off-white color as they provide a sense of comfort and are easy to look at for an extended period of time. I recognized that various brands and logos would end up appearing on the web app, and I wanted to create a color system that clashed with their logos the least. This emphasis on ease of use also influenced my font choice. I implemented Montserrat and Poppins, two sans-serif 
fonts that conveyed a sense of modernity while providing comfort that both customers and vendors could align with.


In the end, we created and delivered a high-fidelity, market-tested prototype for a viable business proposal.

 Bappo was ultimately successful and our business was able to use this system to help drive hundreds of undergraduate students to over 15 local businesses in the Boston area, including Nicholas' Pizzeria, Cafe Nero, Pressed Juices, and Sleek Salon. 

Through the intricate process of developing and directing Bappo, I discovered a deep and genuine appreciation for the art of product design. The journey allowed me to witness firsthand how thoughtful design decisions, fueled by customer insights and data-driven strategies, could not only meet but exceed user expectations. The ability to shape a product that not only addresses a need but also resonates with its users became a source of both professional fulfillment and personal satisfaction. This newfound love for product design transformed the way I approach entrepreneurship, emphasizing the importance of creating meaningful and user-centric solutions.

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