Product Design
Designing Kumi - A royalty app that strengthens the local community
What if we could digitize and centralize the traditional rewards systems, retain business individuality, and provide non-monetary forms of support?
Designing Kumi - A royalty app that strengthens the local community

Challenge at hand

How might we help consumers learn about the best spots in their neighbourhood and share their experiences?

Product Thinking, UX Research, UI Design, Information Architecture, Interaction Design
Lydia, Andrew, Dylan, Saachi
January 10th - March 31st, 2022
Figma, Mural, Notion, Teams
industry partners
Yelp & Sheridan College Digital Product Design
Project Overview

During the pandemic, several of my favourite local spots had to close their doors. The others struggled to stay afloat. There was a need for support and a design opportunity. Kumi was born from the desire to strengthen the local community and provide a space for growth. Our goal was to create a product that amplifies the digital presence of local businesses to help bring them closer to their loyal customers.


Figuring Out What Community Really Means

We conducted 8, 30-40 minutes semi-structured interviews (focusing on post-secondary students in the GTA) to gain insights on what community means to our participants and current user pains and needs on their methods of engaging with local businesses. We wanted to learn how individuals can be engaged to strengthen their community.

Research Goals

Our research goal was to learn how individuals can be engaged to strengthen their community. We wanted to understand the broader perspective what encouraged people to engage with local businesses and what were their obstacles.

Research Insights

From here we asked the question: what could help community members overcome these barriers?


Can Gamification Transform Community Development?

Taking what we learned from our research, we brainstormed various ideas surrounding new ways to engage consumers such as influencers, scavenger hunts, memberships, and contests. We then did the crazy 8's exercise in which I drew inspiration from sources such as Pokemon Go and Duolingo for my initial sketches. The intersection of all of our ideas was a gamified rewards app made specifically for local businesses.

Standing out Amongst the Crowd: Market Research Insights

To strengthen our ideas, we looked at several competitors for rewards apps. I created a chart that reflected several opportunities in the market: non-monetary incentives, a local business focus, community based and socially relevant activities.


Defining Personas: How to Incentivize Young Adults

We developed two primary personas based on our insights to help anchor our use cases. To create a viable and sustainable product, we knew our product had to be: Commuter friendly, Budget friendly, and exciting for young adults.

Developing Features that Satisfy User and Business Objectives

The final features aim to satisfy the needs of both users and businesses, resulting in increased engagement, customer retention, and revenue.


Earning Rewards Made Frictionless

After defining our main features, we sorted our main features into a simple User Flow outlining the basic navigation of our app. Instead of an NFC, using a scan feature was more viable yet still simple to use for both customers and business owners.

Laying the Groundwork

Taking inspiration from Yelp, Google Maps, and Duolingo; a balance of structure and fun was essential. For example, the homepage and rewards pop-up provides enjoyment and visual interest. Business pages and challenge descriptions are structured in a way to communicate only relevant information in a concise manner.


The Birth of Kumi

I wanted our product to feel fun yet reliable. The name "Kumi" means Party in Japanese, which represented our brand attitude of being exciting and united. The brand colours, yellow and blue, provide both the feeling of joy and loyalty. It gave the the team an accessible colour palette with a splash of brightness.

Visual Consistency is a Must

I created a UI Kit and implemented a design system to instil consistency in our high-fidelity designs. Our product typeface, Open Sans, was a decision to keep our design clean and simple knowing that there will be lots of customization on profile pages and badges. I made sure to contrast check our colours to keep our product accessible.


What Worked and What Didn't

We conducted two rounds of user tests and wanted to not only test the functionality of our app but also if it served its intended purpose. Our second round of testing focused on two user flows:

  1. Check-in to complete a challenge and share your achievements
  2. Discover a new local business and save it to your profile

Although issues in the first round of testing was resolved, we noticed new pain points emerging.

We used the MOSCOW framework to prioritize which suggestions to implement.


Creating a Balance Between Fun and Clarity


Introducing Kumi: A Gamified Rewards App for Local Businesses

Try it yourself!


What I learned

Having completed my capstone project, I had two key takeaways:

1. Product design requires a balance of functionality and aesthetics

2. Remote collaboration requires dedication and accountability

Although I had my vision for the design, I had to learn to communicate that clearly with my team members while making sure it delivered the content intuitively and stayed accessible. I realized that compromising takes time and is a necessary step that helps the group become more productive in the long run. Concise and documented communication was crucial for our remote collaboration. I find that having a visual document on-screen during meetings helped keep our group focused and made sure no decisions and comments were left unheard. When audio is not reliable over video chat, having additional visual feedback is essential. When your team members aren't in the next seat from you, delegating after every meeting is crucial to keep everyone accountable. Having a visual organization tool such as Notion allowed us to organize our documents and assign tasks to each member in our Kanban. Although this project took lots of learning and problem solving, I'm proud of our final product and happy to be leaving with a few new friends!

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