Four android phones on a white background showing different screens of the app prototype.

Local First

Project Overview: 

The problem

Small businesses need a way to market themselves effectively and at scale.
Big social media accounts cost money now.
Star reviews aren’t personal or believable.
Companies like Uber Eats take a big percentage.
Word of mouth is best—customers can market for businesses—but how?

My role

  • Ideation
  • Competitor Research
  • User flows
  • Information Architecture
  • UI Design

Some challenges

• Our more experienced developer dropped out right after the kickoff.
• Of our team of 4, 2 were only halfway through bootcamp
• This was the shortest timeline any of us had ever worked under (1 week)

Our project manager, Sheridan, was a UX Designer halfway through her bootcamp. Our developer, Mallory, was only halfway through the bootcamp as well. We knew we couldn’t win without a full-stack solution but we decided to present our Figma prototype for partial credit, plus whatever Mallory could code before the deadline.


Some initial ideas

• Local business bingo card to get customers checking out different places.
• Social media for businesses.
• Businesses create partnerships together to boost visibility.
• Customers can recommend local places and update things like holiday hours easily.

Our team's combined solution

A social media for local businesses. They can connect with each other, make partnerships; interested customers can engage; it scales by local chambers of commerce implementing it; customers get rewards by filling in bingo cards.

App screen showing active promos the business is involved in with option to create new promo or generate a scannable QR code for an existing promo


• Businesses can run multiple promotions
• Each promotion generates a QR code for customer participants to scan when they shop, which fills in a square on their bingo card
• A completed bingo card means a customer receives a discount for one of the businesses involved in the promotion


Businesses can use the app to create and track partnerships with other local businesses. In our prototype, a candy shop partners with a flower shop for a Valentine’s Day gift package.
The business can then easily market the promotion with existing social media if desired.

App screen showing the creation of a social media post with options to post it to instagram, facebook, and twitter.

How we worked together

Our process

• WhatsApp calls gave us audio as we worked simultaneously in Figma
• My teammates wireframed & refined the design while I located images, measured pixels, and applied color
• I kept a running checklist of tasks, as well as issues I found as I ran through the prototype looking for flaws

What I learned

• Figma: I had some familiarity but with this project I solidified my understanding
• Getting on the same page with a team is challenging even when they’re all super cooperative
• I feel confident doing UI Design, even though some of my decisions got overruled

image of a handwritten checklist I made as I made changes to the app during the hackathon

In retrospect...

✌️ Harmony is not the same as communication

We got along so well I thought we understood each other too. In reality I think each of us imagined our own version of the project and assumed the others saw it the same way.

🧐 We lost sight of the goal

In the interest of time, we only developed the business’s side of the app. To really address the problem statement, we would have needed to focus on the customer’s ability to market for the business. In retrospect, we might have done both inside the timeline, but didn’t have faith that we could.

🏃 We rushed into solutions

We got started on wireframing right away. In retrospect, we could have spent much more time on addressing the problem before we jumped into solving it. The time constraint distracted us from our real purpose. We also could have taken some time for research.

👩‍🍳 There were “too many cooks”

Having a team made up almost entirely of UX designers meant that division of labor was not straightforward. We also had trouble knowing who had final say about design decisions. In retrospect, I wish I’d made stronger arguments for my UI decisions because I think the final product could have looked better.

I had a great time and learned so much.
Many thanks to my teammates: Sheridan, Mallory, and Alena.

Image of the local first logo next to a black person's hand holding an android phone showing the partnership screen of the app