Pals was designed to bring friends closer together. With chaotic daily schedules, Pals made it simple for people to find time to spend with each other when planning future events or spontaneous moments. The platform was a consumer-facing iOS and Android app.


Wilder World


Product Designer and Manager



My Role

This project was conceived by me, so therefore my role was wide. Starting with market and user research to create a clear strategy, then moving on to extensive competitor analysis, I designed the initial concept and wireframes before creating more detailed UX/UI models. I then put together and managed a team of devs and designers to develop the MVP.

The Product

No more trawling through Facebook, no more endless groups on WhatsApp; Pals was created to giver users the tools to organise their whole social life in an instant. The app in its simplest form made it quicker and easier to create instant events with friends. Bolted on to this was an array of fun features such nearby friend alerts, event planning tools, spontaneous gathering notifications, group comments and messaging, to name a few. The app was built natively for iOS and Android, while the backend used had been built years before for another project and adapted to suit Pals.

The main challenge for this product was breaking people from their existing habits. As other commonly-used products exist that cover similar functionality, our product had to be a 10x better experience in order to win new users over. This led me down a path of exploring the psychological side of creating habit-forming products, and what models should be installed to create an addictive experience... but in a healthy way.

Evolution of the project

Upon soft launch and initial user testing, Pals received mixed feedback. Our UX was strong, the UI was engaging, and spontaneous planning was a favoured feature. However, overall usage was low and the habit-forming features were not forming habits. The product was picked up and used for a short shelf life by a few thousand people but simply couldn’t compete with people making WhatsApp groups for their events. The drop off was fast and after a year live, it was taken down.

Key take aways

> Learning how completely remote teams can be managed very effectively online with agile management tools such as Asana, Github andSlack.

> Realising how building a project that you are solely responsible for changes the way you behave and make decisions, which is not always for the best.

> Benefiting from an understanding of all disciplines of product design and management which helps to bring a project together more efficiently.

> Appreciating the importance of continuously supportive funding partners and how they can easily change the outcome of a product.

> Accepting that if you design a product that hopes to complete with WhatsApp usage, you had best be ready for an uphill battle.

Other work