Lifesaver app

With Lean UX methodologies, I was able to build, test, and create an app that helped people take charge and win back their time to spend with friends and family. The Lifesaver case study covers the process of how I defined the problem and validated assumptions to make decision-making easier for people who needed help when they felt overwhelmed by “the business of life.”

Reading time: 4 minutes       Case study - 2015

User testing prototype. Persona - Robin is asking trusted businesses to pick up her daughter from daycare

People are busy

Based on the 2013 Bureau of Labor Statistics time use survey, men and women spend 81 to 133 minutes completing household task each day.

Takeaway: When overwhelmed, people ask friends, family, or local businesses to help them with a time-consuming task.

User interviews pointed me to the on-demand economy, defined as “the economic activity created by digital marketplaces and technology companies to fulfill consumer demand via immediate access to goods and services” - Angela Stringfellow.

These and other user insights drove me to design a mobile app that empowers people to “get past the business of life” and spend more quality time with friends and family.


2013 Beaueau of Labor Statistics survey and research plan / script

Interviews to insights

I chose to ask people how they used technology to save time with the assumption that the Internet of things was the solution. Instead, the interviews took me in a completely different direction, resulting in ideas that would allow people to ask friends, family, or verified individuals and local businesses for help.

“You feel overwhelmed when there’s a mountain of things to do, and you don’t know where to start.”

“I can’t predict when things happen, and these are the times I need help the most.”

“I want to get past the business of life and spend more time with my friends and family.”

Some current ways of addressing the problem: (1) Asking others for help (2) Planning chores through pencil, paper, or notation apps (3) Setting reminders on the phone (4) Physical labor (5) Pay for service (6) Making appointments or inquiries by phone (7) Following through on task that require several steps over an extended period of time.

Insight: I consistently heard from people that quality of life is measured by the amount of time spent with friends, family, and personal downtime.

Interview notes and insights highlighted for the affinity diagram and synthesis


Affinity diagram: Sorting insights into themes from the user interviews


Problem: Hiring someone to provide services is time-consuming and leads to decision fatigue. How can we reduce the decision-making process?

Assumptions: People are trying to complete chores with less time and effort for improved quality of life. This app will help men and women ages 21-54, the prime working-age where one's job consumes a majority of their time, and they have a discretionary budget.

Hypothesis: Simplifying the decision-making process by allowing people to delegate a task easily will give them more time and improve their quality of life.

Outcome: Decreased time to prepare, execute, and oversee jobs and chores. We will know it’s true when customers can see the time saved after using our mobile app.

The competition

On-demand companies provide goods and services with a dedicated workforce which limits their ability to scale rapidly into new regions.

Lifesaver has no workforce and is free from regional boundaries. Instead, we aim to empower communities and their local businesses to help each other in unpredictable ways.


Competitive analysis table. At the time of this project, none of the on-demand services used friends, family, or local businesses.

Customer Personas

Robin is stuck at work and needs to reach out to her trusted network of friends, family, and local businesses to pick up her daughter and watch her safely until she can get home.

Han, the father, and a first-time homeowner could use some advice from his neighbors when something breaks at his home unexpectedly.

Anya, the hard-working student needs help with cleaning. Maybe her fellow students can earn some cash washing those dishes?


Information architecture

The critical user flows to support the following goals:

  1. Quickly learn how to use the app.
  2. The ability to invite others and grow a community of people that can help.
  3. The ability to ask someone for help or to give help.
  4. The ability to pay for services or get paid for services rendered.


I used common patterns between iOS and Android for consistent cross-platform brand experiences and development efficiency. The goal is that a user can navigate to all screens and features with just two taps.

Hot tip: To keep user goals top of mind, reference your task analysis when developing wireframes and use index cards to iterate on screen flows quickly.

Starting with a hand-sketched prototype, I was able to identify missing interactions like error states, confirmations, and notifications. I finished with a high fidelity prototype for user testing.


User flow sketches during low fidelity prototyping phase


Benefits onboarding and sign up user flow


Creating an SOS (asking for help), reviewing and accepting offers, and messaging flow 


Inviting businesses, family, and friends to Lifesaver

User testing

People were asked to go through the app and speak out loud so we could understand what they thought as they navigated through the app and completed task.

Results: The user feedback helped me optimize the task flows and made the app more comfortable to use and understand.

1. Onboarding properly communicated the purpose of the app and how it can help with task and chores.

2. Users were able to create a request quickly with a simple decision-making process and keep track of active and completed task.

3. Users were able to invite people to the app from their contacts and from people they interacted with on the app by using the groups and favorites feature, to build a community of helpers,

4. Users were able to complete the payment process after a completed task.



The making of the Lifesaver app covers a comprehensive approach to the UX process in solving user problems and identifying business opportunities. There’s nothing more empowering than getting to the root cause of a problem that can then make peoples lives a little bit easier.

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2019 Wes Rhoad. All rights reserved.

All rights reserved 2019. Wes Rhoad.