My first introduction to the startup world was through a 30 second pitch at Creative Mornings Minneapolis. One of the Yoyo CRM co-founders talked about an app he was working on and how they were looking for an icon designer to join their team. We chatted briefly afterwards and planned a meeting to discuss my involvement and see what ideas I had to offer. The team asked me to redo their “Client Overview Page” before we would meet up and I happily obliged.


My first action was to empathize with the user. I had purposely avoided even opening the app until I was ready to take notes, documenting my initial thoughts and frustrations. From the brief pitch and conversation I knew how the app should function.

I approached testing it from the perspective of the user, a hairstylist that was seeking to scrap paper client management for a digital variation. I walked through the various functions of the app, documenting my pain points as both a designer (visually) and a user (experimentally). I set up an account and bumbled through setting up a few “customers” in the app. After my initial analysis, I went through the app a second time testing links, observing animations, and looking for general bugs


The main concept the co-founders conveyed was their vision for a sleek and modern app. This app should accomplish its goal both in form (design) and function (usability). A stylist should to be able to take a quick glance (10-30 seconds) at their phone and be ready and informed for their next appointment.

The first pain point I noticed was the large amount of scrolling needed to view basic client info: phone number, email, hair type, hair color formula, etc. The revised concept I presented to the team condensed all of this information into one non-scrolling “dashboard” screen. They liked the concept and brought me on as a UX and Visual Designer.


At my first team meeting we walked through the existing app and shared pain points we had individually documented, along with insights that had been gathered from user testing and Q&A sessions. We debated flow, function, and design possibilities which left us with some great ideas to pursue for our next meeting. Most of the insights pointed to frustration that arose from inconsistent UI and a confusing user flow.


As a part of that initial meeting, we started prototyping with whiteboards and sticky notes. We implemented our results into a quick and dirty mockup in Balsamiq that I later refined and implemented into InVision. Using a combination of InVision and interactive PDFs we had users test these changes. From the updates we implemented we saw less confusion and greater satisfaction with the overall process.

While I was brought in as UX/UI designer most of the user testing and interviews were conducted by others team members with backgrounds in customer insights. This was a little difficult at first but in the long run allowed me to gain insights from questions that I would not have thought to ask as a digital native and designer.


Synonymously with restructuring and prototyping the app we started to rebrand the company. Due to some potential issues with using the existing brand we needed to start right away. We started the rebrand process with a discussion on how the current branding was successful and failing the existing vision for the app. I used the feedback as a springboard for color pallets and logo concepts. I had bi-monthly calls with the brand manager until we had crafted something that we excitedly shared with the rest of the team.


Using the results of our insights, prototyping and the rebrand, I mocked up designs for the primary pages of the app to be handed off to the developer. My first round of designs had been tooled to work with our initial developer’s skill set, but when a new developer joined the team we had to drastically adjust the designs. Our beta app launch incorporated our new app branding along with a redesigned “dashboard” and profile system.

Take Aways

It was an awesome experience to work with people that had such a diverse set of backgrounds. I learned a ton from being a part of this team. It was also my first opportunity to work with a non-design centric art director, while initially frustrating we persevered though the initial challenge to create an awesome brand. This was also my first time working in a situation where I was not doing my own development. It was a little odd at first but I adapted quickly!

Yoyo CRM introduced me to the exciting worlds of Slack, Trello, Sketch, and InVision. While it was difficult to learn so many new programs all at once, it has helped me to quickly adapt to new programs and workflows as they come my way.


A couple of months ago we decided as a team that Yoyo CRM would be shutting down. With all of our team members having full-time jobs and lives in addition to Yoyo we were unable to give the time needed to keep the project going. While I am sad that this needed to happen, I am glad for my experience with Yoyo CRM and the people I met while working on this project. It has opened my eyes to the awesome world of startups, and has led to my ongoing involvement with 1 Million Cups and participation in Startup Weekends. I will definitely miss working on Yoyo, but I’m excited to see what comes next!

Stay splendid,


Design · Digital