Increasing Engagement in Contactless Gifting

GiftHunt is a digital service that sends SMS clues to a gift recipient.

In September 2020, I had the opportunity to join Co.Lab, a program that pairs UX designers, product managers and engineers together to conceptualize and build a product within a month. I collaborated within a lean product pod to develop a new experience for contactless gifting.


User flows, information architecture, competitive audit, wireframing, high-fidelity mockups, prototyping


1 month,
September 2020

Identifying Problems within Contactless Gifting

Online shopping and gifting by mail delivery has become increasingly common. Our PM recognized an opportunity to improve the gifting experience and collected research from 40 survey participants within our target audience to understand their current experience with contactless gifting.

35 participants experienced a time when their recipient didn't get their gift on time

37 participants would like recipients to know that something is on its way if a gift is delayed

This survey highlighted a common problem with gift delays and showed us that senders need to be able to contact recipients about any delays.

In looking further at the sender and recipient experience, we realized that there is likely little to no engagement until the gift arrives on the doorstep. From this, we saw the opportunity to create engagement and anticipation for recipients within a gift's transit period.

Recipient engagement journey


Help gift senders and recipients maintain a connection and navigate delays within the contactless gifting experience.

Defining the MVP for GiftHunt

We decided to create a service that writes and sends SMS clues to gift recipients based on a schedule that is derived from the gift’s delivery date.

Sample text message for a recipient

These messages will build anticipation for the gift with its clues and engage recipients throughout the transit period. Senders and recipients will also be able to keep track of the gift, and any delays, through the messages and through the website.

Recipient engagement journey with GiftHunt

Validating Our Solution

Because a majority of our survey participants reported mainly shopping via desktop as opposed to mobile, we decided to build a website portal for our senders. I started by creating a user flow to illustrate how a sender would create a hunt for their recipient on GiftHunt.

Sender flow for creating a hunt

We were aiming to test a low-fidelity solution for product validation as soon as possible so within a week of the start of the program, I created a low-fidelity prototype of the core sender flow to use for testing.

Testing Insights

From 7 feedback sessions with our original survey participants, we found that...

  • There was a clear preference for specific product options: for a hunt with a default of 3 clues and for letting the service create the clues based on the gift type
  • Senders wanted more context - the information they were given at the start of the process wasn’t enough to communicate how the hunt would work
  • Senders had a lightbulb moment when they arrived on the scheduling step, midway through the flow
  • Senders wanted guidance in regards to how to write their text messages
  • Senders were concerned that their recipients would view the text messages as spam

These findings not only validated our earlier assumptions about user preferences, but also showed us key experience issues to address moving forward.

Users had a lightbulb moment when they arrived on the scheduling step

Iterating for Improved UX

Because senders expressed confusion and uncertainty throughout the hunt creation process, I revisited the user flow for the final iteration of the MVP with a main goal to provide more context.

To gather ideas, I evaluated user flows within the competitive landscape, looking at similar products like Paperless Post, Minted, Greetabl and Cardsy. I found that these other platforms prioritized building engagement by first asking users to customize the contents and look of their card before asking for recipient information and other details. These flows allowed users to see the end result early on.

I revisited GiftHunt’s user flow and evaluated 5 variations, some allowing senders to write messages first to build engagement and some allowing senders to create a schedule first to build understanding.

User flow variations

As a team, we decided to prioritize providing understanding early on because of the user feedback from testing. If this project were to continue beyond the program, we would test the user flow variations to see which our users resonated with the most to make a more informed decision.

Final sender flow for creating a hunt

Bringing GiftHunt to Life

After solidifying the user flow, I made other UI adjustments to address the remaining feedback, created the information architecture and moved into designing high-fidelity mockups, now taking into consideration visual design.

Illustrations by


Unfortunately, our engineer hit a snag in development and we were not able to ship our product.

We presented a polished Figma prototype on Demo Day and, despite the setback, was selected as 1 of 4 highlighted teams, among 12 total teams, by industry panelists.

View Prototype


Working with tight time and feasibility constraints required my team and myself to be more realistic with our product vision and design decisions. Through this project, I was able to strengthen my understanding of working with these real constraints, I was able to learn how to mesh my process with that of a PM, and I was able to practice communicating my designs in an asynchronous remote environment.