Case Study: Happy Snap


Happy Snap allows you to gather those priceless images into one secure private album on.

“It’s awesome! No more having to say “I love that pic, can you send me a copy?” All of the best pictures from our parties in one spot. And it’s super easy to use! Where has this app been all my life?”
Bryan Laven


The idea for Happy Snap was created by a group of friends in Syracuse, New York, who were tired of sending photos to one another. They decided to pool their money, pitch the idea to a few friends with deeper pockets and so started MRAQCS. Not long after, they hired Solid State Pros as their product partner.

I was working remotely for Solid State Pros, while traveling in Australia.


  • Project Manager
  • Business Strategist
  • User Researcher
  • User Experience Designer
  • Art Director
  • Copywriter
  • Overseas Development team & testing
  • Support staff

The Challenge

Create an engaging photo sharing app that lets users collaborate by adding their individual photos to a group album seamlessly.

Product Positioning

Sharing Event photos and videos with others has never been easier. No need to “friend” or “follow” people on social media networks, worry about privacy settings, or forget to unfriend/unfollow them later, just in order to share and access each other’s pics and videos. Happy Snap allows sharing at the Event-level, in a cloud-based album that has a start and end time, with no other settings or long-term commitments needed.

Product Features

  • Upload photos fast and securely
  • Invite guests via social, email and SMS
  • Able to manage content and guests
  • Make a slideshow
  • Ability to create white-label app
  • iOS and Android


Spring 2015: The project was broken into a closed alpha release in June 2015 with a 100 users, testing core features, then a beta release to over 2500 users with additional functionality for sharing albums, and a later general release with full feature list by summer.

Alpha Requirements

My Role

My responsibility covered the overall art direction and user experience, for this app, it included branding and a landing page.


Process and Insight

Our focused target market: 25-35 year old women with a broader target market: 20-60 years old, any gender. Large age group that is most likely to be hosting and attending many events each year.

The budget didn’t allow for in house user testing, but our researcher was able to conduct a handful of online surveys, research on similar apps via the app store and google play store as well as poll friends connected to the project.

We worked closely together to answer several questions, including: What are the user’s pain points with similar apps? What features are users asking for on the app store and google play store?

My process included downloading a dozen photo sharing apps, paying attention to all the pain points as well as useful features. After digesting the research responses and product feature list, I starting thinking through the user story. Working with the supporting UX Designer we came up with several scenarios for users who are ‘hosts’ and ‘guests’.

User Journey Map

Visual User flows

After setting up over 26 user journey maps from registration to loosing your password, from uploading a photo to a new album to commenting on a photo in our friend’s album that she invited you to see. Our UX designer turned those user journeys to visual flow chart, which made it much easier to talk about the necessary steps with the development team.

In parallel, the apps’ name was being vetted, starting with GroupIt!, pixstory and landing on Happy Snap. Here are some of the logos I created.

branding exploration

To evolve the brand’s visual style, I presented moodboards with related examples of UI patterns, logo styles, icons and typography. Take a look here

Sketching allows me to simply get an idea on ‘paper’ which lends itself for quick iterations to move forward with a set of UI patterns.

User Experience had to be the differentiator between Happy Snap and all the other photo sharing apps in the market. What we are creating is changing how people share photos, and how they feel while doing it.

Moving from sketches into higher fidelity wireframes, gives me the option to consider not just the user’s journey by the way of interaction, but also UI pattern types. While at this stage UI itself is not a focal point, it can inform the layout.

Testflight allowed us to view the current sprint’s results dynamically. This gave us insight to the proposed layout, animations and overall functionality, allowing us to course-correct in real time.

During the next phase, I created a visual style for Happy Snap, taking into consideration that we wanted to keep the look and feel as similar as possible across devices and native platform.

The Solution

We built the iOS version first, taking our learning and incorporating them into the Android version. In addition, we launched an ad based ‘free’ and ad-free ‘pro’ experience.

iOS App Store
Google Play Store

Link to the prototype


Final thoughts

There were a lot of moving parts to Happy Snap, from inexperienced startup clients to overseas development teams and working during 6 time zones. It made for some midnight meetings but also collaborative conversations, and new friendships. That aside, the team worked tirelessly to contribute and create a superior photo sharing app in a saturated market. Is this app perfect? Nope. Digital products are never done, but rather are ‘shipped’ when they reach a mature state.

Users are loving the app and returning again and again to upload and share content with each other. In the first year after launch, over 1 million happy moments were shared and stored.

We were able to get every picture from our 10-year sorority reunion, and it was amazing to get photos from every angle. Thank you, Happy Snap!
Salena K. Miami, FL

It was my grandma’s 75th birthday, and we were even able to share the shots and videos with distant family members across the country who were not able to attend, but joined the album and shared the moments.
Jenna H. Boston, MA, USA

Increasing spend on marketing and enhancing and adding new features would help grow Happy Snap to a market leader.


● Alpha Release with 100 customers in closed-invitation (proto-users) by Jun 15, 2015 (attained)
● Beta Release with 1,000 customers in closed-invitation by Aug 15, 2015 (attained)
● GA MVP Release with 100,000 new customers within the first 90 days after Apr 15, 2016
● 1.0% penetration of the Wedding market and of the Event/Conferences/Trade-show market by 2016
● App is usable by focus groups in all age ranges 10+ (in terms of navigation, registration, sharing of the photos, etc.)
● Bringing in Revenues by Beta Release. (completed)
● Profitability KPI: Profitable by Oct 1, 2015 (completed)
● Net profitability margin staying above 50% at all times after Jun 15, 2016
● One Celebrity (event or wedding) sign-up by Jun 1, 2016
● One Influencer sign-up by Jun 1, 2016
● One professional sports team, club, league or venue to partner with us by Jun 1, 2016
● $500K+ in revenues within the first six months after MVP launch
● $2M+ in revenues within the first 12 months after MVP launch