Ohana: A Family App


Project Overview

The power of social media are bringing people closer to each other than ever, it is also driving people away from each other in real life. People are not new to the viral photos of family members immersed in their smart devices while ignoring what they should be engaged with at holiday dinner tables. While we are trying to connect with others in the virtual space through a two-dimensional screen, we also have he tendency to ignore our loved ones in real life. Ohana will help the users bring back the family gathering atmosphere across time and space.

Ohana is a prototype for a family app that serves as a messaging center for family members. Ohana makes it easy for your family to share photos and videos, a family calendar, conduct phone/video calls, send messages & emails, and physical greeting card. It offers more than what an app does to help keep everyone connected.

My Role

Visual Design, Interface Design, Interaction Design, Prototyping, User Research

Project Type

Individual Project

User Group

The app is designed for family members with different levels of tech knowledge. Simply let one member, preferably one that is tech-savvy, create your Family group, invite members to join, and enjoy each other’s digital company.



Persona A

Name: Jason
Place of Residence: Atlanta, GA, USA
Technology: Smartphone, tablet, laptop
Family Members: Children (14 and 16), Wife (44), Mother (75) and Father (78) living in New York,Brother (39) living in Australia, Cousin A (40) and her family living in New York, Cousin B (39) and her family living in Georgia.

Description: Jason is really close to all his family members. However, he is really busy working and taking care of her children and work and therefore does not have a lot of time to connect with his family on a regular basis. His only brother moved to Australia after he got married, and they haven’t seen each other for 5 years. Due to time difference, they do not get to talk that often either. Jason’s par- ents both live in New York. They only see Jason’s family during holiday seasons. Jason has a cousin living in New York, and another one living in Georgia. Jason knows that his cousin living in Georgia have kids of the same age as his own children. He really wants the two families, espe- cially the children, to stay in contact more often.


Persona B

Name: Jackie
Place of Residence: Thailand
Technology: Smartphone, Tablet, Laptop
Family Members: Mother (50) and Father (55) living in California, Sister (24) living in California, Brother (17) living in Massachusetts for college, Grandparents (80 and 82) living in Thailand, Cousins and their families living in Thailand.

Description: Jackie is a Thai-American who recently got relocated to Thailand for her. It is her first time out of the country and she is really excited to meet all her cousins and her grandparents in Thailand. In fact, she will be living with her grandparents and some of her cousins, uncles and aunts in a big house in Bangkok. Her family in Thailand is really excited to have her there and they also miss Jackie’s parents back in the states. Jackie will be travelling a lot with her family around Thailand and she can’t wait to show her family in the U.S. Thailand’s extraordinary scenes and hospitality.

Low-Fidelity Prototype

Home Screen-01

Home Screen

The home screen of the app is comprised of two 1 parts: my family and other families. By swiping left, the main control menu will appear with the follow- ing icons: “My Fam”, “Take Pic”, “Calendar”, and “Setting”.

When main menu is not selected, the home screen displays pro- files of families the user has added to his/her circle. The icons on the bottom of the screen are functions the user can choose to interact with.

browser photo-01

Photo Sharing

If the user clicks on “Brother”, he can browse through the images and videos his brother’s family has shared on their app.

Click on the “photo” icon will bring up your brother’s family pictures and videos will be displayed in an organized, tiled style.

send a card-01

Send A Birthday Card

On the “message” scree, the user can choose one from three options: “Send A Card”, “Send a MSG”, and “Send Email”.

Click on the “photo” icon will bring up your brother’s family pictures and videos will be displayed in an organized, tiled style.

If the user chooses to send a birthday card to his brother, for example, the app will guide him/her through the process of writing choosing a card design, writing a card, and payment. The payment and card information will be typed in during app setup. Once the order is placed, a paper card will be sent out to the user’s brother just in time for his birthday. Likewise, the user can send cards to his families on various occasions and holidays.

send a message-01

Send A Message

Likewise, the user can choose to send a text message to his family members. The message will be sent to the mobile devices of everyone in that family, or a particular member if the user chooses to do so.

send email-01

Send A Email

The user can also send emails to his family members. The message will be sent to the pre-stored emails of every- one in that family, or a particular member if the user chooses to do so.

call parent-01

Voice/Video Call Feature

The User can make voice or 8 video calls to families in his circle. He/she can add other families during the voice/video call sessions.


Family Calendar

The “Calendar” function on the main menu displays all upcoming events, holidays, and birthdays by months and families. The user can further click on individual events for further actions. For example, if the user sees that his niece’s birthday is coming up soon, he/she can choose to send a birthday card to her by clicking on the “Mail” icon, which leads th user to the screen illustrated in Step 4 and 5.


High-Fidelity Prototype

The app requires simple log in using the user’s phone number, ensuring the authenticity of the user’s identity in comparison to other log-in mechanism such as Facebook and email log-ins. Phone number is also better and safer for mobile users. It also takes into consideration of individuals who are not on social media or use emails frequently. The system is designed under the assumption that phone numbers are a better identifier for individuals than other forms of identifiers, since the user base ranges from teenagers to the elderly.


Once the user is signed-up/logged-in to the application, he can then start exploring the different functionalities and interfaces. Similar to Google+, the prototype opens with the screen to the left, featuring the families you have aleady added into your larger family “circle”. For example, you have added your parents’ family, your uncle’s family, your sister’s family, your uncle’s family, and your cousin’s family in the illustrated user case scenario.

The user can choose to add a new “family” by clicking on the “Add New” button, which will first lead to the interace below for the user to create a new family, and then the contact page for the user to add individuals to a family directly from their phone contact.

main page-01

Once the user is in the “Add New Family” interface, he is greeted by the interface to the left, which is very similar to iPhone’s “Add New Contact” function. From here on, the user can input information such as the profile picture of that family. The user can also add a nickname for the family. After the family is created, he then can add individual members to the family. In addition, the user can add addresses, emails, phone numbers to the family.

add new family-01

When the user clicks on “add member(s)”, he is given the choice to add member(s) from his phone book, or add new contacts manually.The process is similar to functions in most mobile phone. The app will pull up all the contacts from the user’s mobile phone book. For example, in the illustrated example, the user clicks on “Brian Goldstein”, the “+” button next to his name will turn green. The user then can select which specific family he wishes to add Brian to, which is “Brother” in this case scenario. The user can also select multiple individuals if he wishes to add them to the same family.

add new family2-01

On the home screen, the user can click on “Calendar” button to access the calendar.The user can view/filter the events of that month by clicking on the colored dots.

If the user wants to add an new event to a particular date, he can click/tap on the blank area of that date.A pop-up hover window displays more details of events.In the pop-up window, the user can see family members who have already confirmed the invitation. The user can invite more families by clicking on the “Invite” button.


The photos/videos are stored in the app’s cloud. Ohana supports interactions similar to other conventional photo apps (Instagram, Facebook, etc). User can perform interactions including “like”, “comment”, and “save to phone”.



App Prototype (Axure)

Coming very soon…