UX & Visual Design, Research, Customer Discovery, HTML/CSS

The Tello Mobile Feedback system was a realtime channel for customers to provide feedback to managers of retail, dining and entertainment establishments. The managers could then respond immediately, solving any issues a customer might have. A dashboard provided Tello business customers with feedback reporting and analytics for each of their locations.

The App Problem

I joined the company shortly after the initial product launch. The team originally launched with an iOS app, but quickly realized that the App Store proved to be a huge hurdle – and customer engagement was low. Our task was to discover and quickly launch a new solution that removed these barriers to engagement.

We settled on a “Red Routes” approach, and launched both a text messaging and mobile web app solution that streamlined the feedback process. In the web app, I cut down the number of screens from the previous iOS app flow, so a customer could provide feedback and enter a giveaway contest in just three taps. We painstakingly optimized the app so it would load incredibly fast: The entire app loaded with only two HTTP requests.

The Text messaging channel proved to be popular with both consumers and managers. We realized that messages which were split into chunks, due to the 160 character limit, might cause the recipient to lose context, so I iterated on transactional messaging until we had minimal assistive prompts.

I also worked with our business customers to develop and test different signage solutions that promoted the Mobile Feedback product.

The result was a dramatic increase in feedback and registration by our partner customers.

Streamlining the Experience

Enticing customers to provide feedback isn’t easy. Instead of creating an interruption to their dining, shopping or entertainment experience, we chose to optimize for quick usage. End result: Providing feedback takes about as much time as texting a friend.

Managers are busy

Text messaging proved to be an equally popular feature with the business managers, since it’s a low-friction way to receive alerts and effortlessly respond. If they needed more details about the customer, they could click a link in the message and launch the mobile web app.

Raising Awareness

We iterated with our business customers on materials that would raise awareness about the Feedback solution. We settled on signage, stickers and coasters that messaged a giveaway which enticed customers to provide feedback.

In-App Integration

We experimented with providing an SDK for retailers’ existing iOS apps. It would use the customers’ recent purchase information to solicit feedback. Immediately after a purchase was made, the customer would receive a push notification that would start the feedback flow.


Since we needed to launch a new mobile solution as quick as possible, I chose to minimize the process in order to focus on customers and code. I spent a lot of time with the CEO, sales team and customers to discover the optimal solution. I would whiteboard or sketch flows, then immediately jump into either visual design or updating views in the application code. We spent a lot of time on the details – ensuring that each word was chosen carefully, and signage was engaging and easy to read.

Once the app design details were mostly complete, I spent my time optimizing the mobile web views to load as quickly as possible.

It Wasn’t Aspirin

Despite iterating on the product, sales playbook and customer development process – We realized that the product was selling too slowly and wouldn’t gain traction before we ran out of money. We discovered that most businesses considered our feedback solution “a vitamin” – something nice to have, but not absolutely necessary “pain killer”. Thus, we found large retailers wouldn’t prioritize next steps in the sales process. Four months after I joined the company, we decided to stop work on Mobile Feedback and try something new – Tello Passtools.

Aaron has great design sense. He’s a good listener and works well with engineering – good startup experience.

Echeyde Cubillo, CTO of Tello (via AngelList)