an iOS and Android productivity tracking app that helps users to better understand their time spending behavior.


"Track your time spending pattern, build a healthier lifestyle, and boost your productivity. OneTap to do them all."

Short and simple isn’t it? This is exactly what I wrote in the AppStore description with a limit of 130 characters.

Idea and Motivation

I believe that being productive is the key to success, and understanding how much of your time is spent on your daily activities is the most essential part that leads to greater productivity.

Although there are many time tracking apps available on AppStore, I had never found the experience of using any of them to be fulfilling, mainly because of their out-dated interfaces as well as the difficulty and complexity to use. Therefore in 2019, I decided to partner with my college friend to develop our own time tracking app in the simplest and easiest way possible.

How Bad are Existing Time Tracking Apps on the Market?

For your reference, below are some of the most top-rated time tracking apps on AppStore.

By the way, this is a paid app with a price of $4.99

Target Users

We aim to target highly productive people in the age of 18 - 30, who are interested in understanding their time spending behavior.

User Interview + Affinity Mapping

Key findings from 15 respondents:

  1. 80% of Users want to boost their productivity, while 60% said they want to achieve work-life balance.
  2. 73% think that time tracking is a tired and suffering process, because they will easily forget to use the app.
  3. As a result, users will only track important activities, edit incorrect records, or even give up using the app.
  4. Most time tracking apps have bad UI, lack of automation, and are difficult to use


Based on our user interviews, we have defined our persona as follows:

We knew automation was the best solution, but...

If we could build a machine learning algorithm that detects what the user is doing and automates the time tracking process, it would definitely turn into a million dollar app idea. However, as both my partner and I came from a non-programming background, we knew this was not something possible to build in the early stage.

Therefore I told my partner: Let's be real and think of a minimal viable solution.

Alternative Solutions

After spending 2 weeks learning how to code in React Native, we have come up with the following alternative solutions:

  1. Use location-based detection to track activities that happen in specific locations, such as “Work” and “Gym”, because this feature is supported by Expo.
  2. Design an activity list page to include all activities, and allow users to start, end, or switch between activities within the same screen with only one tap.
  3. Allow users to add reminder for an activity. The app will remind users to start tracking at their scheduled time.
  4. Allow users to add maximum duration for an activity. The app will stop tracking that activity after the duration.
  5. Add graphic illustrations to make time tracking a fulfilling experience.

Information Architecture


Design System

Graphic Illustrations

Custom illustrations made by Derek.


1.Location Tracking

For location-based tracking, I have simply included a map view with an input field to allow users search and pin a location.

2.Manual Tracking

To resolve the tired process of manual time tracking, I have combined beautiful illustrations with smooth animation to create a seamless experience for users to manage all activities in one screen, with one simple tap.

Final Thoughts - What I have learnt

1.How to collaborate with developers as a designer

Looking back at the collaboration between me and my partner, I realized I have actually contributed a lot in the project outside of design. I always coded and styled the UI into ready-to-use components before passing them to my partner, so he only had to handle the functional part.

By taking extra steps to assist the developer, I did not only learn about front end coding, but also earned a lot of respect from the developer.

2.Always include a “Send Feedback” link in your product

I included a “Send Feedback” link in the “Setting” page because that page looked quite empty, and I didn’t know what else to put there. To be honest, I had never imagined someone would actually send us feedback, but it really happened. I used to receive a few user feedback every month. Most of them were feature requests, while sometimes people simply appreciated the hard work that we did and would like to say something nice to us.

Working on a side-project is definitely not easy, especially when you don’t have the skills and have to figure out yourself how to build something completely from scratch. I am very proud to have launched OneTap to the AppStore with my partner. It is such an amazing and valuable experience for both of us.

A year after OneTap was launched, we decided to take down the app from AppStore, mainly because both my partner and I were busy at work and no longer had time to maintain the app. Plus, we did not charge users any money for using OneTap.

Perhaps one day if I decided to launch OneTap again, I would charge $4.99 for the app.