PayPal Challenges — Small, engaging tasks to earn rewards

I designed a scalable incentive product to engage more customers in PayPal Rewards.


Challenges are a way to earn PayPal Rewards by completing small tasks like referring a friend to use PayPal, adding a payment method, or making 3 purchases with PayPal. With new these new incentives, the Rewards team was able to increase engagement in PayPal's cash back program.

This was my first PayPal-only feature after working on Honey products for 3.5 years. It was an incredible experience working inside a large corporation (~30K employees) as I learned how to ship fast with good process and many more stakeholders and teams involved.


Lead Product Designer


Q4 2022 – Q1 2023


0 → 1

UX research

Context: Existing Proof of Concept

I joined the PayPal Rewards team in Q4 2022 (roughly 3 years after the Honey acquisition), officially making my move to PayPal surfaces as a product designer. The team had done some proof-of-concept work to inform 2023 planning, and I was brought on to develop it into a production-ready feature.

Existing proof of concept done prior to me joining. For speed, the team used icons as the dominant graphic on each card, but I felt that brought on icon fatigue when viewed in context with the rest of the app.

Before diving into UI exploration, I made sure to draft a basic user flow from the POC. Challenges could be found in multiple places in the PayPal app and web app, and the timeline between activating a challenge and completing it could be lengthy, so it was important to contain all that in a flow.

User journey for Challenges. Slots were different placements for Challenges within the app.

UI Iteration

This was my first time using PPUI to construct my designs, so there was a bit of a learning curve. PPUI was much more robust and complete than Honey's Hexagon Design System, so there was no need for developing novel UI patterns. Instead, it seemed like the challenge centered around achieving clear IA, hierarchy, and simple UX using the most appropriate patterns, clever layout, and concise messaging.

There were a lot of pieces of information and user actions to juggle: reward amount, what you need to do, how long you have to do it, your status and progress through the challenge, descriptive imagery, activating the challenge, and viewing the details of the challenge.

A few early selects from exploration centered around big type, use of PPUI's new pictograms for more visually rich graphics, and badging for rewards points.

After much exploration, I landed on a design that 1) could be built with PPUI out of the box, 2) scale across platforms and devices, and 3) scale across different incentive types from Marketing.

Final card component for Challenges. The design uses stock PPUI components and imagery, as well as following common and established PayPal engagement card patterns.

Final UI in context within the flow

Different breakpoints for Challenges on

Marketing already had several incentive types funded launch in 2023, so I validated the design for each use case. Thankfully, the design was able to cover each incentive type without constraints beyond character limit.

Design validation against all of marketing's incentive types planned to launch in 2023

Outcomes & Conclusion

Challenges are still live today, under the umbrella of cash back offers. Unfortunately, the numbers for outcomes are out of my reach as I was impacted by the layoffs in 2023 (along with several other OG Honey employees).

I am proud of the work I delivered, though, and of the lessons learned working in a huge company. It was truly a growth edge for me, as my manager pushed me to exercise more product thinking and UX instead of visual design. I shook off a lot of the disorganization that came with moving fast at a small startup and picked up diligent documentation and effective communication skills as a result.