My Sustainabilities App & Responsive Website
The sustainability movement is on the rise, but a lot of people don’t know where to begin. When they do find a place, they are overwhelmed with all the options available. Some don’t know what these products are for, why they are better than what they have been using, and why they cost more. Therefore, they give up and continue their habits.
Design an app that will not only sell products to people but also educate users on sustainable alternatives and how reusable items are better for not only the environment but financially for them.
This sustainability swap is an idea created by me focused on everyday sustainability. I designed a tool that helps everyday people learn about the benefits of these products, what exactly in their home they can swap, and with what alternative. By doing this, they can save money and reduce their waste.
UX designer leading the app and responsive website design from conception to delivery
Conducting interviews, paper, and digital wireframing, low and high-fidelity prototyping, conducting usability studies, accounting for accessibility, iterating on designs, determining information architecture, and responsive design
December 2021 to January 2022
Understanding the user
I used small research on the percentage of people who have a hard time committing to a sustainable lifestyle to develop interview questions, which were then used to conduct user interviews. Most interview participants reported feeling lost on where to start and overwhelmed, but they didn’t actively try to do research even if it was small. The feedback received through research made it very clear that users would be open and willing to work towards eliminating single-use items if they had access to an easy-to-use tool to help guide them.
Persona & problem statement
Iman is a financial consultant who needs a clean price comparison between single-use and sustainable items because they like to know if they are making a good financial decision.
Henry is a wastewater technician who needs an easy-to-read blog and a clear checklist of sustainable items because they want to make better decisions for the environment.
An audit of a few competitor’s products provided direction on gaps and opportunities to address with the Sustainology app
I did a quick ideation exercise to come up with ideas for how to address gaps identified in the competitive audit. My focus was specifically on single-use alternatives checklist and saved blog posts
Starting the design
After ideating and drafting some paper wireframes, I created the initial designs for the Sustainability app. These designs focus on delivering a personalized swap goal checklist to help the user eliminate single-use plastics one step at a time.
Usability Study Findings
I developed a low-fidelity prototype to begin testing the concepts, which you can see here. This prototype was tested with 4 people in an unmoderated usability study. The following are the key conclusions of the usability study:
1. Blog posts
People want easy access to blog posts they read online
2. Adding goals
People had diffculty adding new goals to their checklist
Refining the design
Based on the insights from the usability studies, I applied design changes like providing a clear adding button to the checklist, so users can add more goals throughout their journey.
Additional design changes included a cleaner display of optional swap items on the onboarding process.
1. Screen readers
Clear labels for interactive elements that can be read by screen readers.
The initial focus of the home screen on personalized recommendations helps define the primary swap or action for the user.
The high-fidelity prototype followed the same user flow as the low-fidelity prototype, including design changes made after the usability study.
After finishing the app designs, I began work on the responsive website. To guarantee a unified and uniform experience across platforms, I used the sustainability app site map to guide the organizational structure of each screen's design.
The screen variations featured mobile, tablet, and desktop styles. I adjusted the designs to meet the unique requirements of each device and screen size.
Users shared that the app made switching to sustainable options seem like something they could actually understand who to do. One quote from peer feedback was that “This sustainability app can really help people make those steps to living better and making the planet better. Even if they are small steps.”
What I learned:
Even though the problem I was looking to solve was huge, I discovered that following each phase of the design process and aligning with particular user needs, helped me come up with ideas that were both realistic and beneficial.
Conduct research on how successful the app is in educating the user on sustainable alternatives.
Add more educational resources for the user to learn how much of a difference they are making.
Provide incentives and rewards to users for successfully complesting a sustainable swap.