EcoPACT is an app concept that makes it easy for users to see their environmental impact when they purchase food, household, health, and beauty products.
Mark Richman, Instructor
Technical feasibility needed
Where I started
With the rise of Green Consumerism, consumers are on the hunt for sustainable products and are willing to pay for them. Millennials (aged 24-37) are more likely than any other generation to say that they would pay extra for eco-friendly or sustainable products. Gen Z (aged 18-23) are following close behind with 58% of Gen Z consumers saying the same thing.
Brands are adapting and offering new eco-friendly products, but consumers need a way to find and educate themselves about these new offerings.
What is the desired impact
Increased awareness of sustainable products will lead to long-term positive impact for the user/consumer, the food and household product industry, and the Earth.
Where I ended up
The final solution was an app that allows consumers to scan product barcodes or search products to see easy-to-understand breakdowns of environmental impact.
SEARCH AND SAVE
Quickly scan products to get the information you need to make educated buying decisions. See how a product is rated as well as recommended products that are more sustainable.
Looking for a more sustainable toilet paper? Search for the type of product you want. When you find a product you like, save it for future reference.
EcoPact shows you how your buying habits translate into environmental impact through your personal rating and gives practical guidance on how to increase your positive impact.
What I learned
I used contextual inquiry, user interviews, and competitive and comparative analysis to validate and inform the more important user needs.
Affinity mapping of user quotes from interviews used to determine common themes.
TIME AND CONVENIENCE
not enough EDUCATION
WILLINGNESS TO SPENDMONEY
"I wish eco-friendly choices were more convenient"
"The scope of being an environmentally-conscious consumer is too large for me to know what I should and shouldn't be buying."
"I'm willing to spend more on eco-friendly products."
Convenience was the biggest motivator. Users don’t have the time to research and find the most sustainable products. And even if they did, it's a laborious process.
Users want to make educated decisions, but most companies aren’t transparent about their products and how they're sourced. It is a daunting task for users to research independently.
Cost is a non issue. Over 50% of users interviewed said they were willing to spend more on sustainable and eco-friendly products.
How I got there
To make brainstorming and ideation more informed, I created personas and generated "How Might We" questions that touched on the biggest user pain points. Then, I put pen to paper to think through potential solutions.
A NOTE ON FEATURE PRIORITIZATION
When I first worked on this project, I referred to my synthesized data to list out the biggest pains and the solutions I’d want to include in the app. Then, I prioritized features by lowest effort and high impact.
If I were to do this project over, I would have gone about this step a different way.
Firstly, I would have written a narrative to scope out the entire project vision. I would have wanted to make sure that the vision I was working towards aligned with business goals.
I would have wanted to test the concept before moving forward with wireframes or user flows to further validate the user needs and test the hypothesis.
Lastly, I would have scaled back the vision to an MVP based on constraints. Time, money, and resources play a huge role in what features can be included in a shipped MVP and without engineering or product management input, I was working without limits.
Where I ended up
Once I had proof of concept through research-informed discovery work, I created user flows. I made the choice to limit decision points within the app to meet both user and business needs. My hypothesis was that less decisions would mean more convenience and a higher chance of user adoption and retention driving the value of the app for not only users, but the brands being represented on the app.
After many wireframes, iterations, and user feedback sessions, the final designs began to take shape.
What was the impact
My biggest self-set business goals were user adoption and retention. A large part of accomplishing that goal was strategizing the content. Specifically in an onboarding walkthrough as it was the first impression of the app. I focused on making the copy succinct and not-too-serious. I designed the onboarding screens with cheery illustrations and wrote content that was approachable and quick to grasp vs. scolding and serious.
The app was designed with the on-the-go environmentally-conscious consumer in mind. It’s easy to use in active environments and easy to understand for even a new “green” consumer.
What we still don’t know or how we can improve
Because this case study was a class project, I was unable to include an engineer or product manager into the decision making and discovery process. I am still unsure how feasible this design would be and know that outside input would have shaped the final designs differently.
There is a lot of potential to integrate with other products. How cool would it be to have product ratings available to you directly within the Instacart app? Or to be able to utilize stock data to know what nearby grocery stores have a specific sustainable item stocked?
TIMEBOXING AND CONSTRAINTS
Designing without real constraints is much easier than meeting a deadline, trying to align on feature prioritization, or making trade-offs (or making the case to not trade-off) based on business and user needs. While I tried my best to consider potential outside constraints and business goals, they weren't the driving force of this project.