EcoPACT is an app concept that allows consumers to make educated decisions while shopping for food, household, health, and beauty products. Scan product barcodes, enter the PLU codes, or search a product by name and EcoPact will give you an easy-to-understand breakdown of the environmental impact of the product. The app concept was born in my User Experience course at General Assembly.
Product Manager (Instructor)
Food and household brands aren't transparent about how their products are made and how they impact the environment. Environmentally conscious consumers want to be
Brands are adapting and offering new eco-friendly products, but consumers need a way to find these new offerings.
1. Contextual inquiry
To better understand my targeted user, I observed how consumers used their phones in local grocery stores. Since most customers were walking around the store, many mobile interactions were quick as to not pull focus away from the task of shopping.
I also observed consumers ordering groceries and household products from home on a mobile device or a desktop. Looking at reviews was a large component to making educated purchases.
2. One-on-one interviews
To dig deeper into what the user's pains were in their current shopping experience, I interviewed 5 people within the targeted user age range of 21 to 40. All participants were concerned about their environmental impact but at varying degrees. Through these interviews, I found what the main motivators were for environmentally-conscious consumers.
Convenience: Convenience was the biggest motivator. Consumers don’t have the time to research and find the most sustainable products. And even if they did, it's a laborious process.
"I wish eco-friendly choices were more convenient"
Education: Consumers want to make educated decisions, but most companies aren’t transparent about their products and how they're sourced and it is too much effort for consumers to learn more independently.
"The scope of being an environmentally-conscious consumer is too large for me to know what I should and shouldn't be buying."
Money: Cost is a non issue. Over 50% of those interviewed said they were willing to spend more on sustainable and eco-friendly products.
"I'm willing to spend more on eco-friendly products."
Going back to the research I did of my competitors, I created a feature matrix to find common threads of features my users would be expecting, and to determine the existing pain points in similar apps so that I could avoid them.
Crafting a story with personas
To better frame the problem for my project manager, I created 2 personas. Through affinity mapping, I grouped the feedback from my interviews to determine the most important user needs and motivations.
I used these personas to storyboard and present the potential solution to stakeholders.
When I first worked on this project, I used my competitor feature matrix and interview affinity map to list out expected and additional features I’d want to include in the app and prioritized lowest effort and high impact features using the MoSCoW method.
If I were to do this project over, I would have gone about this step a different way.
Write a narrative to align on project vision. I would have wanted to make sure that the vision I was working towards aligned with the business goals.
Test the concept by testing the narrative. This is to affirm our initial research and that we're meeting an actual user need.
Scale back the vision based on current constraints. Time, money, and resources play a huge role in what features can be included in a shipped MVP.
To start mapping out the experience, I created user flows. I referenced my persona's motivators and made the choice to limit decision points within the app to meet both user and business needs. Less decisions = more convenience and a higher chance of user adoption and retention.
Scanning, Searching, and Saving Flow
To make the app easy to use in an active environment (at the grocery store, or while ordering groceries), I wanted to make sure the onboarding process was quick and easy and that users had the option to forgo saving products and to use the app without login. This is outlined in the user flow below:
Lo-fi wireframes were made to do initial testing.
The only constructive feedback I got was about the sliding categories on the home screen. The small icon size didn’t offer much space for text and increasing the icon size would limit the number of viewable categories at a given time. I made adjustments to address this in the final design.
My biggest 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.