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.
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 these new offerings.
UX / UI Designer
1. Contextual Inquiry
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. Competitive Analysis
I analyzed existing scanning apps and apps with a focus on sustainable living to understand current market offerings and what gaps needed to be filled.
Think Dirty is an app that educates consumers on toxic ingredients used in household and beauty products.
LifeSum is a nutritional app that allows users to scan products to log their daily meals and track their daily calories consumed.
Good Guide is very similar to Think Dirty and gives household and personal care products ratings based on how toxic their ingredients are.
Yuka is another nutritional app that allows users to scan products to view the nutritional content rating.
I did not find an app that allowed users to see the environmental impact of both household AND food products.
3. In-depth Interviews
I interviewed 5 people within the targeted user age range of 21 to 40. All of which 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."
Through affinity mapping, I grouped the feedback from my interviews. Using this data, I determined the most important user needs and created 2 personas to design for.
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 so that I could avoid them.
Feature Prioritization and MVP
By analyzing existing scanning apps and synthesizing data from my interview by affinity mapping, I listed 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.
To understand and map out the experience, I created user flows. I referenced my persona's motivators and made the choice to limit decision points within the app in the best interest of my user. Less decisions = more convenience and a better chance at 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 feedback I received was overall positive, but the biggest feedback I got was that the sliding categories on the home screen didn’t offer much space for text and increased icon size would limit the number of viewable categories at a given time. I made adjustments to address this in the final design.
Profile - Saved Products
Profile - My Rating
Profile - Scanned Products
My biggest business goals were high user adoption and retention. The more the product was being used, the more opportunity for growth and potential ad revenue. A large part of accomplishing the goal was strategizing the content. 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 environmental-conscious consumer in mind. It’s easy to use in active environments and easy to understand for even a new “green” consumer.
Taking this app forward, I’d love to explore additional releases that could provide new features like a grocery list, real-time stock of products from local stores, and user contributed reviews of products.