Personal project and UX class project, Udacity｜Year: present
Project context: This is a personal as well as a UX design course project. The challenge is how consumers who usually buy organic food might be guided and supported to also make conscious choices in other product areas.
Guiding you to use toxin-free, plastic-free, ethical and sustainable products
Many of the products we buy and use contain ingredients that we know little about—or don’t even know are part of those products. For instance, many chemicals remain un(der)regulated—and most consumers don’t know if a product contains plastics: Think about your personal care products, your synthetic clothes, outdoor playgrounds, furniture, glues, paint, … Do YOU know? I’m a super- conscious consumer and I certainly don’t always…
Being a truly conscious consumer these days can feel overwhelming and exhausting. We often don’t have the time or resources to find out if a product checks all the boxes: Plastic-free, healthy, organic, and ethical. Yes, there are certifications (fair trade, organic, etc.), blogs and apps that help us understand how a product was made and what it contains. But often we are left with incomplete information and have to go to several sources in order to get a complete picture.
Many times we may end up knowing that we shouldn’t buy a product—but don’t know what the alternatives are. This challenge means we have an opportunity:
How might we raise awareness and provide options for plastic-free, toxin-free, organic and ethical products and brands?
I researched 45+ apps and platforms which help users identify products, and all of them focus only on 1-2 areas in the diagram.
I didn't find a single digital product that looks at plastic-free, organic, toxin-free and ethical in combination.
But it is exactly at the intersection of all four categories where we find products, brands and business practices which are models for a healthy and sustainable future.
User research & Wireframe
More research visualizations coming soon (affinity diagrams, user flows, etc.)
After the first batch of interviews with "super conscious users", I prototyped a first concept: an app that allows you to look up an ingredient or a specific product. It then tells you whether the ingredient/the product is toxin-free, plastic-free, ethical and sustainable.
After user interviews, one iteration was to add a "get inspired" section, where the user would be introduced to products that have been assessed for their ingredients, ethics and sustainable practices.
Affinity map of 6 in-depth user interviews with "regular" consumers
Affinity map of user feedback from 45+ "sustainable / clean living" apps in the iOS and Android app stores
Users love the empowerment of knowledge but have clear pain points
User feedback examples
“Product not found’ after input is annoying”
“Can’t find products where I live”
“Sources of ratings not always clear, or biased”
“So useful to get updates about environmental++ issues”
“I like that the app offers alternatives”
“It takes so much time to research products”
This app opened my eyes.
Scary, but interesting!
Most valuable shopping assistant ever!
Database is big
Database is region-specific / country-specific
Ratings are clear & science-based
Product and brand suggestions
Easy to use and accessible
A small selection of iterations for the home screen
Focus change: from product scanning to curated content
3/4 of the "super conscious users" reported that they use the scan and lookup function when they buy a new product. When interviewing the second group of users who are a bit less deep into "green living", 50% mentioned they look at blogs that offer trustworthy reviews for products / brands.
More than half of the people interviewed in both groups mentioned that it's time consuming and confusing to get a holistic assessment of brands / products.
User research of other apps also showed that the scanning function cause the most dissatisfaction if bugs occur—and for the apps with this function, this is the bug category that was mentioned most often.
This led me to take a more contend-oriented approach: I added a "focus of the week" section, which will highlight an issue, a supported organization or brand. I also added curated lists of products for different areas (e.g., skincare, style, furniture, yoga, surf, kitchen).
A small selection of iterations for the curated content screen
This is an early prototype after various iterations that resulted from the first two batches of user interviews. The first batch of users were "super conscious users", the second batch were users who do buy organic groceries but aren't as "conscious" in other product areas.
This early version caters to both user groups: the home screen lets the user scan a bar code or an ingredient list, while it also offers a weekly focus about an issue or a vetted product.
In the bottom navigation, the users find their profile (if created one), inspiration, product scanner, their saved things, and search function.
This is not the final UX and more insights and iterations about this project are coming soon!