User Research, UX Design, and Interface Development

Case Study: Climate Change


Design Challenge: How might we inform and engage the public on/to reform bad habits that contribute to climate change? Why is it difficult to maintain interest in something that is attempting something noble?

Executive Summary: Framing the challenge as a change for personal wellness and happiness. Using the principles of cognitive ergonomics to understand and cater to short term and long term human needs.

User Personas:

The user research process consisted of a series of Google surveys (1) (2) disseminated to a group of friends and family. The selected user personas below illustrate typical persona types–some are almagamations of multiple people.

Sliding Scale Asterisks:
* Global Average: 4 metric tonnes per capita
** American Average: 20 metric tonnes per capita

Key Takeaways:
Pain Points:
  1. Documenting food consumption is difficult and time consuming.
  2. Too many other things going on in life
  3. Overwhelming amount of ways that we need to change.
  4. Certain aspects of daily routine are impossible or too difficult to change.
  5. Hard to understand in tangible terms what we are currently doing wrong.
Recommended Solutions:
  1. Dictating meal plans
  2. Motivation and positive reinforcement, constantly reminding users that this is an important issue
  3. Tackling only a few habits for specific periods of time
  4. Allowing users to choose what aspects of their life they want to change and is feasible for them to change.
  5. Monthly/weekly evaluations of change impacted.
Learning From Similar Projects:

Aiming to position Climadvocate as a lifestyle tool similar to a weight-loss app, I also asked users to describe their experience using lifestyle applications, hoping to learn a few things.

  • Social network adds accountability
  • Inaccurate or too generic bank of data
  • Unappealing interface
  • Difficult to use
Fabulous: Motivate Me!
  • Places focus on the habit-shaping rather than a nebulous goal like "be healthy"
  • Reminders for tasks that require minimal effort throughout the day
  • Positive and appealing imagery and motivating slogans
  • Strong messaging and appealing graphics
  • Daily challenges and short term goals make completion feel satisfying
  • Starts with smaller tasks, works up to larger tasks
  • Recurring reminders feel restricting, especially for people with more unpredictable schedules such as students
  • Alarms for activities that require larger time commitment and effort were ineffective and largely ignored
  • “Snoozing” is not effective because sometimes user would postpone to many times and just end up putting it off
  • Passive tracking
  • Graphic data
  • Day-to-day comparison
  • Letting you know when you’ve reached your goal
  • Tracks sleep
  • Brings mindfulness to current behaviors
  • Not always accurate
  • Can be cumbersome to wear all the time (rashing, discomfort)
  • Too much attachment to technology
  • Number of steps taken in one day feels irrelevant to long term goals
  • Technical issues, then losing interest
User Journey

Prior to downloading the mobile app portion, the user will take about 20 minutes to set up their account by filling out a survey (similar to currently existing carbon footprint calculators) that will gauge where they currently stand. This information will save to whatever platform they select. Their app experience will be customized based on their results. For example, if they indicate that they eat a processed, high meat diet, then the app will target their dietary habits.


Bringing a Wireframe to Life


Continuing from user research, journey mapping, and wireframing to a tangible graphic identity. Tasks included: illustrating custom icons, choosing vibrant color palette to communicate attitude of app, designed graphic vocabulary of circles and lines.
InVision protoype link here.