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Stopping Climate Change Through Design

TIME FRAME:

Aug 2020 - Nov 2020 (12 weeks)

TEAM MEMBERS:

TOOLS:

ROLE:

UX researcher, Interactive Product Design Lead

MY ROLE:

Product Design

Applied the methods and principles of human-centred design in the context of new interactive product development.

UX/UI Design

Conducted extensive background and first-person research to explore the problem area. Was responsible for implementing design thinking process to effectively develop and iterate the concept to MVP. 

Rapid Prototyping

Was co-incharge of running usability testing to gather user feedback on the concept, which was than translated into actionable changes to improve the concept.

Project Overview

The worsening state of the climate and increasingly severe environmental damage are complex problems escalated by a multitude of factors. Some activities such as household waste management, environmentally-conscious purchasing decisions and the support of corporations that seek to shift to sustainable production remain in the hands of independent individuals. However, this is not always the case - a study conducted by CDP Worldwide in 2017, revealed that just 100 companies are responsible for 71% of global carbon emissions (Griffin, 2017). While to most this may seem like an opportunity to shift the blame, we keep in mind that supply is driven by demand. The power to stop climate change lies in the purchasing and lifestyle decisions that consumers make. Traditionally, researchers were under the impression that there was a gap between public and expert perceptions of climate change risk, but the growing rates of awareness indicate that this gap may be decreasing. 

While the overarching problem the team is tasked with tackling remains the population’s broad contribution to fighting climate change, the explicit focus of this project persists on the bottom line of the process: individual action. Instead of targeting particular behaviour, the team seeks to provide the audience with the knowledge and incentive they need to take the initiative and build their journey towards a more sustainable future.

Research

The team began engaging in the topic of misinformation within climate change by analysing a wide range of scholarly articles.  Focusing our research focused towards target area consumers, we sought to understand how the target audience perceives the impact of climate change as this is critical to motivating successful mitigation efforts (Leiserowitz 2006; Lorenzoni and Pidgeon 2006). 

To do this we conducted a literature review and market analysis, which revealed two key themes:

These themes manifest in a general disengagement in the topic and desensitisation to the severity of the issue within our audience. Moreover the market analysis helped us identify a market gap: no current solution attempts to provide educational material in an engaging and interactive manner appropriate for the entire general population

To confirm applicability of literature results to the target audience, we conducted online ethnographies, surveys. Each method was selected to cover both behavioural and attitudinal dimensions of research, as well as to gather quantitative and qualitative data. 

The key takeaways from this stage validated our initial insights and can be broken into 3 areas of concern:

Research 
Analysis

Following this, a speculative fiction workshop was conducted. The participants were provided with a prompt, and a set of questions to facilitate world-building. This process allowed them to verbalise their understanding of the climate change crisis, magnified through the lens of speculative fiction. They were asked to describe two extreme futures - a positive (utopia), and a negative (dystopia). This resulting transcript was used to extract participants fears, feelings, thoughts and motivations in relation to the future with and without climate change. A thematic analysis was performed on the transcripts:

The resulting themes were used to establish 3 clear audience sentiments in response to which the solution will be developed:

Ideation

To facilitate rapid concept generation, brainstorming sprints were used, through randomly generated “How might we…” statements. This activity generated 20 concepts, which were then internally evaluated for potential strengths, weaknesses and feasibility issues. Leading to the concept range being refined to 6 solutions.

 

To objectively evaluate our concepts against the design brief and general feasibility criteria, a Pugh Matrix was constructed. (Appendix 2.2.1.3.1) Each criterion was given a weighting of 1-3X. This process helped the team discard three more concepts, retaining some successful features to be fused with the remaining  three.​

Concept 1: Digitised Futures

Concept 2: SUSI

Concept 3: Socially Networked Sustainability

Iteration

To assist the team in identifying the required features and building empathy for users, the remaining concepts were translated and adapted into future state journey maps and personas were created, I created both.

The future state journey maps helped the team identify the touchpoints and develop the usage narratives for each solution, and subsequently build an introductory set of design considerations, define the basic functionality and feature range based on the touchpoints. This was translated into flowcharts, which were used  to assist the creation of sketches. Combining the two the team were able to create a preliminary wireflow for all 3 concepts.

Rapid Prototyping

Throughout Rapid prototyping, 5 users were selected for each testing round as it provides the optimal ratio (Nielsen & Landauer, 1993). According to the equation, up to 85% of usability issues can be uncovered with just 5 participants.

 

Based on the wire flows, paper prototypes were created to gather usability data cheaply and quickly on the remaining 3 concepts. Usability Testing through Abstract Tasks and Think-Aloud Protocol, Feedback Matrix were conducted to gather data on the effectiveness of the navigational flows, and the intuitively of the information architecture. This data was sorted through a prioritisation matrix to systematically sort and filter actionable changes, giving weight and value to more critical fixes.

Using the new wireframe structure, the initial digital prototype was created and tested with expert users as they are far more sensitive to broken conventions, inconsistencies and features which are likely to cause user error. I was in charge of creating the digital prototypes.

Wireframe

Low-Fi

Testing

This, resulted in the selection of the final concept "Susi" based on exceptionally positive reception across multiple rounds of testing. I was in charge of running testing and updating the prototype accordingly.

Iteration 1

Iteration 2

Iteration 3

Moreover, the testing process lead to the discovery of the need to take this app out of the existing banking platform. Through brainstorming it was decided that web- app on both mobile and desktop, and as well as a addition of  some features into a browser extension, would be the most viable. The proposed changes were prototyped on paper and tested through the protocol established above.

Web App

Browser extension

I than iterated both following the same testing protocol applied to the Mobile application.

Iteration 1

Iteration 2

The initial brand guideline was constructed and put through an accessibility test to ensure inclusivity.

To test the usability of our mid-fidelity prototypes and validate changes, we followed our existing protocol, however due to the increased fidelity the team opted to begin heuristic evaluation, to assess the overall usability and correctness of the interface design (Nielsen and Molich, 1990).  

To analyse the collected data the team chose to use affinity mapping to quickly synthesise the feedback into clusters and identify key areas of concern. Once clusters were established, the team transferred the key areas of concern into a prioritization matrix.

We conducted one final round of mid-fidelity prototyping the team’s focus moved from the bank plugin to the web page interface. Due to the use cases for each version being very different, the team felt it was important to test each interface in two separate rounds, to assess them individually and prevent the change of context from affecting our results. We used the existing protocol and analysed the feedback outlined in the previous iteration. The resulting changes resulted in the creation of High fidelity prototypes.

For this project the deliverable were spilt into 3 stages:

Final Product

We all want to save the planet but the harsh reality is that If everyone lived like Australians, we would need 5.2 Earths for every lap around the sun. 

In a perfect world we would practise what we preach, but in reality being an eco warrior takes time, effort and energy we don't always have. This is why we designed susi. With susi, putting your money where your mouth is becomes easier than ever. It’s an online platform that shows the impact of your purchases, across several important categories like resource consumption, animal welfare and contribution to landfill. Additionally, the platform contains a product and business search function - to check a product's sustainability before you buy it. I was in charge of creating the Promotional video.

Using the High Fidelity prototype a MVP Wep-App prototype was created as part of a deliverable of the project.

Award

 

Our project placed 1st out of all of the graduate project within Design computing that year, judged by Atlassian.