Responsibilities
Initial research, feature ideation, user testing, prototyping, and visual design
Team
Duration
6 weeks
Tools
Figma, Principle, Illustrator
Carboncash is a mobile shopping assistant that familiarize consumers with sustainable purchase options.
The goal of Carboncash is to support and empower consumers on their journey towards a sustainable lifestyle. The app features digestible environmental metrics, community page, and rewards program to ease the users' transition. Carboncash empowers consumers through introducing an easy way of purchasing environmental friendly products from participating stores.
Heightening climate change activism all over the world
Problem Space
Consumers struggle to practice sustainable lifestyle despite its social and environmental significance.
“65% said they want to buy purpose-driven brands that advocate sustainability, yet only about 26% actually do so.”
Approach
What are the current obstacles that hinder consumers from going green?
To start off our research, we conducted a preliminary 1:1 user interviews with both groups of individuals from the CMU campus community who identify themselves as regular consumers and green consumers. Through the process, we identified a significant difference in the journey of regular vs. green consumers. From the journey map, we highlighted three key pain points that hinder regular consumers from going green.
“I care about how much money I can save, and how much value I'm getting.”
1:1 Interview / body-storming sessions with individuals from age 18-30
“Pittsburgh has not fully adopted the green lifestyle. Compared to SF, there isn't recycling nor composting.”
User journey of regular vs. green consumers
Discovery
From the user research, we identified several problem area that are hindering consumers to go green.
Based on the interview findings, we identified the users struggled to make the shift towards a green lifestyle due to insufficient environmental information (to be conscious of carbon footprint), expenses, circumstances (such as city-specific environmental policies), and lack of motivation.
Key pain points of the users
Apps commonly used by our target audience as revealed from the interview
Goal
How might we guide the consumers to confidently transition into a new lifestyle based on their circumstances, level of motivation, and financial status?
We came up with a hypothesis that with more environmental literacy and financial incentives, the more confident consumers will feel to pursue a sustainable lifestyle. Then, we brainstormed a new value flow model of how we can engage the stakeholders to better achieve our goal.
New value flow model devised through Carboncash intervention
Explorations
We set off to create a mobile shopping assistant with three core features.
With this goal in mind, we moved on to brainstorm for features for the app with consideration for the user persona and pain points. After exploring a range of ideas through creating wireframes and user journeys we decided to create a mobile shopping app. Our team felt that a mobile app would be a low-barrier, all-in-one medium that would allow consumers to start out their sustainable lifestyle in an informative and effortless way.
Lo-fi feature ideation
Simplifying environmental metrics to dropdown element
Iteration for community page
During the process I established a scalable design system for Carboncash.
For any further exploration of the app I delivered a design system to ease the implementation process. The design system features typography and color system and a component library. The typography system is built on the Cabin family, a Humanist font known for its sense of personal touch on whimsical curvatures and the color system is centered on the primary green palette to convey the concept of sustainability.
Typography system
Component library 1
Component library 2
Final Outcome
As a result of the project, we delivered a Carboncash mobile app. By combining the core shopping experience with rewards and community motivation we aimed to incentivize consumers to engage with Carboncash across multiple touch points. The reward and shopping experience would act as the centerpiece of the app, and the motivation through community transaction/map program would provide the consumers with incentives to continue pursuing a green habit.
Rewards and the core shopping experience
The home screen features reward information such as CC points, list of products and partnering stores, and community ranking.

Review your weekly and monthly performance
Keep track of your overall CC score, which reflects your green purchase habits, and CC points that can be used towards your future purchases.
Real-time product information with AR scan
Scan barcode of the products to view environmental information real-time.

Comprehensible environmental information

Make informed purchase decisions with comprehensible environmental information reduced down to a simple CC Rating system.

See the impact you bring to your community

Feel motivated to keep up your green habits by engaging with the people in your community.

View points gained from your purchases

The shopping cart gives an overview of the the subtotal and the quantity of the items added. If the user wishes to delete an item from their shopping cart, they can simply swipe left to revel the red delete button.
Impact
Our app received positive feedback from the user groups made of both regular consumers and green consumers. For future iterations, we want to gauge the impact of financial incentives and environmental separately through an A/B Testing and see which performs as a better motivation factor. Collaborating with a team of designers and researchers I learned the value of aligning the team's goal early on in the process to make better use of allotted time.