• UX Designer
How might we empower buyers to make sustainable shopping choices, that that we can reduce landfill?
According to WWF, on average, Australians use 130 kg of plastic per person each year. Only 9% of that's recycled. More frightening still, up to 130,000 tonnes of plastic will find its way into our waterways and into the ocean.
Another study suggests people are ingesting approximately 5 grams of plastic every week, which is the equivalent weight of a credit card.
“Waste isn’t sexy” - anonymous survey participant
I sat in an area of high foot traffic and simply watched people. After some time, it bothered me that people were coming out of stores and immediately throwing away packaging of items just purchased.
Initial problem 1.0: “How might we reduce single-use plastics, to avoid more landfill?” (a very large problem!)
My online survey with Survey Planet targeted anyone who shops for groceries... so everyone and anyone. It was a broad survey, but my aim was to capture some initial pain points. I used a range of distribution channels such as Facebook, Email, Instagram and SMS.
To find out more, I conducted the following:
• 50 x survey responses.
• 4 x 1-on-1 interviews.
• 51% always try to have an active interest in sustainability and climate change, with 30% being very passionate.
• 92% have little to no education on sustainability and single-waste plastics.
• 23% don't know of anywhere to buy green/eco-friendly products.
• 81% would not use a new product to find sustainable shops in their local area.
• 62% would like more community integrated education on sustainability (eg: at supermarkets, through the education system, social media).
• During interviews, when asked about their recycling habits almost all participants body language looked embarrassed, confused and very uncomfortable.
• Mass clustering around grocery stores as the primary place of consumerism.
So, what I knew so far was:
• People aren't necessarily being educated on their shopping habits, or what a product's waste impact is.
• They would like to be further informed, however mainly this involves their own research time and effort, and not a priority.
• There is clearly a lack of communication channel between supermarket, and buyer, of which products are more sustainable and earth-friendly to buy.
Reiterated problem 2.0: “How might we educate people on the effects landfill has on climate change, so that they change their shopping habits?”
This problem was still very broad so I decided to create the following artefacts, which helped me narrow my scope even further.
Through Judy's Customer Journey, it was immediate that when people first enter their local grocery store, they are suddenly overwhelmed with choice with an abundance of products. This becomes a key moment and golden opportunity to help solve our problem.
Top possible solutions:
• Clearly defined shopping area featuring sustainable products (like the 'Health' aisle).
• Small green info tags next to each sustainable choice within each product category in every isle (think “Staff Pick” in a 🍷 store).
Both these possible solutions would make the decision to buy greener much easier for the buyer. The grocery store does the research and offers an easy communication method to their buyers. Consumers can then make a more informed decision.
• Green line on the floor leading you to the eco/green shopping area.
• Discounts or earning more points when buying greener products (providing incentive).
• Interactive screens or simple information boards, providing info on sustainable/greener products.
Reiterated problem 3.0: "How might we empower buyers to make sustainable shopping choices, that that we can reduce landfill?"
Now that I had a clearer path and possible solutions, I looked at confirming these ideas with some basic User Flows and an MVP. I chose to use Woolworths as my chosen supermarket, being my local grocery store.
Using post-it notes I looked at both in-store and virtual shopping experiences at Woolworths.
Instead of a total redesign the Woolworths website, I aimed to focus on simplifying the home page and incorporate a 'Green Store' into the current architecture.
I find the current Woolworths website to be somewhat cluttered and noisy, so wanted to simplify it by improving find-ability of categories and content. Starting with low-fi wireframes hand drawn on paper, I continued to develop this further into a med-fi prototype using Sketch and InVision.
Conducted 3 x 1-on-1 interviews to review the garden path to the "Green Store" changes I had made to the Woolworths online store. Participants found it generally working and flowed well with the following feedback points:
• Include a 'Local' tag or heading, so people can see it's sourced regionally.
• Include product comparisons. Eg: an eco-friendly/local product vs. other (price, impact).
• Categories of all products needs to be clearer.
I really loved the feedback I received, and thought they were extremely key points to make the shopping experience more informative for the buyer.
Sadly, at this point in time my trial for Sketch expired 😞 so I'm not able to access my link for my prototype! Apologies! So essentially, I had to stop the project here.
• Would have been beneficial to do contextual inquiries (in-store interviews) and usability testing with the current Woolworths website.
• I wish I had built a second survey with more targeted questions as my problem became more defined.
• Alongside another survey, I'd also like to re-interview my initial participants again with more focused questions after defining my problem further.
• Remember when your software trial ends!!!!🤦🏻
• When I next have Sketch in the future, reiterate and update the usability testing changes to my prototype.
• Usability testing of prototype V2.
At first I was very apprehensive to undertake this project, being my very first UX project ever, as well as my problem space being so broad and huge! However, I ended up having a lot fo fun and enjoyed the journey the process took me along.
If you have any comments or feedback, I'd love to hear it! Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!