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Climate Change: We can’t help it but can mitigate it.


Using Design thinking methodology.

Climate change is a subject that has always had me worried but lately even more so. The idea of leaving a hopeless world to the next generations terrifies me.

Consequences are obvious and we are already suffering them but even the ones that are trying to fight them don’t seem to agree on the terms and feels like the ball is always thrown on the other person’s roof.

Very few people are fully committed to the cause although people often say they are very worried about it. It seems like once we are aware of the terrible problem we are facing, we instantly shift our mind to a hopeless one, we often say “there is nothing that I can do”.

Briefing

I have set myself a briefing to generate a solution to avoid the state of mind of passiveness and awake the conscience of those of us that want to help but don’t know where to start from.

From investigation, I would like to find “doable actions” on every person’s life that could be done on a daily basis that would generate a real impact on our environment.

To educate on the matter is a big goal for this project too, explain the main factors on the problem and generate awareness.

Start a conversation on the matter and divulge it in order to change habits.

Quantify the reach of every person’s action and by doing so making them feel part of the solution and fulfilled with their actions.

Generate a network of people that spread the word to others that might not be so interested in the subject.

Methodology

To do so I used the Design Thinking Method.

The Design Thinking Ideology is based on developing a DHC (Design Human-centered solution). By researching, we create a deep understanding of our users’ lives and unmet needs.

The Design thinking process frameworks 6 phases: empathize, define, ideate, prototype, test, and implement. Here you can read more about it.

6 Phases of Design Thinking

I also used the Design Council’s Double Diamond process to approach it, Diverge during the Investigation and discovery process, to converge with the insights and definition. Diverge again during the development and brainstorming to converge on the delivery.

Design Council’s Double Diamond

Research

My light & desk research gathered me so much information it was almost too much to absorb.

This process was bittersweet I gathered son many negative facts about what is going on in the world, I felt helpless, But for all those problems I also discovered so many Organizations, groups of people and volunteers.

My research Insights where :

-We as humans are cancer that is killing our world
-So many thousands are dedicating their lives in order to change for the better.

So I decided I had to be part of the solution and not the problem and with all the research inevitably the Ideas came. Although it was too soon, my research turned in to a benchmarking instantly.

I saw so many things have been done to involve civilians and with so many great ideas, they inspired me.

My idea at that moment was to create a platform somehow, maybe some kind of new social media that put the focus on Climate Change. It had to incorporate all the great ideas I had seen on the net and also be able to incorporate more from users and Organizations.

I visualized most of the organizations uploading their challenges that users could take on and add it to their daily journal that would remind them of what to do.

I didn’t want to develop it any further but the idea was buzzing on my mind.

I then turned to my Research Questions in order to focus my investigation and help me define the next steps. Here are the most important ones:

Research questions

But I had many more, so I decided to answer some with a formulary, from it I was looking to extract quantitative results. I got 126 answers, here are the insights I got from them.

Insights Formularies

For the Qualitative insights, I decided to Interview two professional experts on the matter: Itziar Rosado, Human development Ingeneere at ONGAWA & Juan Carlos Atienza, Head of Environmental Governance at SEO/BirdLife.

I also interviewed three very young activists that feel so deeply for the cause, they made a manifesto at their school and protest every Friday at their break in School. Inspired by Fridays For Future.

Diego, Lucía & Iris the Kids I interviewed

Starting with them, we had a talk via video chat and they were extremely inspiring. It stroke as a surprise how much they knew about climate change both consequences and causes.

My heart broke with their vision of the future, the way the world was and how it was going to be by the time they became adults.

But even though they were still fighting for change, not giving up and pretty much aware of what had to be done. They were already making a pledge at being conscious consumers eager to learn more and do more.

The Experts:

The interviews with Itziar Rosado & Juan Carlos Atienza changed everything. Their vision on the matter and responses made me take a different direction on the project.

I wanted to know their vision on the problem, how they saw the prospects of the future, who they thought was more responsible, how much people could do as individuals and also I asked them a few questions around my initial idea of a collaborative platform, how realistic it was for them and how interesting and necessary they found it.

I have to mention that I was extremely lucky with how much information and time they took to answer all my questions, both of them were extremely generous and gave me really valuable thoughts.

Due to this format and the extent of it, I will only mention a few of them that were key factors on my decision of gravitating towards a different solution.

Interview Insights:

SEO/birdlife pic: SEO/birdlife’s website

Juan Carlos Atienza, Head of Environmental Governance.

Unfortunetly science tells us Climate change is irreversible, but we can still change our ways so that the effects don’t grow so big it becomes really hard to live on it.
What is causing climate change is the production and consumption model we have. It’s not just about energetic policies but also consuming less in general.
Citizenship can make an impact through their consumption.
We need to change and fast.
I find it difficult for SEO/Bridlife to join another platform, we have so much work and actions & campaings we develop, we are overloaded with work.
ONGAWA pic: ONGAWA’S website

Itziar Rosado, Human development Ingeneere at ONGAWA

What urges the most is stopping this “Emission Maschine”.
We should worry about slowing down global warming and the seriousness and intensity of the consequences.
Blaming governments and institutions is very naive. We as citizens have the choice of giving or taking back their power. Even though we sometimes don’t believe it.
Life is better when we put life in the center, by going through our ways of consumption including leisure.
We should stop using fossils as base to generate our energy.
Citizens should organize themselves against richness concentration that generates inequality and controls legislations.

As a conclusion for all my interviews, I realized that what citizens can do and would impact on a massive scale on the world, is to make a conscious choice on the way they consume.

Problem statement:

At this point, I stated the focal point on the solution:

To Generate a positive impact on climate change by the way we consume.

Diverging and Ideating

I found myself at the end of the first diamond. The exploration part was almost over, I had Discovered and empathized and also defined the objective with the help of the insights generated during the process.

In order to start developing and brainstorming I created User Personas, Customer Journeys, and Empathy maps. They helped me with the task, being the User persona the most useful one.

By creating potential targets and their archetype, I got hints of dos and don’ts for the ideation part.

User Persona

I already had all I needed in order to start the ideation process so I put all my ideas together and did a brainstorming where I wrote all the ideas, definitions, etc. that I thought the solution could have.

With that list in mind, I proceeded to do a MoSCoW, a creative methodology where we get to identify the possible solution by defining it on these categories: Must, Should, Could, Won’t. Answering these questions helps us visualize a clear idea. I have to say is one of my favorite ideation methods, I find it extremely helpful.

MoSCoW: Ideation method

Idea

After that I had already a clear idea of my solution so I defined it :

  • An app that compares products based on CO2 emissions. If we scan or search a product, this app will tell you how much of an impact it has on the world climate change wise.
  • It should show alternative products that are better for our environment.
  • A big part of the app is to inform about the situation, how CO2 destroys our world and how much of a difference our choice would make.
  • I wanted it to have a ludic feel.
  • Contamination should be visualized on the design and be organic.
  • The app should use artificial intelligence.
  • Show users progress during the weeks & months to encourage them.
  • A list of favorites is a must, there the user would save all the liked items.
  • It should be able to search by barcode, QR, type, and voice.

Design:

Logo Change

I chose a very simple and direct name that could be a reminiscence of an ONG, CHANGE, in capital letters to make a loud statement, a shout out.

The color I chose, electric blue, symbolizes what we are risking, our oceans & rivers are at risk suffering the most with the pollution and CO2 emissions. Also our blues skies and clean air.

Color style created with zero height

The C with the “dot” icon I created, was inspired by the main feature of the app. I designed a wheel that shows the CO2 emission and by rotating it, we can see different options. Below is that feature page I called it “CO2 meter”.

The icon rotates and changes color together with the indicator wheel.

Icon from the logo, used at its 4 states

App

I decided to create the app extremely clean and easy to use, So I went for a neomorphism style. As I listed on the Idea I wanted the app to be organic, to transform and show the contamination of our product, so I came up with the idea of making the color switch depending on the CO2.

CO2 meter on its 3 states

The scanned product would create, this way if the contamination was moderate, the color would be white and the wheel would show a green color. For the moderate products, the background color would transform into a light grey and orange for the Indication wheel. High-risk products would be shown with a dark grey background and a red wheel.

This section also contains information on why the product contaminated and allows the users to turn the wheel and display other options.

Information

Informing our users on the problematic and how important it is to choose wisely, I decided to make the Information page the onboarding one.

So It would be the first thing users see once they open the app.

Onboarding Information slide

This section is a reminiscence of a stories feed as seen on Instagram; a carousel of images with important messages would rotate randomly. The intention is that each time the user opens the app, a different message is shown.

It also has a button that by clicking it, would take us to a more detailed page of information on the matter.

Scanner & search

In order to check a product, there are two options one would be scanning it or searching by name. In order to make the app profitable, the search by name option would be for the premium paid version of the app.

The process is very simple once you click on the scan button, the app would open the camera and scan the product’s barcode, and automatically open the CO2 meter showing the result of the product scanned as I explained earlier.

Scanner

Favorites

Users have a choice to save the product on a favorite list so they can access the information anytime they want.

This list also uses colors to qualify the products. By clicking on them it will open the CO2 meter with more detailed information.

Favorites & Print

Print

This section is where users get to see their results based on the choices they’ve made. Once a product is added to favorites it automatically counts as a used product. Seeing the visual representation helps the users to take consciousness of their actions and is also rewarding when they manage to keep down their use. This graph is very simple but a more detailed one with options to add other consumptions such as electricity, gas, etc., would be available on the premium version.

Grid, columns, format

The app was designed for android following the Material Design guidelines. Which would be 8px grid, 4columns,etc. you can learn more about it by clicking here.

Grids & columns

I also worked with components using atomic design, in order to work more efficiently. It was tedious as I had to do three versions: light, medium and dark backgrounds.

Components

Testing

Testing out the prototype was a bit of a challenge since the prototype couldn't really scan or show results. Instead, I created a simulation where users would see the picture being taken.

The feedback was really good, I interviewed 6 people and all of them enjoyed the simplicity and use of the app. They loved the idea and were really keen to use it for real. Some suggested it could be nice to incorporate a section where users could compare two products.

Future work

In order to develop further the app, I would first create the premium version of it, maybe taking into account the option of comparing products one to another. I also wanted to create a website version of the app, which of course would have to work in a different way.

And in order to make it a reality, I had in mind developing further the marketing and business side of the project before showing it to potential investors.

Conclusions

I'm very pleased with the result, making a Design Thinking in only two weeks is a big challenge, as users and experts are the ones that give us the core information for the project, interviewing people could be difficult in such short notice but it definitely paid out. This project changed completely for the better thanks to the people I interviewed ( Lucía, Diego, Iris, Itziar Rosado, and Juan Carlos Atienza), they made a pledge to work and live for a better world and hopefully the energy and thrive that this project has given me, won't wear out. Like Itziar told me:

“Since when something difficult has been a problem to humankind”.

Its time to change.


Climate Change: We can’t help it but can mitigate it. was originally published in UX Planet on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.