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E-waste Scanner

Project duration - 12 Weeks
My Role - User research, Information Architecture, Interaction Design, and Visual Design.

Methods - User research, Needs analysis, Affinity mapping, Persona, Empathy Map, User journey, Ideation, Mind map, Flow chart, Wireframe, Prototype, Visual design, User testing.
Tools - Miro, Paper, Pencil, Adobe XD, and Photoshop.
Team - Four members.

The Problem -
The world has experienced an explosive growth of e-waste. Over the past nine years, e-waste accumulation worldwide has nearly doubled.  In 2016, 49.3 million tonnes of waste were accumulated, according to the United Nations University, an organization monitoring the issue. According to current estimates, the annual total will exceed 57 million tons by 2021. Less than 40% of the total e-waste generated in the EU is recycled. Waste electrical and electronic equipment (commonly known as WEEE or e-waste) is increasing rapidly in the EU. Currently, it is among the most rapidly growing waste streams.

Goal- 
A primary objective of this study is to understand people, their recycling habits and provide a solution to encourage them to recycle or donate old devices.

The Process -

My process will differ with different projects and will be affected by various things such as the project goals, business needs, complexity of the problem, time, etc. I followed the double diamond framework for the E-waste project. The British council introduced this process in 2005.

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Discover

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Define

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Develop

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Deliver

At the discovery stage, we gather data about E-waste, its effect on the environment. What happens to the outdated electronic items. The idea of this phase was to collate all the information and problems related to the E-waste cycle. This stage consists of user research and problem identification, and user interviews. We identified different user groups such as product/industrial designers, end-user, retailers, and refurbished shop owners. Due to the covid and limited time frame of the project, it was not possible for us to interview a person from each user group. We interviewed eight users.

Interview questions - 

General questions

  • Occupation?

  • How many electronic devices do you currently own and why?

  • What type of electronic devices used by households in rural & urban areas.

  • How much awareness and knowledge exists among people regarding e-waste.

  • Are they ready to participate in e-waste management?

  • electronic waste requires special treatment before disposal? Are people aware of it

  • Do you have any knowledge about e-waste?

  • What are the reasons for changing electronic devices?

  • Are you aware of the environmental problems caused by e-waste

  • Would you want more education about e-waste?

  • Are you willing to participate in e-waste management programs

  • Would you like to earn some points by recycling e-waste?

Interview questions - 

Electronic shop owner

  • Do you buy and refurbish electrical devices for reselling? What type of devices can be refurbished?

  • What is the standard for the used devices that you can buy?

  • How do you evaluate the price of the device when buying?

  • What is the most common device you can buy?

  • How do you advertise your service?

  • Do you participate in any recycling schemes? (if yes, do you know where the old materials are recycled)

  • What do you do with parts that are no longer useful? How easy is it for you to recycle?

Industrial Designer

  • Is there recycled material used in the production of your products?

  • Do you consider how a customer will dispose of your product when you are designing a new product?

  • What problems arise when using recycled materials in a new product design, and is it costly?

  • What would you hope would be happening with e-waste 100 years in the future?

  • If you were a team member on this project, what would you like to advise us?

We had almost fifty findings from our research and interviews. As a team of four members, we collate extensive data and a lot of pain points and needs. Even we were amazed by our findings, how sometimes people creatively used their old devices.

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To make sense of the data, we tied them together with similar findings. It enabled us to synthesize what has been learned from the interviews. (Affinity Mapping)

The cluster is as follows:

Pricing system for the second-hand product, Motivation to recycle, WEEE education, Recycling transparency, Awareness of E-waste, Reliable second hands option, Convenient recycling, Donate, 
Repair, Creative ways to reduce E-waste, Other 

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Further, we drilled down findings into three main categories.
Awareness 
Recycle 
Reduce & Repair

Then, framed those findings in primary needs & sub needs.

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In the Define stage, I started to analyze data and make sense of it. Ideas and findings were reduced, and I started focusing on Desirable, Viable, and Fesiable results. In this process, we came up with two personas based on research findings. 

Based on research, interviews, and persona, I filled four quadrants of the Empathy Map with my fellow team members, what the user said, what they were thinking, what they do, and what they feel while doing it. I realized that Empathy Mapping's success is based on how, as a designer, I interpret users' behavior, emotions, and body language. It helped me understand the user better, shared common understanding within our team, and prioritized our key findings. 

Journey mapping is a process to explore all the touchpoints, actions, emotions, and thoughts to create the narrative. Based on journey mapping insights, opportunities are created, and how the user experience can be optimized for a service, what are the most significant opportunities and unmet needs of a service.

In the develop phase, I generated many ideas. The key to the ideation process is no idea is wrong or right. We came up with different good and worst ideas; I challenged the assumption. At this stage, I was focusing on the number of ideas rather than quality. It was a fun session. I used the brain-writing and role-play technique to generate more ideas. The four of us came up with many ideas, and then we grouped them, which gave us a better idea of what could be Desirable, Viable, and Feasible. Finally, we voted on what we thought was the best idea.

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I used the mind map technique to come up with all the possible feature lists and know the relation between each feature and how they are interconnected. I created tons of features using a mind map and also kill some of them that I thought were not making sense. Mind map created using "Miro."

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After that, team members and I created a flowchart, which helped us understand functionality better and organize the content within the app.

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I was responsible for creating the wireframe and prototype. I used Adobe XD for prototyping. First, I started exploring the concept in the paper. It is an easy medium to explore possible interface ideas. I was able to think about the different types of layouts on paper. Finally, I stumbled on the amazing layout

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We conducted user testing with the prototype and found some interesting insights from the user. Then, I updated the wireframe according to the feedback. There are times when our assumptions do not match the mental model of the user. 

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In the delivery phase, I created a high-fidelity prototype of an E-waste Scanner. I designed the E-scanner app in adobe XD. Designing an app from scratch is a challenging task. I had to consider Font, Font-size, color, layout, shadows, images that I used, even icons. Some icons were created in Adobe XD.

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The following infographic illustrates how a user uses an E-waste scanner app. Different color indicates a different stress level. To create an infographic, I used Adobe Illustrator. 

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The customer has

a lot of electronic waste

Customer download the E-waste scanner app

Customer adds the E-waste item that are supposed to be recycle

Customer waits for delivery man to collect the E-waste

Delivery man collects the E-waste

Customer gets money after recycling E-waste

Repaired items are delivered to the owners

Broken electronic devices are being repaired.

Final Say

Overall, reflecting on the process helped me understand that several things could be done differently, such as spending some time in the discovery phase to think whether we are doing things correctly? Do we need to validate our assumptions? Exploring primary and secondary persona and mapping out their journey is important by doing this activity, we will know about the pain points and hidden opportunities to grow business.
Spend more time in the ideation phase and analyze the idea. When we as a team select the idea, always think about the whole ecosystem don't rush to the conclusion. Never forget about the business goals and how they relate to the UX.
 

Thanks for taking the time to read this.

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