I created this app prototype for a UI/UX class. Our prompt was to create an interface that incorporated the Internet of Things to address a problem. I chose to focus on water conservation, because I'm always looking for ways to reduce my environmental footprint.
I often fall into the trap of thinking that because I'm only one person, I can't make much of an impact. My vision for this app is to provide a way to make that impact measurable, and to allow users to see that their efforts, added together with everyone else's, really can make a difference.
This app would primarily be used by young people who enjoy a challenge and enjoy gaming apps and friendly competition. They would also be interested in the environment and conservation.
Before I began designing the app, I did some research on the global water scarcity crisis caused by population growth. It turns out that 1 in 9 people across the globe do not have access to clean drinking water, and water shortages in the U.S. are expected to increase within the next 10 years. Meanwhile, the average American uses 88 gallons of water per day.
3. Sketches & concept
My initial concept was to allow users to track their water and electricity usage for each of their household appliances. They would also be able to set goals, and the app would donate money to water conservation charities as they met their goals.
I later decided to simplify the app and just focus on water. I also realized that it wouldn't be helpful for users to see which appliances were using the most water unless they could actively do something about it.
I kept the features that allowed users to set goals for themselves and raise money for charities. However, instead of giving them a list of statistics about their appliances, I decided it would be much more engaging to allow them to compete with their friends in specific and measurable competitions. These kinds of actionable tasks would be the motivating factor behind their continued use of the app.
I took notice of what made other apps successful. Venmo expertly leverages social media to create a familiar platform for friends to pay each other back; an app called Charity Miles allows users to raise money for an organization just by having the app open while they walk or run; and there are a number of gaming apps that utilize leaderboards to bring out the user's competitive side.
5. Iterations & prototyping
I created a prototype using InVision, and my classmates commented on it with suggestions for streamlining tasks and improving the visual style. In class, a few of them walked me through their thought processes as they attempted to complete various tasks, which played an important role in leading me to my final solution.
6. visual style
I chose turquoise as the dominant color to connect with the app's theme. I also made sure to include plenty of white space so the design could breathe and the user could focus on what is most important.
I made sure to label each screen clearly, because the user should never feel confused about where they are within the app. In my concept video, I also animated visual feedback that indicated to the user that a task had been completed
7. Final Product
The app was successful in providing the user with actionable steps they could take to reduce their water usage, and motivation for taking those steps. I tried to keep the user interface simple and straightforward, and my classmates were able to navigate through the prototype screens intuitively as a result.