Research, UX / UI Design
Sustainability | Gamification | APP Design | Off-line >> On-line
Empower Gen-Z college students to be more green with universities' resources
Climate change is an important issue especially for Generation Z, “41% of respondents rank climate change as the most important issue the world is facing today” (from Amnesty International Survey). In fact, most of them barely take action in their daily college life. Beeco is a school team project collaborated with R/GA to tackle the following challenge:
How might a university design a differentiating college experience that enables students to participate in the green economy as part of their education?
Beeco is a mobile app empowering college students to be more sustainable by making climate action more available in their daily lives and showing the effect of their actions.
HOW WE GOT HERE
1. Why do Gen-Z students care about climate change but don't take action in college?
We began by using the stakeholder map to understand the connection between schools and students regarding the green economy. These include stakeholders who are in direct contact with students and can influence their behavior and thoughts, as well as those who are indirectly or no in contact with students.
Stakeholder map related to sustainability
2.Schools: Most of the resources related to sustainability are not accessible
Based on research, more and more universities and colleges are taking steps to make their campus more sustainable by implementing Climate Action Plans and pledging to be carbon neutral by 2035. To better understand the current situations of the university’s sustainability progress, we researched and analyzed sustainability-related resources of 6 universities and classified them.
We found that over 80% of the resources related to sustainability are inaccessible or require more effort to use for average students. And most of those resources only serve students who study related majors.
School Resources Categorization
Matrixes Analysis for Accessibility of Schools' Resources
3. It's not easy being green!
Our team recruited 8 Gen Z students to interview who are diverse in age, interests, and degrees. From these students, we learned more about their attitudes and execution about climate change, their daily college life, and their motivations. We got four key insights from our interview:
#1 They are busy and not willing to make big sacrifices.
#2 They avoid it because they feel overwhelmed and stressed.
#3 They don’t know where to start and how to take action.
#4 They believe the individual's efforts are meaningless.
To scale down the range of our priority users and be focused, we use empathy map analysis and user grouping to find opportunities. We divided students into four groups based on their current execution level related to climate change.
FOUR USER GROUPS
TARGET USER GROUP
We decided to choose the potential activists as our main target users because of the flowing reasons:
• They are interested and understand the importance of climate action
• They are currently not utilizing universities’ resources as much as the Influencers to help them participate
• They have the largest number and can influence other groups
We mapped four groups of users with different matrixes based on influence, stress, interest in climate change to see some patterns. We found two interesting key insights:
• Students who take more action feel less stressful
• They are easily influenced by their friends in their behavior
Climate change is a big topic. Facing our problem statement, the biggest challenge for us is to narrow it down in the right direction. So we organized all of our insights to define the design guide and began to ideate different ideas by using brainstorming and storyboard.
BRAINSTORMED THE EXPERIENCE
We brainstormed different design solutions that not only guide them to be more green but also fit their school-life behaviors.
In this first version of ideation, we focused heavily on the idea of creating data visuals of the student body’s impact to motivate more students to participate. We tested the storyboard with 3 Gen Z students. Due to feedback and feasibility, we pivoted to focus on the mobile application experience of the concept rather than the visualizations on campus.
05 - USER TESTING
After finished the prototype, We tested this idea with Eco-reps of Columbia University who is a student organization that promotes sustainable behavior to students and implement green initiatives on Columbia’s campus.
We not only got valuable feedback on the design solution but also learned a lot about their challenges in promoting sustainability to students.
06 - ITERATING
User Flow one: Discover challenges
• Find the green challenges that fit different students' interests and schedules. Add challenges to the challenges list.
• Check the information on the challenges to know how big the impact can be when finished.
User Flow Two: Push notification
• Get helpful notifications for impending challenges
• Show the code on the app to record and get eco-points when completing challenges
• Unlocked eco-rewards when hit certain eco-points milestones
User Flow Three: Individual & school progress
• Track individual students' sustainability progress and impact on the environment.
• Check and supervise the progress of the school's sustainability plan.
Not only is Beeco empowering students, but it is a valuable tool for the university.
• New data stream for tracking the university’s carbon emissions and progress in achieving their Climate Action Plan goals.
• Understanding of how the student body is using on-campus resources. Universities can shift allocation to gaps in resources.
• Increase in university reputation. By being a sustainable and environmentally conscious campus the university can gain positive press and interest.
To measure success after this product being launched, there are a few key numbers we can take a look at:
• Conversion Rate: moving from the home page to the challenge details page.
• Number of check-ins per day.
• Qualitative accounts of how awareness and participation of sustainability have improved with our product.