A game-based application that reminds you to recycling once a week, create a checklist to help you recycle, learn how to categorize trash, try creative ways to reproduce and design your old stuff, as well as play a recycle game with your friends and neighbors.

What for? 

– Personal 2016 Thesis Project

Role Played?

– In charge of all design process: UX, UI, Interactive and Visual Design

Who Designed for?

– Boston area residents

Steps Performed?

– Research, Strategy, Storytelling, User Flow, Wireframe, User Testing, Solutions, Prototype

Problems Analysis

Every day every one person generates over 4 pounds of trash and around 1.5 tons of solid waste yearly. Further, Americans make more than 200 million tons of garbage every year. The EPA reports that 75% of the American waste stream is recyclable.

When looking at the American cities, San Francisco is boasting the highest recycling rate – 80%. The city requires San Francisco residents and businesses to properly sort recyclables from compostables and keep them out of the trash to landfill and place them in the proper collection containers.

However, comparing to San Francisco and other cities, Boston is a low performer of recycling since fewer than 1 in 5 pieces of household waste gets recycled, less than in other large cities around the USA.

Therefore, in order to educate and help people recycle more conveniently, as well as motivate more people to recycle, I planned to design a mobile app to help Boston improving recycling rate and approaching to zero waste.

  • Provide a new and more interesting device for Boston people to live a recycling life.
  • Offer an interactive way for users to make them feel comfortable to recycle or even play a recycling game with their friends and around their neighborhood.
  • Help users know more about recycling and how to categorize the trash they generate every day.
  • Help users build a good recycling habit through their daily life.
  • Assist raising the recycling rate of Boston.
  1. Research
  2. Strategies
  3. Storytelling (User Flow)
  4. Lo – Fi Wireframe
  5. User Testing & Analysis
  6. Solutions
  7. Finalize Visual & Interactive Design
  8. Further Design (Promotion Design, Infographic)
Research + Persona + Scenario

Before I started persona and scenario, I processed a regular survey about recycling to know more about my target users, how they usually behave concerning recycling in their life. The survey was also a way to know why some people cared about the environment but others not, how different neighborhood of Boston complied with recycling. Here are the results I got:

After I collected the research result, I came up with three personas and  typical scenarios about how each persona will use my app.

User Flow + Lo-Fi Wireframe

First – Round User Testing

The purpose of this first round usability test is to find out what works, what doesn’t and how I can improve this app to meet the users’ needs from the capability standpoint.

  • Tasks

  • Result Summary

Visual Design
  • Logo Design

Name Origin

  1. As people who recycle, we live a recycling life.
  2. For items people recycle or reuse to make new products, we give “new life” to them.

Therefore, I named my app “Re-Life“.

  • Typography

  • Colors – Watercolor style

Second – round User Testing

For the 2nd round of user testing, I tested different users from the first round’s in order to get the fresh and new feedback about both functional and visual aspects.

  • Tasks

  • Result Summary

High – Fi Prototype
  • Welcome screens
  • Log In & Sign Up
  • My Record screens – Menu & Reminder
  • My Record screens – Add & Complete new recycling lists
  • My Record screens – Recycling Rank
  • Material Directory screens
  • DIY / Upcycling
  • Recycling Events
  • Search
Walk – through DEMO  (code: 3dhu)

Promotion Design

When users raise their recycling levels to higher levels, there will be Thank-You gifts sent to them according to the recycling records in their Re-Life accounts. Below are some rewards I designed for Re-Life users,

  • Eco Bag & Canvas Bag, as a motivation to encourage people to use recyclable bags in their daily life.

  • Sustainable Mug, Notebooks and Badges

Recycling Story Map

During both 1st and 2nd rounds of user testing, I was testing some international students from different countries. It was interesting that each student had a different reaction to recycling because recycling situation was unique. Here is the recycling situation in their countries they described.

Check out the RE-LIFE app website to know more details