2019 - 2020
Designing the app that can save the world
Since the release in 2017 in New South Wales, Australia, we have been releasing the app in other countries. Like most things that relates to the unique situations of governments and its laws, the app has grown too complex for its original structure and it was time for a complete redesign.
After three years on the market with ups and downs, we decided that we have enough data to motivate a redesign and make it tailormade to its users and the future! One thing that was obvious in every market, the Core Loop. The user Identify themselves, Recycle their bottles & cans and reap the Rewards. This had to be in focus, and everything will be built to support it.
My role as the UX Researcher, UX Analyst were to create a userflow that is usable in all markets, align with business goals and that we do not deviate from the user data and proven use cases. The project required me to interview and conduct research with people from all over the world.
What do we have and what do we need?
We had data from previous research, but we had to collect more data to answer questions we previously did not ask. I conducted and performed quantitative and qualitative research. We had to find out how a structure that was flexible enough to work for different combinations and with the strong possibility of new options soon.
The research was split in to different areas:
Users: where we are and where we are going
We had a collection of personas we have built from research in existing markets. Now we were going into uncharted territory with new markets. We had to understand similarities in culture, environment, and previous recycling behavior in future markets.
Different ways of identification.
Different markets have different options, some have all three and some have one. It can depend on the age of the machine fleet, on requirements from the bottle scheme or of the laws in the country.
Recycling & Setup of the bottle scheme.
Countries have different setups of the bottle scheme that makes the physical user journey different. It's something that will reflect in the app's features and options. One example is Norway, where all stores have a reverse vending machine and they own it. Another is the US, where it's common to drop off bags at a recycling facility.
Refunds and Rewards with endless possibilities
Every country has different ways to payout the refund, some don't have refund of money but only points. There can be an isolated system of a school in a country where myTOMRA exists. We can offer anything from a fully automated system to a physical transaction at a physical location.
Understanding where we are and where we are going.
It is amazing that we can offer all these options, but only if we can make sense of it to the end user and to our business cases. I created flowcharts and mapped out everything revolving myTOMRA and its users. Both the digital user journeys as well as the machines. We had to create flowcharts to show how each user journey intertwined into the physical user journey and environments. We involved everyone from the end user to the technicians to understand out what possibilities we had.
Mapping of myTOMRA
Breakdown of use cases
We created an overview of our user behavior from collected data, both qualitative and quantitative data, split into country specific categories. Reviewing our own history, structure, and possibilities to understand what a realistic way forward could be. Resulting in a prototype tech spec flexible enough to work with the complexity we were facing.
Break free from bias and challenge our truths!
If we wanted to create a tailormade user experience from scratch, we had to navigate through bias, business restrictions, technical possibilities and challenge our solutions. We tried ideas that made developers shake their heads and innovative ideas that the world is not ready for, to get to the point where it was realistic and useful. I created a large set of different user flows and layouts to test on the different user groups. Performing user tests with sometimes quite ridiculous wireframes provoked interesting responses.
The tests were focused to test usability but together with the action of recycling. We recruited internally and created fake recycling situations for the subjects.
The testing was split into different categories. Identification tests was critical to know strengths and weaknesses since it's in the Core Loop. The identification methods are depending on the machine layout, as well as the Customer carrying one or more bags with bottles and cans at that stage of the user journey.
The tests would show how a new user (who are being watched) would behave.
The tests would show users behavior in a controlled environment and missing the genuine motivation of a situation. We had also anticipated the lack of graphics would cause the usability overall to be weakened.
Three examples from the Identification tests
Identification: Square Cards
Identification: Corner circles
We found clear patterns on what layouts work when there is more than one identification method but proved less effective when there's only one. Most countries with a deposit scheme today only have one way of identification.
- Wireframes with all identification options available made it more likely for the user to change method, e.g. if there is a queue to the machine.
- Users with their hands full had a hard time reaching top or bottom.
- the scanner at the machine had an easier time catching the barcode if it is lower on the screen.
- Results from layouts with one identification method suggest it should be towards the bottom. It is opposite of the result if there are 2,3 or 4 methods.
We were looking for clues on how to proceed and we picked wireframes with the best results and created initial guidelines for us to work with.
- Identification methods should not be at the very top of the screen.
- Show all methods available to the user.
- All users found identification to be the most vital part of the journey.
Strictly business, a splash of color or maybe a bucket of color?
Finding layouts that would work is one part. Understanding how we would talk to our users with the design will set certain requirements and limitations to the user experience. It must fit the profile of TOMRA to our consumers rather than our customers. I created high-fidelity prototypes to test with users as well as showing the possibilities for designers based on the wireframes.
Picking the concepts were a collaboration together with our designers and stakeholders. All concepts I created had proven layouts but had different pros and cons, some sacrificed discoverability over the core loop and others sacrificed look & feel to gain usability.
The right amount of serious
The apps primary task is to move money, which is something people take seriously. It is also a tool for users to learn more about recycling. Lastly, it is a possibility to make recycling more fun and motivating.
We were gathering feedback on the concepts for weeks and learned a lack of color had too much of a boring bank-app feeling and too much color made it too playful and not serious enough. We had to find a way to keep the seriousness on the serious parts and separate the playfulness.
Four examples from the Mood tests
Concept: Splash of color
Concept: Bucket of color
We learned that the Core loop is important to have in a clear and serious manner. Users preferred that all subpages had color and fun elements to it. It is not an easy task for a recycling company to create a serious and playful app!
Design and development
Creating with knowledge
After the user tests we found what is most critical about the core loop and how to structure it to make it more obvious for the users. With the mood tests we discovered how we can enhance each section with design and iconography. It helped us create a separation between important and fun without interrupting the core user journey.
After the wireframe and concept testing, we started on the design and planning development. At this stage I'm involved with user testing the final designs.
The redesign is still ongoing.