Making Composting Calculations Easy & Accessible
Design: Creating a landing page, personal dashboard and calculator
Timeframe: 2 weeks
Role: Team of 4, UX Designer
Tools: Balsamiq | Axure | Optimal Workshop
Deliverables: competitive analysis | heuristic evaluation | user interviews | user profile | user flow | (2) proto personas | wireframes | usability testing | card sort | Figma hi-fi clickable mockup
4 PROTOTYPE/ MOCKUPS
CompostCalc is a PWA (Progressive Web App) that calculates optimal recipes through their composting calculator. This calculator delivers optimal compost recipes based on data levels of feedstock. The calculator provides the importance to control feedstock; to maintain a nutrient balance of nitrogen heavy organic materials that contain large amounts of carbon (wood chips and leaves) which is the C to N ratio. As well as maintaining an adequate amount of moisture, oxygen flow and temperature: by turning the compost or aerating the pile.
PROBLEM: there's a lack of convenient, easy-to-use and collaborative tool for calculating compost recipes
SOLUTION: create an engaging and intuitive site that allows users to calculate, save and keep track of custom composting recipes.
hi-fi clickable mockups
add recipes/ custom feedstock page
calculator & metric system
create account page
log in page
saved recipes page
My team and I wanted to see what other companies were comparable to CompostCalc and we found 3.
- Free options are more geared towards backyard composting or small scales.
Morning Chores provides feedstock materials upfront
Urban Worm gives in-depth explanation of optimal measurements.
Green Mountain doesn't show anything unless you pay $69.99 upfront.
Even though these calculators exist, people who are more experienced in composting refer to their own spreadsheets and internal sources for calculations; based on their knowledge of what the optimal recipes are according to each feedstock.
Conducted a heuristic evaluation of the current CompostCalc platform. We wanted to gain a better understand of how it works and an initial idea of some pain points that stood out form the get-go.
- Heuristic Evaluation is a thorough assessment of the website to detect usability errors.
GOALS FROM CLIENTS
- We were given great insight to what their ultimate goals were in building this platform and all that's important to them.
We were able to interview 6 people, all of which were, in present times, all over the world. We spoke to:
Antoine: who's currently in Lebanon, but travels back and forth to Columbia for his composting startups
Kourtnii: who's in California was more focused on composting within underserved communities
Felipe: who's in Brazil, been in the composting industry for 10+ years
Leah: who's in Bronx, NY was a smaller scale, backyard community composter
Kat: who's in Raleigh, NC works at CompostNow and educates composting beginners
Victor: who's in Jalisco, MX partners with local establishments to divert waste from going to landfills
- Our clients were gracious enough to provide my team and I a list of names; those that they have worked with in the past or just their network of composting friends.
People think compost is just manure. They don't understand the process."
Most composters track recipes via excel spreadsheets or physical books
7/9 have utilized a composting calculator but no more than 11 times throughout their career
7/9 mentioned they rely on the Cornell composting database for calculations
There is currently no main database where composters can search for and share custom recipes
9/9 were excited about the calculator and its potential to reshape the composting industry
"People are greedy with their compost recipes."
From the insights of the research and data synthesis, we created 2 proto personas. One is a teacher who is passionate and has great knowledge in composting and the environment. Second persona is very eco-friendly and is learning about composting but has frustrations with the recipes.
MEET THE USERS:
- The 2 personas rely on key insights from the research process and highlights the importance areas.
Use Case: "Show us how you would use this calculator"
After getting some background information and insight from our interviewees, we proceeded to asking them if they would participate in a usability testing of the current CompostCalc site. Thankfully, they obliged.
- The reason why we chose such a simple use case was because there aren't many features built out on the platform.
"Modern, fresh way of calculating"
Fun to use
Provides instant moisture, c:n ratio, and bulk density upon data input
Recipe results are clear
Feedstock categorization is misleading
Not familiar w/ CY (cubic yard)
No options for metric system conversions
Can't remove water from equation (not always required)
Not enough Feedstock options
Difficult to navigate
Can't edit saved recipes
No data stamps for saved recipes
No search function
Allows input of (-) amounts
USER FLOW &
We identified some pain points from the current CompostCalc site. Some of the pain points the users were caught off-guard were:
no back button from the calculator page
can't edit currently saved recipes
no conversion for the metric system
We then proceeded to conducting an open and closed card sorts.
Open, we provided the cards and the users created their own categories
Closed, we provided both cards and categories
Closed Card Sort
- It was interesting to see that those working with calculations of composting sorted their cards similarly.
Open Card Sort
These were some early sketches of what I visioned the calculator/ feedstock/ recipe pages would look like. As a team, we came together and put our brainstorming ideas to use.
Early sketches for proof of concept
Layout of the calculator / feedstock page
Recipe page w/ c:n, moisture, air ratios
Landing homepage where you can access the calculator directly, go to 'Dashboard', or learn more about CompostCalc.
Dashboard page where you can access 'Recipe Archive', 'Environmental Impact' and 'Recommended Recipes'.
Log In page to access your personal dashboard and/or calculator.
Calculator page w/ c:n, moisture, air ratios; feedstock options and calculations
3 HI-FI MOCKUP
If There Was More Time Available...
Some recommendations and future next steps my team and I would like to advise would be to:
Offer a 3-Tier Membership, which consists of
1st: free use of calculator
2nd: Create an account and you can save and track 10 free recipes
3rd: Pay for a Premium Membership for a fee and enjoy all the features CompostCalc has to offer
Shared Recipes section so the users have access to shared recipes from the composting community
Offer more feedstock options as well as adding new feedstock to the calculator
My team and I were in contact with the client(s) from beginning to end. It was exhilarating to get hands-on, real-life practice. The members of my team all chose this subject as their first choice. We all had one thing in common: which was beginners interest in composting, recycling, and anything eco friendly. This project has pushed all 4 of us to dive deeper into composting. My husband and I are teaching my daughter, Zion, the importance of recycling at the ripe toddler age of 2. A few weeks before the kickstart of this final project, my husband and I were getting obsessed with gardening, again, teaching Zion, and this project, CompostCalc, could not have come at a more perfect time. I believe I can speak for my team and I, when I say, I learned a TON from the clients, their network and community they introduced us to, and that this topic has opened a whole new world for me.