Mo’ Green, Mo’ Problems

To assess alternative features and functionality for our app, this week we expanded the scope of our problem identification. We conducted further user interviews to understand what overarching problems our users are having in their sustainability journey outside of just issues in the buying process. Some further issues we identified include:

  1. Guilt and decision fatigue. Users enter a loop where they are constantly sorting through new information, they become exhausted from constant decision making and not understanding the impact they’ve made, then feel guilt for not making an impact, which starts the cycle all over again. Some functions we think out app could have to solve these problems include:
  2. Aggregation of production information
  3. Tracking and visualization of progress
  4. Social component to learn from or compete with peers
  1. Competing goals. We also discovered that users have different sustainability focuses and have different thresholds for when price or other functions outweigh sustainability. Providing information that doesn’t align with a user’s goals can further add to the information overload and guilt when changes are not integrated into their lives. We think the following functions could address this problem:
    • Sorting of product suggestions based on user-input criteria
    • Providing behavioral alternatives and education rather than just product suggestions (e.g. “use hand towels” as a suggested swap for buying paper towels)

The competing goals discovery also highlighted that there are many metrics sustainability users are weighing to make their decisions. Through user interviews with various consumers, including those both new and seasoned in sustainability practices, we tried to hone in on which metrics users are currently using to make their purchasing decisions. Here’s what we came up with:

  1. Manufacturing practices
  2. Transportation of the product
  3. Packaging
  4. Product life (to reduce waste)
  5. Brand transparency and mission

If you have other metrics you use, let us know! 

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