By Audrey Tseng, Miranda Ma, Tia Pham, Xiang Liu
Problem and Solution Overview
Incoming students to the University of Washington face many new experiences as they transition through a new school year. In particular, students may be unfamiliar with garbage disposal practices in Washington as a large portion of the student body is made up of out-of-state and international students. As Washington has a higher rate of recycling and composting as compared to the rest of the nation and many other countries, we aim to provide a pain-free introduction to the subject. Our proposed solution is a new, online waste sorting education curriculum for incoming University of Washington students.
Proposed Design: Husky Waste!
Husky Waste! is an education curriculum that will be integrated into the orientation schedule and includes tasks that incoming students at the University of Washington will need to complete on their checklist of items for orientation. To incentivize students to engage and complete the modules, we will provide a free dining hall food coupon for completion. The curriculum will go through sorting examples of items on campus, especially food-contaminated items with a focus on recycling and composting education.
We had 3 participants for our paper prototype usability testing. For each of our participants, we had them complete the two primary tasks that our desktop application aims to combat with Waste Sorting:
- Discovering the measures of impact from practicing proper waste disposal
- Assistance with disposing items on campus
In our usability testing we noticed that our users had trouble with the following:
- Interacting with the ‘Impact’ Sections of each of the Modules — for all 3 of our users, it was unclear why the section was considered a “pop-up” in the Practice-It section, especially since it was a task that we wanted them to interact with. Each user suggested that we either make it stand out more by placing it within the main learning section, or create a separate learning module/section for the impacts so it was clear to the user.
- Rewards Section was unclear on how/when to interact with it, and also suggested that the user had options/ways to get higher point values. User #2 mentioned that this could create feelings of frustration, and potentially cause users to think it was pointless if they’re only able to redeem a $5 coupon with their reward points. User #3 suggested that the desktop application automatically calculate a coupon to provide the user, and just present that one option so there are no comparisons being made.
As a result, we made the following changes for our final paper prototype:
- Incorporate the Impacts Section to be within the main learning section of the module..
- Creating a finish button on the Impacts page after the user is completed, so they can officially be done with the section at hand..
- The Rewards Button will be grayed out on the main page until the user completes all 3 of the modules.
Pictured below is our final digital prototype that we have created for Husky Waste, which aims to educate new students at the University of Washington on Washington state’s waste guidelines.
Key Features and Tasks:
Our design is interactive and intended for students to feel incentivized and empowered to make the right decisions while disposing their waste here on UW Campus. Through the easy-to-read and condensed information and questions to synthesize answers, our design is simple and allows students to take away the information needed to confidently approach waste sorting as they continue their educational journey in Washington State.
Task 1: Measures of impact from practicing proper waste disposal
After clicking on the loading screen (Figure 1), you’ll be directed to the Dashboard (Figure 2).
Although the ‘Redeem’ button is visible, the button is grayed out so the user only has the option to click on one of the learning modules to start and complete the learning modules above.
On the Dashboard, you can choose to start any of the three modules. To find the Impacts of Recycling (for example), click “Let’s Recycle” to learn about the impacts of Recycling properly on campus (Figure 3).
After the main text for what can be recycled on campus, there is a new section at the bottom on the left labeled ‘Impact of Recycling’, so users can explicitly read and pay attention to why it’s important to recycle the items on campus.
Users can practice the knowledge they’ve learned with the mini pop-ups on the right side, which will allow them to gain points. If they click a wrong answer, they will either see Figure 3a, or upon clicking a right answer, they will see Figure 3b. Figure 3a allows them to try again!
Task 2: Assistance with disposing items on campus
After visiting Figure 1 and 2 (loading page and dashboard), since the user needs help determining what can be composted or recycled on campus, they can visit Figure 3 (Recycling), and also click the “Finish” button once they’ve completed all the questions and read all the information on Figure 3 to return to Figure 2. Dashboard. The user wants to learn what can be composted, so they click into the “Compost” button, bringing them to the Food/Yard Waste Module (Figure 4).
Similarly to the description in Figure 3, users are able to interact with the module by reading through content, and testing themselves in the Practice-It pop ups section on the right.The user is educated and encouraged to think about the specific food containers found on campus and how they can be properly disposed of.
After finishing the Food and Yard Waste module, the user clicks “Finish” which brings them to the Dashboard (Figure 2). They click on “Garbage”, which transports them to the Garbage Module (Figure 5).
After all the questions are answered, the ‘Finish’ button will be solid for the user to click on to return to the landing page. All the finished modules will be grayed out, so the redeem button will be the only thing left to click (Figure 6).
After completing the Garbage Module, which is similar to the Food/Yard Waste and Recycling Modules, users will be transported back to Figure 6. which shows a completed version of all the modules, and can go to Figure 7, which will allow them to redeem and finish the program. The user has now learned to properly sort their waste on campus and is ready to start their educational journey at the University of Washington with this waste sorting knowledge.
Implementation and Design Changes
During our user research, we found out that it is common amongst out of state and international students to have experienced some difficulty sorting waste or have different waste sorting guidelines at home. Therefore, we proposed Husky Waste!, an interactive waste sorting learning module for new UW students. We envision future Huskies learning from this module their orientation week on campus and applying what they learned at the dining halls, the Ave, and in other locations beyond campus. Even after their first year on campus, Husky Waste! is intended to be the waste sorting guide for all Huskies.