Eco Guru

Over the last few decades, our environment has been becoming increasingly exposed to a number of threats and problems. We discussed, that in order to make an extensive change and impact on how we treat our planet, we would have to alter our habits and inspire others to do so through education and awareness, helping each other towards our collective mission to tranform ourselves into a healthier version of ourselves with a more sustainable lifestyle. This would encompass so many different aspects of our lifestyle. From spiritual to dietary, to physical wellbeing.

When I spent my 2008 Christmas holiday in the Amazon rainforest, I got to hang out with the locals in the village of Chino outside of our Tahuayo lodge, including the shaman. I was on an expedition to build a clinic to help locals heal from health-related complications they needed to take care of and didn't have the remedies for. I know there were many natural remedies to stop snake venom or suppress it, but a group of dentists needed to help locals take care of their teeth or other complex issues such as broken bones. The clinic has grown exponentially since the last time we were there. However, I understand that it is essential to maintain natural resources and methods of healing and combine our methods to come up with holistic treatments, training our minds to be able to self-heal, and self-heal faster. That is why shamans believe anything is poison and focus on herbal remedies that keep them connected to nature. We need nature to survive. I also believe that animals are there to navigate us when it comes to us developing the need for these poisons, and free ourselves of them to keep those in moderation to live better lives. But this is something I am trying to address in another project in my portfolio.

In this project, we investigated some of these issues. We brought a technical solution for people who would like to alter their habits to learn how to adopt a more eco-friendly lifestyle. We evaluated a few environmental applications, interviewed potential users who have grown concerned about the Earth-harming impact of their lifestyles, and shadowed them. At the same time, they used one of the competitor's applications. By asking them to rank environmental issues based on their severity, we discovered that global warming, overpopulation, and pollution were some of the most common problems at the top of the list. We also found that the public's consumerism and lack of motivation significantly contribute to these issues. We took the following product design process and tools:

Tools Used:

Sketching Board, Photoshop, Illustrator,, Mural, Survey Monkey


Protect the environment locally and globally from some harmful effects of daily human activities. Give users a better view of their lifestyle and its environmental impact while giving them ideas and solutions to live with a more environmentally conscious mindset.


Do users feel more informed and inspired to retain an environmentally friendly lifestyle? Can they learn something new about ecosystems of interest through fun activities? To measure this, we will conduct two different testing sessions, and one will focus on how long they remain using the app prototype to keep finding more information. After the testing, we will ask them if they felt more inspired to commit their time to contribute to their environment. It will help us understand if the organization of the content and the interactive system was engaging enough to encourage users to come back for more information. Can users find what they are looking for? Can they search for a specific category and tips based on their interests or areas they want to work on? To measure this, we will conduct our second testing session. In this session, we will focus on the architecture and navigational elements and time the users on how long it takes them to perform a task.


Motivate people to be a part of this matter and get them involved. Provide means of forming groups with similar concerns and views, so they can motivate their peer group to become more environmentally conscious.


Do users get a better idea of how they can improve their lives for an environmental cause? Is the flow of using a calculator, tips, and social activities intuitive and engaging enough to continue investing time in the reason? We will measure this by surveying prototype testers.

Competitive Analysis

Goal of the competitive analysis was to evaluate the impact of existing apps in the industry to decide and determine if it meets users' expectations for finding information relevant to this topic. Pinpoint the key factors that separate us from our competitors. Interview environmental activists and enthusiasts to find out what the most widely used applications are, what they like, and what they dislike about them. Determine competitors' strengths and weaknesses based on this data and analyze their user experience patterns and strategies.

Procedure and Analysis: Through our research in mobile apps industry, we evaluated four of the most common used environmental apps:

  • EcoChallenge: an app full of helpful info graphics, carbon footprint calculators
  • Noah’s Project: an app to document, explore and follow wildlife around people’s area.
  • #Climate: an app that helps users to discover and share actions through facebook and twitter that they can take against climate change
  • Oroeco: an app that helps users to explore their personal climate impacts.
  • In order to get some insights from these apps, we listed the most outstanding features, their target audience, competitive advantages as well as their weaknesses. We chose to test features of EcoChallenge by shadowing potential users while they were navigating through the app.


    Goal:We are gathering feedback on a live product and exploring the reasons behind using the products related to this topic—quantifying results from qualitative research (contextual Inquiry and interviews). The potential users who will be interviewed will range from environmental activists around the area and volunteers who like to travel to help the cause, as well as residents and natives of regions that get impacted mainly by the issues such as pollution, wildlife extinction, climate change, and oil spills. We will give out our surveys after each testing session to ask them about the emotional response toward the application and the effectiveness of the navigational system. We will also conduct brief interviews when showing Mid-Fi prototypes to 3-5 people to get an idea of the first response.

    Procedure & Analysis:

    We recruited four people from different groups of age, gender, level of education, and cultural backgrounds. They would consist of people interested in learning more about environmental issues and their daily habits' impact. In other words, people who have grown concerned for our planet would like to know how they can help save it. The main reason to interview these people is their high enthusiasm for helping our ecosystems. Our participants do not need to be experienced environmentalists. Still, they need to have a passion for helping their ecosystems, spread the word on how to help, and become involved in helping. We asked them beforehand about the importance of environmental issues for them. Before we proceeded through our discussions, we asked the participants for their permission to be audio recorded. Then, we handed them the consent form to sign. We explained to each one of our participants the purpose of our study. They signed the consent form, and we started the recording. Through our interviews, we sought to answer the following questions:

  • a) Research/business questions: to explore the reasons behind using the products related to this topic.
  • b) Design questions: to help us design the suggested application/website.
  • c) Response to current apps: Observe the user while interacting with one of our competitor products.
  • After conducting the interviews, our team got together in person to go through the participants’ answers.Then, we discussed the answers to find common themes among participants answers. Our meeting led us to the second method( Affinity diagram) of this study .

    Affinity Diagram

    The main goal of this method was to organize our collected data from the interviews and shadowing efforts to understand the big picture of user needs and priorities. We wanted to group data into their natural relationship for analysis and reviews. We also organized our notes and insights from our contextual inquiries to begin brainstorming solutions.

    After we organized our collected user data, we met to carry out few brainstorming sessions.These sessions would last roughly half an hour. We both started sketching ideas to put to the table and discuss their benefits. Through this session we came up with number of creative ideas for our potential prototype. While we understood our users and their needs from previous research methods used, we began coming up with solutions to keep them engaged and interested in learning about their environment. This is when we started the next method (prototype) of this study.


    Goal: Making a web or a mobile app to test the design decisions based on our research (competitive analysis,interviews and affinity diagram).

    Lo-fi Prototype: We started off by simply sketching ideas and share them among ourselves to illustrate new functionalities and interface layouts. By starting at the drawing board, we had a lot of flexibility to change, combine and narrow down ideas. Lo-Fi prototyping was useful when we were still going through the process of collecting inspirational findings. Whenever we would see something that would spark a new idea for the app, we took out our piece of paper with a pen and sketched out what was on our mind.

    Mid-fi Prototype:This is where we moved to a prototyping tool ( to mimic the functionalities and get the final layout we decided upon ready for user testing. Adding most prominent interactions to the layout structure helped us to give a better idea on how the final product will behave/function. We did not focus on the aesthetic design and the application’s look and feel, the Mid-Fi prototype was solely made for displaying its interactions and test the user process flows..

    Hi-fi Prototype:During this prototyping phase, we collected our findings from Mid-Fi usability testing and made necessary edits. We also enhanced the aesthetic design to give a better presentation of the final product look and feel.

    Procedure & Analysis:

    After analyzing the data from competitive analysis, interviews and the affinity diagram, we got together to discuss how are we going to use the results to deliver our potential app. In our meeting, we discussed the following points:

    Next,we came to an agreement regarding the points mentioned above. As a team of two students, we started working on the first version of our prototype. We decided in order to improve our prototype, we need to get some insights and feedback. In other words, we need to test it. Thus, that led us to the last method (Usability Testing) of this study.

    Usability Testing


    Determine the efficiency and the quality of the new prototype design. Conduct thorough testing to determine the time it takes end users to perform necessary tasks and find what they are looking for. Get an idea of how to best design and structure the interface for more intuitive user experience through incremental testing.

    Procedure & Analysis

    To evaluate the design of the mi-fi prototype and measure user’s satisfaction we conducted a usability testing after finishing our prototype. We used two methods to conduct the test:

    Online (Mid-fidelity): we posted a class activity on D2l asking our classmates to participate in the study. We had 5 participants; 4 females and 1 male. We measured the efficiency of our prototype by number of clicks for each task.

    In-person (High-Fidelity): After explaining the purpose of the study, we had the participants to sign a consent form (See appendix: consent form in the usability testing) to get their permission to be video recorded. There were 2 male participants. We measured the efficiency of our prototype by number of clicks for each task.

    In first method (Mid-fidelity), we gave the participants the following tasks:
      Check the progress of your goal for eliminating plastic and invite a friend to take up on the challenge.
      Redeem a reward.
      Save a random tip to favorites.
      Check recycling bin locations.
      Check your new goal invites.
    In the second method (High-fidelity), we gave the participants the following tasks:
    Then we evaluated the design based on :


    Teamed up with Ibrahim Altweim at Depaul University (2016)