E-waste Recycling Hub

Easy and sustainable way to manage used PC parts

Aug 2021 - Dec 2021

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Georgia Institute of Technology

01
problem

E-waste management is too difficult

With advancements in technology, there is faster electronic consumption and turnover leading to exponential increase in electronic waste.

Our team was tasked to identify a target group and design a solution that supports e-waste management.

01
SOLUTION

A digital and physical second-hand marketplace for local community members

e-cycle hub is a service that PC-builders can donate and share used products and tips

time

Aug - Dec 2021

team

2 Researchers
2 Designers

my role

Insight discovery, leading brainstorm session, wireframing

tools

Miro, Procreate, Whimsical, Figma, WebEx, Google Forms, Qualtrics, Whiteboard

Build a Community

Build a community amongst users of niche interests, such as PC-building

Give Items Second Life

Consumers can increase their sustainability impact by giving fully functioning items a second life

Scale System

Partner with local community centers to scale and be available to community centers in US

research process
01

Exploratory Research

We conducted literature review, site visits and analyzed existing solutions. Our primary insight was that recycling methods  for consumers are time-extensive, lack transparency and non-standardized across cities.

The second insight was that while there are many second-hand use options for consumers for functioning-electronics, much of electronic waste comes from PC parts, such as hard drives, motherboards and graphic cards.

1. Mapping electronic waste journey and identifying possible touch points. 2. Investigating potential obstacles and solutions at each touch point 3. Site Visit to Novus Solutions, a e-waste recycling center based in Greater Atlanta. 4. Existing solution analyses of recycling methods for target users.

02

Behavioral Research

Our exploratory researched helped us scope down problem to sustainable PC part management. We then identified target groups that could possibly most benefit from used PC parts, which were PC-builders/hobbyists, and gamers who build and customize their own PC's for gaming performance.

Behavioral research showed PC-builders/gamers don't manage their PC parts because they value convenience, trust, knowledge and current recycling practices are inconvenient and lack transparency.

Another interesting insight we've learned about this group was that they are helpful in providing facts and knowledge within their specific groups. Amongst a PC building group, or a gaming group, they are more likely to help strangers with assembly, providing long step-by-steps on reddit. On surveys, while most did not recycle or sell their old products, a majority freely gave away their old items to friends.

1. Survey analyses of PC gamers distributed on GSU Discord server using Qualtrics 2. Transcription and analyses of survey respondents, remote interviews conducted over Teams, Zooms and BlueJeans. 3. Affinity mapping to see underlying patterns and identify target users' attitudes. 4. Affinity mapping helped us identify two personas, which helped us helped us narrow down the commonalities that exist between the two.

03

Current solutions for sustainable e-waste management is time-intensive, lack trust and transparency. Yet, PC builders value efficiency, trust and are strongly motivated to help others in their community.

How can we encourage PC builders/gamers to sustainably manage e-waste through second-hand use?

design process overview
01

Ideation

Once we decided on helping PC builders and gamers manage waste via second-hand use, we listed requirements that were focused encouraging our users.

These requirements gave us a broad guideline for quick brainstorm sketch session.

1. Defining requirements based on identified themes to use as ideation guideline. 2. Sketches from individual and group brainstorming session.

02

Concept Decision and Validation

We decided on three main ideas by voting on which ideas we liked best as a group. We fleshed out three concepts via storyboarding and discussed as a team.

We evaluated each ideas against our five requirements, and E-waste Recycle Hub met our 5 requirements best, so we moved forward with this idea.

1. Gamified Collection Locator - A mobile e-waste collection center locator that awards points to users who drop off their e-waste. Points are awarded for picking up and donating electronics at location 2. PC Building Organization - A local organization that meets once a month for PC building hobbyist that share used parts and learn how to refurbish and build PCs. 3. E-waste Recycle Hub - A donation shelf at each community center will have a shelf dedicated to used PC parts, and community members can drop off and pickup items, checking availability on the mobile app.

03

User Flow and Wireframing

Using Figjam, we created user journey for two use cases, when a user is donating their old item and when they are receiving an item.

For each user journey, we also created user flows for their mobile experience which we used as a guideline for our low fidelity wireframes.

1. Donator Mobile App Flow 2. Donator Journey 3. Receiver Mobile App Flow 4. Receiver Journey

Low fidelity wireframes using Whimsical

05

Refinement and Visual Design

We conducted a visual design study by evaluating sites commonly visited by our target user group which we had previously collected in our user surveys.

We collected inspiration from Pinterest to align on and create a visual style guide. We used the feedback from our user testing to arrive at our high fidelity wireframes.

next steps

Research existing solutions within circular economy

Now that our problem scope is much more narrow-- I'd like to do a UX audit of similar solutions in the donation space to see what works and doesn't work

In-Person Prototype

Prototyping a simulation of a drop-in center, where users can pick up or donate their used item to see what the experience feels like outside of the app.

Ideate on how to better emphasize social interaction between donators and receivers

Because we've learned later in our design process that our users highly value the relationship between donator/receiver, another, I'd explore how we can better enhance this relationship, and also do a competitive audit on existing apps that do this well.

final thoughts

Our solution removed the physical obstacles of finding and accessing a donation shelf and our usability test showed the tasks were simple enough for users to complete. We wondered, how can the experience feel more rewarding? How can we better connect our potential users, PC-builders to befriend one another as they are in close proximity to each other? 

This was a project completed within a semester at Georgia Tech but we are excited with our solution and eager to see how this project may evolve. While it focuses on a small population of users who are PC-builders and PC-building hobbyists-- a relatively niche hobby, we believe it has the ability to scale.

What if this service existed for various hobbies that require other electronics? Perhaps a beauty community that shares hair appliances, or novice-chefs who can share kitchen appliances? The impact of ideas are exciting and this project was an eye-opening exercise sustainability.

credits and special thanks

ramisa murshed research design
maria-paula lengua research
max nelson design

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