Inspiration

Our inspiration stems out of wanting to show people how to incorporate a sustainable lifestyle in their everyday lives, and informing them about how a small act can contribute in big ways. We used our personal experiences as a starting point and carried out extensive research on the role of reducing vs. recycling. Looking into the way recycling is being promoted, we noticed how by rewarding recycling, people are encouraged to create more waste, in order to get more rewards. Recycling seems to overlook one of the core issues of the amount of waste this produces, and the possibility that this waste might not even get recycled at all. As a result, we focused our product on reducing, and eliminating the use of plastic all together. We didn't only limit it to personal use as we wanted to encourage a two way interaction and contribution from personal users and small businesses, helping them both reduce their plastic use, reduce costs, and help the planet.

What it does

Ripple allows both personal users and vendors to incorporate waste reduction in their everyday lives. Many of our competitors reward for recycling, however, what if you got rewarded for reducing?

Personal Use: Users are able to sign into their account and have a personal QR code which they can scan at different organizations in order to collect points. These points accumulate and they are able to redeem monetary rewards, or use these points and donate to environmental causes. The app further encourages reduction of plastic by allowing them to take part in social challenges with their friends and compete for bigger rewards. Furthermore, the app doubles as an educational tool. In a blog-style format, this tool includes videos, quizzes and short opinion pieces informing users how they can keep reducing. Facts and important information are found in other parts of the app as well, such as the main page, where users are presented with different daily facts, and a statistics section where the types of plastic they reduce are recorded. This enables the user to be informed about where they can improve and reduce more.

Business Use: Small businesses, especially the ones that do not have the time or resources to have their own app, can sign on to Ripple to be part of a rewards program for their customers in an eco-friendly way. They are able to scan the customer's QR codes in order to give them points, as well as allow the users to redeem points at their business. In addition, the business side informs them of how much money they have saved by reducing plastic distribution and a personalized explore page with information and opinion pieces on how they can grow to be a sustainable business. The app allows them to personalize their rewards system as well.

How we built it

We began my brainstorming some of the key issues that came to mind when looking into how we can incorporate a more sustainable lifestyle in our habits. We looked into the types of problems we would like to address, and solve, and did extensive planning. With two software developers and two designers in our group we were able to research into competing apps and analyze the key elements that are feasible and would be appealing to our audience. Our design was created by taking this research and applying it when targeting our desired audience and persona. This helped us finalize a design direction and sort out the details of our app. Using paper sketches and wireframes, and ultimately using Sketch and Invision for our med/high fidelity products, allowed us to create a functional product.

Furthermore, we used managed to code the second part of our app for the Vendors side, in which businesses can use their side of the app to scan customer's barcodes and provide them the appropriate points.

Challenges we ran into

Some challenges we ran into is making sure that our app appeals to the younger audience (20's-30's), while still making it informative and educational. This was especially hard due to the fact that most environmental education apps follow a particular design. Another challenge consisted of being in constant communication with between designers and developers in order to make sure the groups ideas where feasible and could be carried out.

Overall, our idea required extensive research on the topic which pushed us to be more aware of the impact our app should be making and how to cater to our target audience.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We're proud of how we managed to work in a team and be in constant communication. We learned from each other's specializations and worked together to incorporate everyone's skills. In addition, it helped us tackle a problem that we're not experts in and find a way to appeal to our audience in a meaningful way.

What we learned

We learned to apply our skills in a different area of expertise. Adapting and being flexible to everyone's ideas and skillsets allowed us to explore different directions and come together with a common idea and plan of execution. We learned to deal with a strict timeline and to be effective in our roles. In addition, having different background and skillsets was informative and exciting as we learned different skills from each other.

What's next for Ripple

Ripple's next steps consist of further research and usability testing. This will allow to test out the product and prepare it for its upcoming iterations. Gathering user data (quantitative and qualitative) will help us modify the product further and make sure it is creating the impact we are striving for.


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