RecyclAR

MobileAR promoting purchase of sustainably packaged grocery items

Team

2 Designers
‍2 Engineers

Timeline

Jan - May 2023

Role

UX Designer
3D Designer

Context

The nearly 30 million tons of grocery packaging waste created in the US each year often ends up polluting landfills and oceans instead of being sustainably managed.

RecyclAR is an iOS application that allows shoppers to instantly evaluate the sustainability of grocery product packaging. By simply scanning a product item, users gain insight into the environmental impact of the materials. The Augmented Reality application incentivizes and rewards wiser, greener choices by making eco-conscious decision making quick, easy and even fun.

As a UX and 3D Designer, I helped imagine the interface of the application, constructed 3D models, and animated their motions to produce an interactive grocery store shopping experience. The final product was a functioning iOS application built using Reality composer and developed using Swift.

SUMMARY

Scan and limit the waste at its source - your cart 

In addressing the escalating issue of environmental pollution caused by disposable packaging, this team project introduces an innovative mobile augmented reality (AR) application for iOS users. This case study will primarily explore the application's functionality and its impact on environmentally conscious shopping behaviors.

Central to the project's ethos are sustainability, education, and interactive engagement. The application informs users about the environmental footprint of grocery packaging as shoppers can easily identify the sustainability quotient of product packaging by merely scanning a product. The more environmentally detrimental the packaging, the fewer points the shopper earns.

As shoppers accumulate points for selecting greener options, these points can later be redeemed as discounts on select sustainably packaged items. This feature not only encourages sustainable shopping habits but also fosters a community of environmentally aware consumers, driving a collective effort towards reducing pollution.

Core Features

My Influency streamlines the fragmented process for small businesses to harness the power of localized brand advocates. through a dedicated discovery network, an integrated campaign console, and a contract manager. Business owners can easily track influencer activations, optimize efforts through real-time visibility into content engagement, and handle ongoing partnership administration needs in one place.

Connect with your local influencers

As a business owner activate multi-channel promotions via this diverse local influencer network

One-stop shop to manage your campaign

Real-time influencer tracking reflects your relationship with each influencer: whether your campaign request has been accepted, product has been picked up, or your promised post has been published to the gram. The published content is always available to be viewed at a glance. Finally, a unified analytics dashboard completes the picture, offering actionable macro and micro-level insights into campaign reach and performance over time to inform strategy.

Hassle free negotiations through a secure contract management

Businesses can simply initialize agreements with designated influencers before finalizing compensation. Campaign details such as product information, influencer tracking, and campaign content requirements are pre-populated for context. The flexible templates allow adjustment of deliverable timeframes to match needs on both sides, empowering organic partnerships devoid of friction. Payment visibility and processing is contingent upon influencers satisfactorily publishing endorsements after products are shipped – incredibly simplifying usually complex coordination.

WHERE IT ALL STARTED

Playing detective with packaging labels every time when trying to shop responsibly

In an era where environmental consciousness is paramount, the act of grocery shopping has transformed into a perplexing investigative task for many. Shoppers, driven by a genuine desire to reduce their plastic footprint, often find themselves embroiled in a frustrating game of label deciphering. Despite their best intentions to limit plastic waste, each trip to the grocery store paradoxically ends with more plastic in their carts than anticipated. This constant battle against plastic proliferation is disheartening, particularly when the effort to make responsible choices feels undermined by the opacity and complexity of product labels.

QUICK STATISTICS

Connecting with the original problem space

268,000,000 tonnes of plastic from plastic packaging

Worldwide roughly 14% of total global municipal solid waste is from plastic packaging.

$165 billion in economic value discarded yearly

In the US, plastic packaging contributes 14% to landfill volume and 22% of all plastic packaging is food-related specifically.

45% of landfill waste by volume is packaging containers

About 80% of landfill waste by volume is made up of packaging and containers.

How do young adults shop for groceries?

Budget - Young adults often have limited incomes as they may just be starting their careers. They look to get the most for their money and shop sales, generics, store brands, and budget grocery stores. Coupons and loyalty programs appeal to them.

Convenience - With their busy schedules, young adults value convenience in grocery shopping. Many favor online ordering with delivery or in-store pickup options. They also appreciate fast checkout options.

Sustainability - Environmentally-friendly and sustainable grocery options are increasingly valued by young adult shoppers. They may seek out local, seasonal or sustainably-produced food.

Finding Relevant Partnerships

Struggles to connect with brands that align with her content style and personal values.

Negotiating Fair Compensation

Uncertainty in setting and negotiating appropriate rates for collaborations.

Managing Multiple Collaborations

Overwhelmed by keeping track of various partnerships and content schedules.

Difficulty Measuring Marketing Impact

Needs simple tools to track and understand the effectiveness of marketing strategies.

PROBLEM STATEMENT

Sustainable packaging is scarce but lack of consumer awareness is scarier

The availability and awareness of sustainable packaging materials are critically insufficient. This scarcity is compounded by a significant information gap: many consumers and businesses are unaware of the sustainable alternatives that do exist. When such options are known, they are often perceived as prohibitively expensive, deterring widespread adoption and further investment in sustainable packaging development. As a result, consumers and businesses frequently default to using traditional, environmentally harmful packaging options, not out of preference, but due to a lack of viable alternatives and knowledge.

PRODUCT GOAL

How can we raise consumer awareness on sustainable packaging materials?

This project aimed to address the critical gap in making the consumers aware of sustainable packaging by developing strategies and tools to increase the availability, affordability, and awareness of sustainable packaging materials. Our goal was to help promote eco-friendly packaging as a mainstream choice rather than an exception, aligning consumer and business practices with the urgent need for environmental preservation. By overlaying contextual sustainability insights directly onto product packaging in stores, the solution democratizes access to transparent impact information regarding recyclability and material composition tradeoffs. This empowers on-the-spot comparisons for shoppers otherwise lacking prompts connecting purchasing influence to environmental values amid limited sustainable options. Our solution in the form of an Augmented Reality (AR) tool promotes alignment between shoppers’ needs and business’ current practices.

but why Augmented Reality?

Bridging the consumer awareness gap ultimately requires meeting shoppers where and when product decisions occur. Augmented reality delivers that targeted influence precisely at the retailer shelf, as sustainable alternatives dwell sparsely amid traditional offerings. Just as QR codes streamline online migrations, computer vision enabled Augmented Reality solution  anchors virtual information onto tangible items grounded in the spaces shoppers occupy.

COMPETITIVE ANALYSIS

Inspirations and shortcomings

Similar mobile innovations like mockups of waste sorting apps simply categorize disposal between landfills and recycling absent follow-up. By scanning an item, consumers receive a binary trash or recycle categorization and generic impact estimates post-purchase decisions occur. However, these designs generally lack specific directionality connecting categorized choices to changed behaviors within existing environments. The RecyclAR concept expands by empowering purchases first, then sustaining awareness into waste flows. Augmented reality projections offers users with appropriate amount of knowledge associated with classification of the packaging material as well as harbors an interactive animation to drive the idea home. This value chain traceability and in-context adaptability aims to maximize sustainability performing comfort levels aligned to infrastructures already built.

PAINTING A PICTURE

Storyboard

Through hand-drawn storyboard sketches, interface concept journeys were translated into mock step-by-step engagements with the application itself as well as its scanned packaging prompts.

DESIGN IDEATION

Fostering Form and Function

I view design as a holistic practice—equal parts art and science. My approach celebrates the beauty of user-centered aesthetics while sharpening the functional edge of digital experiences.

Visual Design

The Jack Daniel's augmented reality concept leveraged realistic bottle and label renders to serve as portals into an interactive experience.  The sleek presentation is crafted with a monochromatic color scheme  which gives it a classic, premium feel.

Motion Design

This demo video showcases an AR interface by scanning the box of Oreo cookies. Here, the interface projects an animated, three-dimensional hologram that appears to extend directly from the product's packaging. It details the iconic Oreo cookie's characteristics and suggests the classic 'Twist, Lick, Dunk' consumption ritual, adding a playful and engaging dimension to the shopping experience.

RAPID SKETCHING

How would you like to checkout?

Through rapid sketches and user testing, we arrived at a flexible scanning flow that enables both multi-item comparison and focused single-item lookup.

Tests revealed shoppers  desired more control over scan completion to proceed with their task. Users wanted a clear path to conclude the scanning process when ready rather than only allowing add-on scans.

Informed by this, the final sketches conceptualized an integrated “Would you like to checkout?” to prompt the user to either start a new scan or conclude shopping. Following which users had an immediate option to finalize item selection and transition to paying.

WIREFRAME FUNCTIONALITY

Scan, Unwrap, and Save

In the wireframe phase, our objective was to streamline the user's journey from initial engagement to transaction completion, with a keen focus on simplicity and usability. The home screen is deliberately clean, offering a direct path to the core functionality of the app—scanning for sustainability information. The scanning interface is intuitive, with real-time visual feedback as the product is recognized, in this case, Honey Nut Cheerios.
A key feature of these wireframes is the SUS (Sustainability Scoring System), which is immediately displayed upon product recognition, providing users with a transparent and easy-to-understand sustainability metric. The design then smoothly transitions users to a gratification screen, confirming the addition of items to their cart with minimal friction.
In the wireframe phase, our objective was to streamline the user's journey from initial engagement to transaction completion, with a keen focus on simplicity and usability. The home screen is deliberately clean, offering a direct path to the core functionality of the app—scanning for sustainability information. The scanning interface is intuitive, with real-time visual feedback as the product is recognized, in this case, Honey Nut Cheerios.

3D MODEL DESIGN

The making of the digital twins

The culmination of the shopping experience is encapsulated in the points preview, which aligns with our gamification strategy—encouraging continued engagement by translating eco-friendly purchases into tangible rewards. The wireframes were constructed to facilitate a seamless flow, ensuring that the path from product scanning to checkout reinforces the app's sustainability ethos at every touchpoint.
The culmination of the shopping experience is encapsulated in the points preview, which aligns with our gamification strategy—encouraging continued engagement by translating eco-friendly purchases into tangible rewards. The wireframes were constructed to facilitate a seamless flow, ensuring that the path from product scanning to checkout reinforces the app's sustainability ethos at every touchpoint.

FINAL PRODUCT

Judge Products by Their Wrappers

Curious for more?