A sustainable diet goal app that emphasizes reduction rather than elimination
While switching to a diet free of animal products is a realistic commitment for some users, a subset of users report that their attempts are frustrating and short-lived.
Guilt and/or Shame
Percieved "Setbacks" Negatively
Overwhelmed by Information
Since guilt/shame was a common complaint, I implemented an anonymous survey using Typeform to a new group of environmentally-conscious users (who had not been interviewed) to allow for honest responses.
Users varied in their abilities to stay committed to a "greener" diet. Some were able to commit to a strict regimen for a year or longer, while others updated to a flexible regimen. Of those who failed, none continued to reduce or attempted a flexible regimen.
While small sample sizes involved in UX studies are meaningful, I also referred to existing research.
Guilt can drive "green" behavior like recycling. https://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=2208394
Users continue identifying as a "vegan" even though they are consuming some animal products.
Guilt drives easy "green" behaviors like recycling, but changing your diet is difficult and guilt/perceived "setbacks" can cause an aversion. Even successful users experience cognitive dissonance: continue to identify as strict vegans while consuming animal products.
Four R's of Sustainability
Elimination-based diet goals may be too black and white for a subset of users, so I narrowed my attention to encouraging reduction to users who failed a strict regimen.
"Reduction is achievable and positively impacts the planet."
Reduction-focused sustainable diet goals can help users, for whom strict elimination is not possible, continue to reduce their carbon footprint.
I created a persona that emphasized common features of the target users.
Among existing solutions, features that are well-received are positive encouragement (FitBit), goal tracking (1 Million Women, MyFitnessPal), and provide resources (GoNutss, AllRecipes). Features that cause aversion include strictness, inducing shame/guilt (PETA), and high cognitive loads (r/zerowaste).
Most Viable Product
I asked 3 users to walk me through their process of creating and logging goals on 1 Million Women, FitBit, and MyFitnessPal. I drew upon these successful apps to create the task flow for Reduce.
The linear path would be Onboarding, Account Creation, Individual Goal Creation, Track Goals, Track Progress, and Increase/Stay/Decrease Goal.
A usability testing was conducted using the lo-fidelity wireframe prototype to assess usability, navigation and call-to-action.
Initially onboarding was set to start after a user decided to create an account, but in the final iteration the onboarding came before account creation to familiarize users with the concept. The navigation was changed from the right corner to a static navigation bar on the bottom since the app is fairly simple with three main pages: profile, progress, and inspiration.