I worked on this project during my Fall 2018 semester at UC Berkeley, through Berkeley Innovation, a design consultancy I belong to on campus. My team and I were approached by Replate, a nonprofit startup with a mission to reduce food waste and food insecurity in the community. They do so by matching extra catered food from tech companies with communities in need. Replate has diverted more than a million meals to people in need and has diverted millions of metric tons of greenhouse gases from the environment. In this project, Replate tasked us with identifying the most effective method to impact their clientele's employees' behavior surrounding food waste reduction practices.
Replate's clientele only has one employee per company, the office manager, who is in contact with Replate and aware of what happens to their excess catered food. Replate shared data and metrics through their client portal with the office manager on how their company was helping the environment by providing them with metrics such as: gallons of water saved, tons of carbon reduced, and pounds of food donated.
How might we increase Replate's brand awareness among clientele's employees and influence employee behavior to be more conscious about food waste?
We kicked off the project by conducting user research utilizing various methods in order to gauge people's understanding of food waste and how they feel about the topic. For this, we focused our interviews around three main user groups: officer managers of companies who do and do not use Replate, employees of companies who do and do not use Replate, and sustainability managers.
We individually did research on the topic of food waste and reduction practices to better educate ourselves in the field and have a better understanding of how to design a solution for the employees.
We used public surveys to gauge people's knowledge of food waste and reduction practices. By doing so we were able to gain an understanding of areas where we could help educate employees.
We researched other food waste reduction companies such as Copia and Spoiler Alert to get a better understanding of how Replate differentiated themselves and defining areas where we could capitalize on when approaching our assigned task.
We interviewed 10 people from our three main user groups above about their understanding of food waste and what happens to their left over catered food.
We took key observations from our interviews and grouped them to find the underlying themes and trends from our research. By doing so we were able to see which areas we could focus on as potential methods in helping educate the employees on food waste and reduction practices.
Employees prefer passive learning
Employees need constant reminders
Incentives to encourage food waste reduction
Empathetic metrics are more meaningful
Taking our research and insights, we created two primary personas to help focus on who we were designing for.
The first persona is an employee who is not involved with food waste efforts. Most employees tend to fall into this persona. They vaguely care, but don’t know how to reduce food waste.
The second persona is an employee who is eco-friendly and eager to get involved in food waste reduction. Sustainability managers and food-conscious employees tend to fall into this persona.
Throughout our design process, we made sure to always refer back to these personas when making our design decisions.
In order to better understand our users we mapped out the thought process an employee goes through when wasting food. We focused on the most common user, persona one from above, who is an employee who isn’t too familiar with food waste reduction, but still feels bad about wasting food. By seeing where in their journey the user had concerns or issues with wasting food, we were able to see what areas we could hone in on when helping educate them.
After reviewing all of the ideas we came up with, we ended up going with the visual route. We chose this idea out of all of them because it addressed all of our key insights from our research. We found that an emotional approach combined with passive learning through constant reminders would best educate employees and change their behaviors.
From the visual route, we decided on to create infographics for Replate's clientele to hang around their office so their employees could casually learn about food waste while roaming the office throughout their day.
We sketched out our ideas on how we wanted to present the material in the infographics. We tried various types of styles for both to get a wide range of possibilities to choose to move forward with.
After sketching, we created digital low-fidelity designs to show to our client at our weekly client meeting. We wanted them to see a general idea of what type of infographics we wanted to create and how they could help educate the employees.
After creating digital low-fidelity infographics, I was in charge of leading my team in the mid-fidelity designs and user testing sprint. We updated our rough digital low-fidelity designs into digital mid-fidelity designs. We drew inspiration for these mid-fidelity designs by viewing various types of effective infographics online and created an inspoboard.
I made sure we had a variety of different types of infographics in order to make sure employees didn't see the same infographic throughout the office. We wanted to make the infographics relatable and interesting to the employees. We wanted them to be something that stood out in the office, so it would stick in the employee's memory next time they thought about wasting food.
After creating our mid-fidelity designs, I continued with my sprint and led my team in conducting our user testing in-person, as well as online through a platform called usertesting.com. We gained crucial information from these tests that helped shape our final designs.
For the in-person testing we each showed our roommates, to get a fast iteration on our infographics before our weekly client meeting. After our client meeting, we also showed the original people we interviewed, to get a comprehensive review.
For the online testing, we used usertesting.com and created a scenario for the tester to imagine they were in.
Given Scenario: Imagine that you are a employee at a tech company and your company has catered food every week; you walk around your office and see these posters hanging up in various locations.
After incorporating the feedback from our user testing, we created our high-fidelity designs of the final posters and infographics for Replate. We made a major overall to many of the posters and infographics and even got rid of ones we found from user testing to be too confusing or ineffective.
We focused on making the designs feel cohesive, while also being different enough to stand on out on their own. By adding a more obvious call to action and helping the employee understand what they could do themselves to help reduce food waste, we were able to make the posters not just be something the employee sees after forgets about, but something they decide to change in their life. We wanted the poster to be a tool for activism and action among the employees in hopes of helping educate and lead to higher rates of food waste reduction.
Final Infographic #1
Final Infographic #2
Final Infographic #3
Final Infographic #4
Final Infographic #5
Final Infographic #6
Although our final deliverable was print material we wanted to tie together the entire experience of the posters with packaging and an instruction guide. We wanted to make the experience for the delivery and receiving process of the posters and infographics as seamless as possible, so we designed Replate themed boxes to make them easily identifiable and created an instruction guide for the office managers to help them get their posters up as quickly as possible.
This was my first time doing graphic design and print work, and I was unsure how I was going to do with no experience in this area before. Although I lacked the experience in graphic design I was able to make up for it in my knowledge of the human-centered design process and my ability to apply that to help create a cohesive graphic for our final high-fidelity designs. I stepped out of my comfort zone in this project and was able to gain valuable graphic design skills that I wouldn't have been able to obtain if I had worked on another project for a different client.
When we started off this project, our client wanted us to update their web page for them where they could share the information and metrics with the office managers. However, they didn't realize that these metrics were not meaningful or impact to the employees whom we were designing for. We came to understand that the employees wanted metrics that conveyed an emotional aspect, as well as something that they could relate and easily comprehend. These statistics that they were previously sharing were only flying over the heads of the users.
This made us realize that the client may think that what they are doing is right and their idea for a solution to the problem is the correct one, but in reality it is the user who you are designing for that you must always go back to and reference when making the decision of what to create and include.
As the project progressed the client kept asking more and more out my team and I. Some of the things they were asking us started to go beyond the scope of the project and our agreement we settled upon at the start of the project. Feeling pressured, we took on these extra tasks, such as apparel design for their workers, pricing for the packaging supplies, etc. Even though these were not initially agreed upon we felt that we should do them to please the client.
Replate being a nonprofit means they have a small team and it is understandable why they asked us of these extra tasks, but after the project, we realized that we must value our work as it is and not go beyond an agreement with a client just to please them. I learned that it is okay to say no when something like this occurs and that you should focus on providing the best quality of work you agreed upon instead of being an octopus trying to do eight tasks at once.