Date Created: December 2020 (Academic Project)
Medium: Figma + Adobe Suite
Project Partner: Simran Rao
Duration: 4 Weeks
A speculative app designed to curb activities that cause
This was a collaborative project that served as a final for our digital product design class during our senior year. The brief was to create a speculative app for future generations. Scroll down to view our process of creating the app from the brainstorm stage to the final product.
This app was conceptualized to ensure the survival of the planet in the year 2050. During this time, it can be assumed that carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere would reach intolerable heights. Lives will be at stake if human actions that cause climate change are not restricted. By law, every government would mandate the citizens of their country to have a presence on the platform. Human activities are tracked by the application in order to create a carbon footprint value for the user. Larger the value, greater the ecological damage being done by the individual and vice versa. This score is symbolic of human’s empathy towards the environment
Identifying the Problem to Solve
After a process of brainstorming, my teammate and I both agreed upon exploring methods wherein technology could be used to prevent degradation of the environment in the future. In a world where we’re presented with the dark side of futuristic technology, we were eager to explore ways in which speculative products have positive social impacts.
Present day methods to solve climate change are more of a choice rather than a requirement. However, research has predicted the future of the planet and its resources would be compromised if more stringent actions against climate change aren’t taken. Our brainstorm process led us to Explore methods wherein such technologies would be mandated by governments across the world.
We set a few rules for ourselves before designing the wireframes.
1. The technology must be like a requirement rather than a choice (eg. A driver’s license is required to drive, similarly this app must be required for humans in order to live in a society)
2. The technology must provide perks and privileges to those to follow the rules
3. The technology must be supportive of humanity and not seem like it is against them
Creating a Persona
Individuals above the age of 16 would be required to create a profile on the Ecoprint platform. Researching Millennials' present-day attitude towards climate change, we created a persona for the future user.
The below image represents the functioning of one of core features of the application
We worked on low-fidelity wireframes and explored ways in which the application had a logical flow that made it purposeful yet friendly. One of the toughest challenges in designing speculative technology was attempting to make it innovative and uncharacteristic of present-day design trends, yet simple and intuitive.
Next came the high-fidelity development stage. The visual design had to be commanding yet supportive. We designed the color scheme to showcase an organic color palette. This helped put forth the idea of support as opposed to dominance over humanity. Moreover, we juxtaposed present-day iconography with a non-traditional interface composition in order to represent the idea of speculation.
The home screen displays a progress chart and navigation to the core features of the app (shown in the previous page). The progress chart is a representation of the users lifestyle and carbon credit usage on daily, weekly and monthly basis. If the user were to click the circular progress chart they would be taken the screen on the left to view the complete break down.
Within the chart, the numeric + alphabetical value (6C) is the users carbon footprint value. The screen in the middle shows nations that have the lowest average carbon footprint among users. The government of every country must aim to have low average carbon footprints to be ranked high on the ‘World Leads page.’
The home screen helps the user navigate to the core features of the app. These features are given on the left. They include:
Core Feature | Scan
One can scan any purchasable item to view its carbon credit score. The user must direct the camera toward the item and press their thumb until the scanner detects the product.
Core Feature | Ecobank
A space where the user can loan carbon credits if they run out of their monthly budget
Core Feature | Calculator
Aids the user to calculate the carbon credit cost of any activity/event
Core Feature | Browse
Users can browse through a catalog of products and services based on its carbon footprint value
Click Through Prototype Video
Ethics and Counter Arguments
Here are some counter arguments of why such technology may not work in the future. However due to the timescale of the project, we were unable to devise solutions for these possible problems
Users may be driven to purchase multiple products or services just because they have low carbon footprint values, indirectly increasing their carbon footprint value. They might unintentionally spend a lot of carbon credits as opposed to simply purchasing one item with a high carbon footprint value. (Just like how consumer behavior works when there is a sale in store)
Since the footprint value works on a ranking scale, (A,B,C,D) it may cause a social divide and a new form of caste system among people.
With technology controlling credit distribution, there could be a rise in cyber crime, such as hacking in order to gain carbon credit points and personal data breach. This would result in geological as well political unrest.
Since this was a speculative project, we branched out into multiple directions by designing to be multi-functional. The aim was to explore different methods this application could be used in order to make it suitable for the unforeseeable future.
As mentioned, this app is designed to be mandatory for all citizens, and would hopefully result in the betterment of the environment. People would learn to be more environmentally conscious and for once put the planet before their own needs.