Project Banana is a user experience project aimed at solving laundry challenges. The objective is to provide users with relevant data to make informed decisions about laundry habits and frequency.
Below you will find a detailed case study of the entire project, from initial user interviews to final iterations.
I hope you have a great experience.
01 / 09
Raising awareness on clothing longevity and overwashing.
Raising awareness on the time and resources it takes to do laundry.
Creating habits around laundry and clothing.
STATS TO CONSIDER
- Older top-loading washers use 40 to 45 gallons of water per load.
- High-efficiency washers (HEW) use 14 to 25 gallons of water per load.
- 90% of the energy used by washing clothes goes to heating the water.
- Washing clothes in hot water takes about 4.5 kWh per load.
- According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), dryers in the U.S. emit 32 million metric tons of carbon dioxide per year and use 43 billion kilowatt hours and 443 million therms of natural gas.
02 / 09
12 questions / 28 responses
- 23 / 28 respondents wear items more than once before washing.
- 26 / 28 respondents believe that certain clothes should not be washed after every wear.
- 25 / 28 respondents would wash their clothes less often it it helps their clothes last longer.
- 17 / 28 respondents find the cost savings of doing less laundry appealing.
- 20 / 28 respondents do consider the environmental impact of doing laundry.
- 17 female respondents / 9 male respondents / 2 respondents who do not wish to disclose their gender.
- 25 respondents between 25-34 years old / 1 between 35-44 years old / 2 between 45-54 years old.
- Daily attire: 9 OFFICE CASUAL / 8 BUSINESS CASUAL / 6 CASUAL / 3 BUSINESS / 2 PAJAMAS.
- All respondents use sight, smell, or touch test to see if an item is dirty.
- 6 interview subjects
- 3 men / 3 women
- ages 22-55
- audio recording and written notes for each interview
- color-coding by interview answers
- grouped by common themes that naturally arose
SUMMARY OF RESULTS
- 85% of total participants wear items more than once before washing.
- 100% of interviewees rewear jeans and jackets the most before washing.
- 100% of interviewees prefer not to repeat outfits too often.
03 / 09
FRAMING THE PROBLEM
Laundry is usually viewed as a chore, so how do we do less of it?
Doing laundry less frequently would save time, money, and resources but how do we do laundry less frequently while still maintaining cleanliness?
With numerous items in our closet and the constant barrage of information we are presented with everyday, it’s hard to remember what we have worn and how many wears.
The problem I suspect is that people prefer to wear their clothes a few times before washing, while still being clean, and not repeat outfits too regularly. But there isn't an easy way to track wears and last worn dates without worn items being piled up somewhere in their room or closet.
04 / 09
05 / 09
- Indirect competitor
- Similar market positioning
- Estimated monthly downloads: 456
- iOS only
- This is a very robust app. There is a calendar of outfits so the user can visually gauge most recent outfits and plan outfits. Users can also add cost details to each item.
- UI is intuitive. All options are on the home screen and on the bottom menu bar. It is easy to upload clothing and remove the background. User can determine how many details to give each article of clothing.
- Tips and blog features retrieve information from feeds outside of the application and the user can also get inspiration from online stores.
- Indirect competitor
- Similar market positioning
- Estimated monthly downloads: 150
- iOS only
- The user is able to track last worn date, total times an item is worn, item cost, and cost per wear. There is a calendar of outfits so the user can visually gauge most recent outfits and plan outfits.
- UI is visually pleasing but UI patterns are confusing (i.e. check marks are in place of X to exit pop-ups). Categories are different from tags. Editing category names is also burdensome.
- The app is so robust that there are almost too many functions.
- The camera function sometimes crashes the app.
- Indirect competitor
- Similar market positioning
- iOS only
- This app features a very integrated social sharing platform geared towards outfits (versus items). The user can search for other people’s looks based on location for types of looks. It is basically a social platform.
- The homepage is a feed of featured users and a photo of their current outfits. The user can search for other people’s looks by location, category, etc.
- Different market positioning
- Different customer base
06 / 09
Project Banana is a digital solution to help people easily track the number of wears in between washes, the last worn date, and the last wash date of an item. The objective is to provide people with relevant data to make an informed decision about laundry habits and frequency.
07 / 09
CONCEPTUAL USER FLOW
- Onboarding by prompting the user to add clothes
- Plan outfit
- Do laundry
HOME SCREEN. Users can access 7 functions from the home screen.
ADD CLOTHING. Users can add clothing by taking photos or uploading existing photos. Users also have the option of adding several items at once.
ADD TO HAMPER. The hamper holds all the dirty clothing, similar to a physical hamper. The idea is that users would most likely decide if they want to wash their outfit at the end of the day, hence "today's outfit" is the first option.
PLAN AN OUTFIT. This function allows the user to plan an outfit and the app to track number of wears for each item.
DO LAUNDRY. This is the main point of the app. The hamper items are automatically added to the load. Users can add items to the load by filtering through their digital closet.
- User A thinks OUTFITS button is the same as PLAN OUTFIT button.
- User B is also slightly confused by these buttons and suggests users might want to browse through old outfits and then plan outfit.
- User C believes NOTIFICATIONS button is for app notifications and not a place to set reminders.
- User B is not confused by NOTIFICATIONS button.
- User A wants option to add clothing image and add info later.
- Idea: auto-notification to finish adding info for items missing info.
- User A likes how CATEGORY has tap selections instead of form fields.
- User A enjoys the ability to take photos of the tags to auto-generate MATERIAL field.
- User D thinks this text-recognition and parsing technology will be too expensive to implement.
ADD TO HAMPER
- User C thinks spacing between TODAY'S OUTFIT and # OF WEARS connotes a sense of hierarchy.
- User C is confused by the option of EARLIEST WASH DATE - thinks results will go to list of items of latest laundry load.
- User B wants some way to confirm number entered before app generates results.
- User B expects YES answer to return her to the DO LAUNDRY home screen.
GENERAL INSIGHTS AFTER USING TESTING
- In ONBOARDING, ask users to set notifications to remind them to add items to the digital hamper if they decide to put items in their real hamper. Perhaps this can occur at night when people typically change out of their work clothes.
- Have users create an account so all the data can get backed up.
HOME SCREEN WIREFRAME
ITERATION 1 INSIGHTS
The biggest challenge is that everything the user does in real life must be replicated in the app. When the user chooses to wear an item, he/she must find the item in the app and tell the app the item is being worn. It is the same process for adding items to the hamper, washing items, etc.
This makes for a burdensome user flow, as witnessed by the initial complicated user flow indicated in section 7.1.
Moreover, selecting outfits through a digital interface is not aligned to how humans typically interact with their clothing. Humans use sight, smell, touch, and emotions when selecting outfits and deciding what to wash.
08 / 09
MIMIC HUMAN BEHAVIOR
- I manually track my clothing by attaching a tag (left tag in image below) to every article of clothing that I wear numerous times between washes. The tag has the brand and a general description and a place to fill out last washed date and number of wears. Every time I do laundry, I go through my closet and look at the number of wears on each tag and decide whether it should be washed.
- Iteration 2 is a combination of my manual tracking system with a digital application. Iteration 2 would seek to mimic natural behaviors to help build user habits. The app provides a QR code tag (right tag in image below) for each item of clothing. The user can decide how to attach the tag to the clothing.
- Every time the user chooses an item to wear, he or she can scan the QR tag to track a wear.
- As most people determine daily outfits by looking through their closets, this would allow users to “track” a wear while they are manually picking out their clothes.
- The app is thus designed to be easily integrated into people’s existent habits.
HOME PAGE, PROFILE, ALERTS, REMINDERS
TRACK CLOTHES (QR SCAN AND MANUAL)
ADD TO HAMPER
WIREFRAMES AND USER FLOWS
TRACK WEARS user flow
ADD TO HAMPER user flow
DO LAUNDRY user flow
ADD CLOTHING user flow
MOCKUPS OF SELECT SCREENS
TRACK WEARS by QR SCAN
TRACK WEARS MANUALLY
ITERATION 2 USER TESTING
User Testing Stats
- 2 male testers
- ages 30 - 40
- Flinto prototype on iPhone 6
"My instinct is that the navigation may be a little confusing. The other part that tripped me up is that I wasn’t sure what to do with the hamper. What does the plus icon mean on the hamper page? I think it’s to add an item to the hamper, but it took me 2 seconds too long to figure that out, and I’m not 100% sure what the hamper even is.”
"What's the point of the hamper"
"Don't redefine the search icon." (The user is referring to the QR scan icon to track a wear.)
"You can't access all the functions at all times."
ITERATION 2 INSIGHTS AND REFLECTIONS
- The application is task driven and focuses on 3 major tasks: track a wear, view hamper, and do laundry.
- Certain tasks exist merely to gather user input, necessary for the app to function. However, it’s an extra step for the user to perform the task in real life and then to tell the application that he or she has performed the task.
- The user needs to tell the application that an article of clothing is added to the physical hamper, so that the same article is placed in the digital hamper.
- The user also needs to tell the application when he/she is doing laundry, so that all the items being washed can be reset to 0 wears and have the correct last wash date.
- All the tasks are interdependent. To do laundry, the user must add items to the digital hamper. For items to be added to the hamper, they must exist in the digital closet.
- All the task-driven functionalities are dependent on the closet – a data repository without much functionality.
- By giving each task-driven functionality and site-based repository an equal amount of importance from an UI perspective, each component was over-emphasized, and thus every utility was deemphasized.
- The lack of informational or functional hierarchy lead to a confusing interface in which not all functions and tasks were accessible at all times.
09 / 09
SIMPLIFIED USER FLOW / COMBINED TASKS
ITERATION 2 v. ITERATION 3 MOCKUP SCREENS
INTUITIVE UX. CLEANER UI.
- The tasks on iteration 2's home page are now incorporated into the UI on iteration 3.
- The bottom menu provides universal accessibility to all the functions.
- There is a hierarchy to where and how functionalities are displayed and accessible, thus making for a better user flow and cleaner UI.
MAIN SCREENS AND FUNCTIONALITY
HOME SCREEN: CLEAN CLOSET
- The home screen is the clean closet.
- From the clean closet, the user can access the dirty closet.
- Search icon = scan QR tag to find an item record.
- The user can also manually find an item by going through the various clothing categories.
- The dirty closet is accessible from the clean closet / home page.
- Items that have reached the desired number of wears between washes are automatically put in the dirty closet.
- Users can select items in the dirty closet to add to the hamper.
- The UX defaults to track wears by QR scan to create and strengthen user habits.
- Users are still able to track wears manually by finding the item in the closet.
HAMPER / LAUNDRY
- The user would only access hamper if he / she needs to do laundry.
- Hamper is presorted into loads (unsorted, hand wash, dry clean, hot water, warm water, and cold water), which gives user incentive to append details to newly added clothing.
- The user must create an account to store all the data.
- In the event the app is deleted or the phone is lost, user data gets backed up through an account. The user would need to sign back into the account and continue using the application, without having to re-add items to the closet and re-add all the item details.
HOME SCREEN. The home screen is the clean closet, from which you can search through your closet by scanning the QR tag.
ADD CLOTHING. The user adds clothing by taking a photo and adding some details. The app generates a QR tag that the user can then print and tie to the clothing.
TRACK WEARS. The user can track wears by scanning the QR tag. He/she can also track wears by manually going through the closet and finding the item.
DIRTY CLOSET, HAMPER, LAUNDRY. The dirty closet contains items that have been worn the desirable number of wears. The user would go to the dirty closet and add select items to the hamper. The laundry function contains all items in the hamper in pre-sorted loads.