Product Design
Project Management
Oct - Dec 2022
Project Info
Class Project
Team of 4
Interaction Design
User Research
Paper Prototyping
Tools Used


The Problem

There is significant ambiguity, mistrust, and confusion surrounding sustainable groceries and the food + beverage industry. Trying to identify trustworthy sustainable groceries, justifying their higher price point, and understanding the importance of “buying green” are challenging, complex, and time-consuming processes faced by many modern day grocery shoppers.

The Solution

Sustainance is a mobile app that empowers shoppers to scan products to easily identify pertinent sustainability metrics, create sustainable shopping lists, and access credible, palatable information on grocery products and companies.


  • Mainstream food and beverage companies have historically utilized child and slave labor, abused livestock, privatized local resources, and used environmentally destructive practices (Reports, 2017)
  • Many ‘certified organic’ products that are imported to the U.S. are certified by foreign government agents, who tend to be very lenient about what is organic and what is not (Wells, 2015).

Project Timeline

Empathize, Define
Project planning
Understanding the space
Contextual Inquiry
Design, Prototype
Solution Framing
Interactive Prototype
Project Reflection
OverviewResearchDesignFinal DesignReflection


Project Scoping

Research Methods Used

Contextual Inquiry
User Interviews
Target User
Gen-Z and Millennials (18 - 34 years) given their rising spending power, access to information technology, and propensity to engage in more socially + environmentally conscious behaviors.
I then lead three contextual inquiries with my team at several grocery stores to understand key tasks, workarounds, and decisions made by stakeholders while grocery shopping coupled with questions to clarify + confirm observations and behavior.
Goal: I created a survey for over 30 participants to gain quantitative metrics on grocery company familiarity, goals when grocery shopping, and importance given to sustainable practices.

Key Insights: Participants are very familiar with mainstream grocery companies but not their sustainable counterpart. Grocery price is the primary motivator for 100% of participants while shopping, with only 10 participants taking sustainability factors into consideration.
User Interview

Contextual Inquiry


I conducted two of the three semi-structured interviews to dive deeper into our stakeholders grocery shopping behaviors, goals, and thoughts on sustainability + food industry.
Research Synthesis
Generated Themes
01 - Structured Spending
  • List-based grocery shopping on set intervals at stores in close proximity.
  • Money spent on items that are perceived as valuable.
02 - Indifference
  • Little importance assigned to product certification labels due to uncertainty around legitimacy and meaning.
  • Little attention given to food industry practices.
03 - Credibility
  • Gravitation towards products that are perceived as credible.
  • Sustainable product claims perceived as performative, manipulative, and unreputable.
Task Analysis


Solution Framing

Fluid + Simple
product must easily fit into user grocery shopping activities and empower them to accomplish their goals with minimal effort.
Engaging + Meaningful
design should provide experientially meaningful interactions to facilitate continued usage.
Design Challenge
How might we design a solution to encourage people to grocery shop more sustainability in a palatable, informed, and effortless manner?


Usability Testing

I conducted three usability tests where I gave participants usage scenarios to learn about their thoughts on feature flows and information before designing a third paper prototype with test insights.
Design Brainstorming
The team selected two tasks to focus our brainstorming on:
  • Planning a grocery shopping trip beforehand.
  • Trying to identify legitimate sustainable grocery products + labels.
After exploring several mediums and sharing storyboards, we decided to move forward with my mobile app proposal.
Product Features
Sustainable Shopping List
Users can create shopping lists beforehand, viewing pertinent product + company metrics and sustainability details to better inform their future grocery decisions.
Product Scan
Quickly scan grocery item barcodes of certification labels to identify key metrics, sustainability status, or label legitimacy status to clear up any uncertainty or ambiguity.

Paper Prototyping

I created our first set of paper mockups to support our selected tasks and convey all critical aspects of my design.


Visual Language

Final Design

I then jumped into Figma to transition our paper prototype to a high-fidelity digital mockup, making strategic adjustments to visual elements and copy to fit this new medium.
Home Interface
Users can learn about sustainable food and beverage companies and view recent in-app activity to easily jump back into grocery - related workflow.
Sustainable Shopping List
Users may create grocery lists and select grocery stores to view product availability and pricing as they add items. All grocery items are accompanied with pertinent metrics and sustainability documentation, streamlining current shopping goals and encouraging sustainable purchases.
Scan Interface
Grocery barcodes and certification labels can be scanned to reveal sustainability and/or legitimacy documentation, helping shoppers make more confident and informed grocery shopping decisions in real-time. Scanned items can be saved or added to a list for future reference.

Final Presentation

I created a project poster which the team and I presented to a panel of industry designers and researchers invited to evaluate all CSE 440 student final presentations.
Award Ceremony 🏆
Out over over 50 students, our team was extremely proud to received two awards, one for 'Best Research' and 'Most Polished Digital Mockup'!
Landing Page
Phase Selection
Assessment Introduction
ECD Language Guide
Phase One: See The System
See The System Question One
See The System Question Three
See The System Question Four
See The System Question Two
Assessment Results


Throughout this project, I particularly was able to sharpen my paper prototyping abilities, which proved to be quite fruitful in allowing me to quickly iterate and test our design ideas before jumping into digital mockups.

Leading contextual inquiries was extremely insightful into understanding our stakeholders workflow and behaviors, albeit a bit rocky in the beginning given our unfamiliarity with the methodology.

If I were to continue this project, I would implement our 'Education' and 'Profile' interfaces and conduct additional user testing to identify pitfalls in our product's digital medium.

Thanks for stopping by, feel free to explore my other projects!