RecycleNSave Smart Reverse Vending Machine Mobile App- UI/UX Case Study

-Gordon Osmond

Overview

RecycleNSave is a joint initiative between F&N and NEA in placing more than 50 Smart Reverse Vending Machines (RVM) across Singapore to recycle used plastic drink bottles and used aluminum beverage cans in Singapore. Adopt an environmentally conscious lifestyle by offering them a convenient and useful way to recycle used plastic drink bottles and aluminum drink cans for which there are attractive rewards in every transaction. For every ten (10) empty drink containers deposited in a single transaction, users can choose from one option from the range of non-monetary rewards below.

  • STAR$, which can be redeemed for eCapitaVouchers and eDeals on the CapitaStar App which can be used for shopping and dining across CapitaLand malls, as well as eCapitaMall and Capita3Eats.
  • ActiveSG credits which can be used at all ActiveSG facilities.
  • Sentosa Fun Pass Tokens which can be exchanged for attraction passes, souvenirs or food and drinks at participating merchants on Sentosa.
  • Free rides on Anywheel bicycles.
  • One $0.20 NTUC FairPrice discount coupon will be dispensed for every 10 empty plastic drink bottles and/or aluminum drink cans that have been successfully deposited.

This initiative combines a compelling cause, a means for Singaporeans to recycle their used plastic drink bottles and aluminum drink cans and a reward for their efforts.

About The Project

After Smart Reverse Vending Machine (RVM) was launched apparently people still do not take advantage of these tools because they are not as practical and simple in the use of such tools among others.

  • Rewards are given if the user enters at least 10 bottles or used cans.
  • Form of reward that is only a small print paper that does not conform to the recycle and reduce concept that is so often forgotten, saved and wasted.
  • The RVM is often full so users feel that they are wasting their time just to throw away used plastic bottles or cans. and it takes time to wait until the machine can be restarted or look for the machine in another location.

RecycleNSave’s free mobile app will facilitate and overcome the current obstacles and helps people to deposit every transaction, collect points and earn rewards while using the RVM in Singapore.

Working as a sole designer for this project my tasks involved conducting market & user research, mapping out the user journey, identity design, UX design, and prototyping for the first version of a Recycle Vending Machine platform in a Singapore-based startup. For about three weeks I worked at this project to build and ship this research with the objective being to come up with an idea to solve user pain points.

Goals

The goal of this particular project was to identify any usability issues with an emphasis on the well-being users problem while using RVM. It helped me to deepen my knowledge in user experience design and to explore approaches and find out how impulses are integral to user’s lifestyles.

Roles

  • UX Design :Research Synthesis: scope, persona, journey,usability testing.
  • Visual Design: Layouts, color schemes, Typography.
  • Prototyping: User flows, wireframes, Hi-fi prototypes.
  • Testing.

Process

The process at RecycleNSave is based on the Design thinking process and aims to incorporate the key phases of Discovery, Definition, Ideation and Implementation in all.

  • Empathy
  • Define
  • Ideate
  • Prototype
  • Test

Empathy

The empathy process aims to find out whether the problems experienced by users validate the previous assumptions.

The Objective: Understanding the user’s goals, needs and uncovering pain points with the existing user journey.

Methodology: Hybrid qualitative, Interview and Usability Testing.

Sample specification: Determination of criteria or specifications of users who will be interviewed are Male and Female smartphone users, age 14–55 years old, island wide, Using Reverse Vending Machine in the last 1–3 months.

Discussion Guide

In this process, 10 RVM users have been collected who are willing to take their time to talk about the Reverse Vending Machine discussion which is held in several locations such as shopping centers, parks, community centers and sports arenas in the afternoon after working hours. These quick interviews helped me determine scope for the project and better understand the opportunity to uncover any pain points that they were experiencing with the RVM.

Some of the questions I asked include the following:

  1. How was their experience after using RVM?
  2. What level of difficulty do generally they feel?
  3. How satisfied were they using RVM?
  4. How much interest do you have in starting to recycle?
  5. What keeps you motivated in separating recyclable waste?

Here are the answers of the participants during the quick interviews:

  • Matthew Ng 50,

“Cool innovation, so I’m excited to collect used bottles and cans and take them to the RVM, it’s just that sometimes the bottles get stuck so I have to call help desk, luckily the help desk is very helpful. I have visited RVM just nearby my area, I am quite satisfied with using it.”

  • Evelyn 24,

“I often forget to bring a water bottle, so I have to buy mineral water every time I leave the house, and I always use RVM because RVM is often found in the area around the house to my workplace, can be found anywhere and the customer service is quite helpful. The problem is that to get the reward I have to bring 10 bottles and it’s not convenient. Meanwhile I only bring 1 to 2 bottles and no reward I get. With this recycling innovation, I am very satisfied and it is enough to remind me that I have to bring a water bottle instead of buying the water with that plastic bottle.”

  • Darrick 31,

“Firstly I can say it’s really cool, secondly to get a reward do we have to use plastic bottles instead of just leaving and bringing our own bottles. But yes, everything needs a process, I use it not because of a reward but indeed I have been running to go green and recycle from a few years back. RVM is everywhere but I don’t know exactly the point, the problem is that the machine is often full so it can’t be used. It takes time to wait.”

  • William 45,

“I am a passionate person and always use RVM because I consume canned drinks. Very cool, I get rewarded with my trash. The location of the machine is everywhere but I often forget to bring the printed reward paper when it is about to be exchanged.”

  • Estelle 35,

“I am lucky to have this device near my house. I’m happy because I want to help to preserve our planet and it’s a guarantee that this waste will actually be recycled. Very attractive rewards. RVM is often full so better come and use it in the morning. Can’t understand why the form of reward still uses paper, which can actually be replaced with other types such as cards or applications.”

  • Kathy yo 36,

“I collect used bottles and cans and I am always excited to come to RVM with my children, so I teach my children at least one way to protect our earth by recycling this innovation. Unfortunately, the printed reward paper that we get is often forgotten to be carried when it is exchanged. Even so, we are still excited and will continue to use RVM.”

  • Sarah 20,

“I’m excited with this kind of device, especially when they will be installing more of such RVM across the island to encourage more people to recycle. My concern is perhaps an exchange of real monetary value would have been better instead of having the print vouchers (more waste generated) but nonetheless, I’m still waiting for a better way to improve the systems.”

  • Jen Huey 29,

“I have been taking the effort to do this since my first trip to Japan in 2016, so glad when I discovered this RVM here. Saved a dollar off our purchases at NTUC because of this. But it would be great if the reward is not printed. I’m enjoying this so far.”

  • Cherry 16,

“With this RVM, I am even more excited to collect used bottles or cans to get this reward. It’s just that the RVM is sometimes full so you have to look for a machine elsewhere. But that didn’t dampen my enthusiasm to keep doing this recycle. Very cool and modern stuff.”

  • Carla 15,

“Finally! So happy to find RVM here. Get points and benefits too. I can get rid of my mom’s collection. The help desk is very helpful, it’s just that to get the reward we have to bring at least 10 bottles or cans, that’s too much.”

Results

Almost all the users showed interest in the RVM and each of them had problems. 4 of 10 users complain about the RVM Rewards which is in the form of actual paper printed that is actually inconvenient. Followed by 4 users experiencing problems on RVM that are often full so they have to wait or look for other RVM in another location. The rest they were complaining about the maximum deposit to get the reward which reduces user’s interest.

Competitive analysis

So far, there are no comparable offerings, so my research is applied to products from the Recycling field which include the following:

  • susGain
  • Ezi

Define

User Persona

The persona was created based on the data collected from the Public Survey to illustrate the user’s motivations, frustrations, and needs.

User Experience Map

A product-based journey map helped to better understand the Reverse Vending Machine as well as the user and their experience in them.

Addressing the problems

Based on the insights gained from the interviews, user journey map and users behavior I have evaluated problems with potential user.

  • This Application does not required users to bring exactly 10 used bottles or cans but instead user can deposit any amount of them and progressively accumulate needed 10 used bottles or cans and receive rewards. Deposit any amount each transaction to accumulate 10 used bottles or cans and get rewards.
  • With this application it is not require to print reward on the paper and automatically will redeem rewards to the third party companies’ application.
  • The application will indicate working hours and whether the RVM full or under maintenance.
  • This application will indicate the RVM’s nearby based on users location

Information Architecture

User Flow

According to user research, most users are using the RVM nearby their location.

Ideate

Visual Design

The visual design was developed by a simple and welcoming brand identity to make it more appealing to various markets.

Wireframe

MockUp

Enable Location Page

Design of the Enable Location page

The app will ask the user for enable location right after sign up or sign in for detection the location.

Home Page

Design of the Home page

The user can find and see the nearby Reverse Vending machine in the home page, and show the full machine icon if the machine is full. Direction icons appear if the machine is available or can be used and user will be able to drag down the location list for magnify the map.

Scan Page

Design of the Scan page

Users have to scan the QR barcode which is provided by the machine right before they are running the machine or placing used bottles or cans inside the machine. The achievement icon is for bringing the user to the page which will show the deposit sum they have.

Achievement page

Design of Achievements page

This page will be popping up right after scanning a barcode and it will show a number depending on how many used bottles or cans feed in and accumulated by summary deposit.

Rewards Voucher Page

Design of the Reward Vouchers page

User can link directly to a third party app for apply the voucher code automatically or copy code and go through the third party app directly.

Usability Testing

There were a total of 5 participants. The task was to find how participants using the App while using RVM and test the overall quality of the navigation and flow. The test was done individually on mobile phone with the Figma prototype. I sat next to them to observe the progress and asked questions when they have finished. Below is the summary of feedback:

  • 4/5 participants experienced no issue completing the step from scanning process to redeem reward and search the nearby location.
  • 4/5 participants claimed the UI is relatively simple and the flow is easy to follow.
  • 2/5 of the participants mentioned that they are confused about how to contact the support/help desk. Specifically, in regards how to reach them if they got stuck bottles in the machine.
  • 1/5 users suggested the Greeting card is unnecessary.

Prototype

This high fidelity prototype map is the basic user workflow that shows how the users use the app at the same time while using RVM and redeem the rewards. The prototype has been built by using preset UI elements while leveraging feedback from previous user tests.

Test

Conclusion

RecycleNSave RVM itself is in great demand by many people and has always been a special place for go green enthusiasts, especially since Singapore is one of the cleanest countries.

When the research process goes to testing, many participants hope that this project can be realized in real because the idea is quite easy to understand for Reverse Vending Machines users and does not rule out the possibility to add new enthusiasts because of its convenience.

According to the scientists from the University of Georgia and More than 8.3 billion tons of plastics waste and only 9% of that waste has actually been recycled. This waste finds its way to the environment, putting human health at risk and endangering the wildlife. I also learned that some people will do effort since their actions make a difference.

This case study was part of my portfolio and I would love to share any thoughts about any UI/UX related.

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Fitriyah Kondrachuk

Fitriyah Kondrachuk

Hi I’m Fitriyah a UI/UX Design freelancer.