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Climate Reality Project

Eco-Friendly Field Guide

The Climate Reality Project is a non-profit founded in 2006 by former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, with 174 chapters worldwide and thousands of members in the United States. The organization empowers everyday people to lead on climate, equipping them with the training and tools to educate others about climate and drive change.

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Cleaning Nature


In this concept project, my design team was tasked with seeking ideas for tools that The Climate Reality Project Chicago Chapter can put in the hands of everyday people to motivate them to act in ways that are kind to the environment and that will minimize their contribution to climate change.

My Tools

  • Comparative Analysis

  • Competitive Analysis

  • Survey

  • User Interviews

  • Affinity Mapping

  • Sketches

  • Wireframes

  • Prototyping

My Role

UX/UI designer

My Team

2 other UX Designers


Eco-Friendly Information Aggregator Mobile App


2 Weeks

Final Prototype

Click on the image below to view

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Where to Begin

Since we were working with the Chicago Chapter of Climate Reality, I chose to analyze what other climate organizations in Chicago are doing in their efforts to achieve the same goal. To investigate this, I conducted a feature analysis with 4 other websites and looked at what features existed or didn’t exist with each group.

Most had a donations page, calendar page, and social media links.

One competitor had multiple quizzes about climate change and other environmentally related topics

Another had a “field guide”, which was a grid of pictures and best practices as a way to help communities become more resilient through action on climate change.

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Climate Reality Project

Earth Day

*Chicago Community

350 Chicago

Bloomberg Philanthropies

Field Guide

Annual Reports

Events Calendar



Social Media Links


Sign Agreement

Request Presentation

* Chicago Community Climate Partnership

Field Guide

Screenshot 2022-07-27 at 14-03-44 Chicago Region Climate Action Field Guide - Chicago Regi
Misty Morning

Finding the User

To better understand who would benefit from a digital tool related to environmental advocacy, we sent out a survey through social media to different Chicago-based environmental groups as well as our own personal circles. 26 individuals completed the survey. Some of the questions we asked them were:

Do you currently belong to any environmental groups?

Do you think there are enough resources available to stay environmentally conscious?

What platforms do you use to stay informed on environmental issues?

Only 27% surveyed said there were not enough resources, with the majority feeling there was enough help out there to stay environmentally aware.


However, when we asked why they felt there weren’t enough resources, over 62% of the responses revolved around a lack of knowledge.

“A lot of people do not know about the dangers of climate change, so I’ll say that’s the biggest missing resource.”

Not enough people know or care about the environment…”

Investigating Further

Out of the 26 people surveyed, 7 agreed to participate in an interview.

One of those interviewees was actually a member of the Climate Reality Project in Chicago. However, during my interview with them, they confessed that a lot of their time and effort was more focused on a different group, 350 Chicago. This was because the legal aspect of Climate Reality proved to be too complicated for them after their presentation training, and they had also performed more community work with the other group prior to Climate Reality.

The majority of those interviewed were living in or have lived in a large metropolitan area similar to Chicago. Some of the questions we asked them were:

What motivates you to be environmentally active and why?

What challenges do you think exist that prevent people from being environmentally conscious?

What would help or what has helped you stay environmentally conscious?

Wind Turbines

Finding Pain Points

From those interviews, I synthesized the data through affinity mapping, a tool that gathers large amounts of language data (ideas, opinions, issues) and organizes them into groupings based on their natural relationships. This information would help me hone in on specific pain points when  staying environmentally active.


“[I wanted to work with environmental groups full-time] so that I could make sure that my kids had a world to live in in 10 years!”


“It’s not very convenient to be environmentally active.”


“[I] try not to let anything go to waste and I don’t use non-reusable plastics.”


“I believe if people had a resource that told them about what to do or buy to be more eco-friendly, they would be more proactive.”

With this breakdown, my team had enough information to take on…

The Problem

Young city-dwelling adults need convenient access to knowledge about eco-friendly practices in order to become more proactive in cleaning up their environment.

Volunteers Cleaning Park

So How Might We...

…give them faster access to eco-friendly information?

motivate them to implement those practices?

…create a way to connect them to the climate change community?

To help answer these questions, we developed a persona that embodies our target user.


Meet: Micah

A 27-year-old, full-time Web Developer living in Chicago

Uses reusable bags and recycles often

Has difficulty keeping up with other eco-friendly practices

Needs easier access to information when he's on the go


“I wanna start helping the environment because I believe the planet is on fire.”

What We Came Up With

With this project, we had to develop a minimum viable product (MVP), which is a product with enough features to attract early-adopter customers and validate a product idea.

I was in the mode of achieving a product that would be ready to launch soon after conception with minimal development and maintenance. With that mindset, my ideas became focused on an app that can work offline as well as online. This was inspired by an offline subway map I used when I first moved to NYC, and I believed that, since our design solution would be considered a tool, the offline capability could potentially be beneficial.

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My final idea for a design solution was to develop an offline “field guide app”, or an information aggregator, that people like Micah could use to look up best practices quickly and easily. This app would be advertised during their training, presentations, and website, and available on all app stores. I explained my suggestion to my group and we collectively decided to pursue that direction.

But That's Not All!

After discussing this further, we realized we still needed to find a way to motivate these users. This was where we came up with the idea for a “tip of the day” notification, in which every day, an eco-friendly fact would pop up, and when clicked on, would tell the user more information about that specific topic.


The Story

To better illustrate how the app would be beneficial, I drew up a storyboard to demonstrate a scenario in which the "field guide" would prove useful.


In the story below, 'Micah' receives a "tip of the day" notification. Upon opening the app, he learns that LED bulbs are not only better for the environment, but cost-effective too. Remembering how much his previous energy bill was, Micah goes to the store to buy new bulbs. He then replaces his old lighting with the new LED bulb. Now Micah is saving money while also being 'eco-friendly'. This brings him joy because he feels like he's doing the right thing for both the planet and his wallet.


The Design

From that scenario, we ideated some design ideas through sketching, before going into wireframes using Figma. We each had our own ideas, but the group ended up using my tile design as the final layout. I went with this approach to make the categories easily readable when used quickly and at a slight distance. The size was to allow for fast and accurate thumb movement.


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Testing, Testing…

With our wireframe prototype, we conducted 4 usability tests to see if the design was effective in rapid ease of use. What we learned from this process was:

100% of the participants said they found it “easy” to use

75% of them were confused about the placement of the “back” and “home” buttons

All users felt that having the categories listed as bullet points was confusing; didn’t realize that they were links to other pages

50% of them felt having the word ‘subcategories’ was redundant

Because of the 2-week time constraint, we were unable to reiterate our wireframes and test further to see what else we could improve on.

Design Paper

The Result

Using the feedback from testing, I created a final high-fidelity prototype. The other group members created their final versions as well, and after taking a vote we ended up using my button color combination and home button location with another team member’s homepage color ideas.

Final Product

Final Prototype
Recycling Bins

Next Steps

After completing this design sprint, I had a feeling that we may have been a bit “too” minimal with our MVP, neglecting to fully tap into the motivations and habits of the user. With that in mind, if I were to continue with this project, I would:

Refocus my user research and search for more emotions that drive motivation, create habits, and maintain momentum

Perform more tests using surveys, interviews, and even guerilla testing (a relatively fast and informal way to test ideas, get high-level feedback, and potentially uncover user experience problems)

Add more features, such as a petition hub, a local group finder and forum, and gamification

Create an opportunity early in the project to get to know my design team and create a sense of trust and comfortability


With this project, I had my first experience working with a design team to find an issue and develop a solution. And while not always easy, it provided me with insight into how I could establish connections with my colleagues quicker, how to decide on design ideas as a group, and how to respect one another when it comes to conflict and boundaries. With these lessons learned, I am eager to be an even better teammate in future projects.

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