Footprint is a mobile app on a mission to decrease the amount of material waste in our environment.

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The Story

The concept of disposing of material waste correctly is nothing new. 

We are taught the importance of sustaining a healthy planet at an early age.  Numerous initiatives can be found across the globe engaging people to contribute in positive ways.

I recently learned that the US recycling and composting rate was only 32% of total waste in 2018. The remaining materials end up in landfills or in our fragile ecosystems. 

If recycling is such a prominent message in our society,

why is this number so low? Where is the disconnect? How can we improve the system?


Sole UX/UI Designer

User Research, Design Strategy
Wireframing, Visual Design
Interaction Design, User Testing

Figma, Overflow, Illustrator

Time Frame
June-Aug 2020

Problem Scope

Material waste has become increasingly complex, and people are typically only given two to three options for discarding waste: garbage, recycle, and compost.

On pick up day, people have become accustomed to simply tossing all materials together rather than looking up the correct method of disposal. This act has led to a huge lack of awareness in how our everyday waste affects our environment and to severe deficiencies in our waste management system.


The Solution

One of the key pain points of users was that they struggled to find a recycling app that met all of their needs when it came to disposing of material waste. 

High level goals include:

1. Help people visualize their daily impact.

2. Bridge the gap in communication between recycling, material waste management,         and the community.

3. Improve how users find drop off locations for materials they can't dispose of normally.

User Research

Defining Key Insights

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Track Impact    

People view their impact as too small to make a difference and have a hard time visualizing their personal contribution.​​

Local Guidelines     

​​With the intention of doing good, people recycle all materials together without educating themselves on local guidelines.

Find Location    

People don’t understand what materials can be recycled curbside vs. what materials need to be taken to a separate location for processing.


User Flows

One of the most difficult parts of designing frames was finding a way to offer as much information as possible without overwhelming the user. I wanted users to feel educated and empowered throughout the experience.

While conducting user testing, I was careful to consider how users digested the information they were given.  Did they feel overwhelmed, informed? 

Another struggle was understanding how users would track their impact. I considered photos, barcode scanning, and simply searching material types within the app. 

I quickly realized that users had different preferences for tracking their impact, and I challenged myself to create a flow that offered all three options to encourage the use of the tracking feature.

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Final Designs

These MVP features solve for three major scenarios that users face when correctly disposing of materials. The aim was to create an experience that allowed users to solve and complete these tasks in one place and to increase user retention.

Track Impact 

The Track Impact feature solves for the largest user pain point within this project. Users expressed frustration when it came to envisioning their personal contribution. This feature address these concerns by calculating their contribution by weight, allowing them to visualize their impact in real time.

Drop Off

When certain materials cannot be accepted curbside, they must be taken to its specific drop off center.  These centers can be easily located with the Drop Off feature based on the material chosen.

Local Guidelines

The last MVP feature bridges the gap in communication between people and their local municipality.  Guidelines concerning recycling, curbside pick up and composting are easily accessible.


Final Designs


Creating the apps onboarding was an opportunity to introduce users to the three primary icons and the features they correspond with. Users can easily skip ahead to the main features by selecting skip on the bottom right corner.

Next Steps  

  • Partner with data scientists to calculate each impact contribution as accurately as possible. 


  • Start testing in a city as well as the suburbs in order to observe patterns between city users vs. suburb users. ​

  • Partner with various municipalities.


  • Determine which feature is most frequently used.

Success Metrics

Errors - Thanks to the onboarding process, users were successfully introduced to each MVP icon and the action that they correlate with. This design decision minimized user error when completing a task. 

Progress - Users were able to see their progress and were excited to continue tracking their impact in the future.
Time - Users were satisfied with the time and effort it took to complete a task.

Thank you!
Reach out for the full deck.