IBM x Adobe Creative Jam, 2019
An app that encourages folks to take small, easy steps that lessen their impact on climate and the environment.
Research, Copywriting, UX (team), UI (team)
XD, Illustrator, InDesign
Education and Progress, Conservation and Sustainability
Climate change demands action from all of us: NGOs, governments, corporations, cities, and even individuals like you and me. Loop is an app that makes taking action a little bit easier by helping folks learn about and adjust everyday habits through easy, approachable tasks that reduce their impact on climate and the environment.
I worked on Loop with a team of four other students at Cal Poly—Amber Chiang, Sam Rogers, Sasha Menshikova, and Tyler Rathod—as a part of Adobe’s Fall 2019 Creative Jam, hosted in partnership with IBM. We had just over two days from prompt to final presentations, making this project a true design “sprint” in every sense.
My main responsibilities for Loop—aside from ideation and testing, which started off the entire project—were research, copywriting, and working with Amber and Tyler on the app’s user interface. During our first few hours planning, however, it was everyone in: all five of us bounced ideas around and filled the studio’s whiteboards with names, features, and priorities. We eventually settled on a few key concepts that would guide Loop’s design moving forward.
Loop provides a personalized, customizable experience that lets users pick which kinds of climate action are important to them. From there, it guides them to making a difference in those areas specifically.
Each day, Loop suggests a handful of simple, easy-to-complete steps users can take to shrink their climate impact. As users complete them, they check steps off like a to-do list and can track how their progress adds up over time right in the app.
As users complete steps, they move through levels and earn points. And to make users more likely to complete steps, Loop learns which types of actions they complete most often and adapts other steps to make them more doable over time.
Once we’d finished ideating, I started digging into topic research for the copy we’d use throughout the app. I combed through countless articles and websites—from Keep It Golden (California’s Energy Upgrade site) to the New York Times and NRDC—to compile a list of steps anyone can take to reduce their carbon footprint.
After the research process, I began writing the copy that went with each step, keeping in mind the overall voice and feel we wanted Loop to embody. Loop needed to be friendly, approachable, and easy to understand at a glance, but also be willing to explain things if users wanted a detailed understanding of the why behind each step.
Any kind of change can be scary, climate change especially. Explain steps and the reasons behind them in a way that’s friendly and emphasizes possibility, not impending trouble. Keep this same low-stakes, encouraging voice throughout the app, from sign-up to settings.
Break each habit, like changing one’s diet, down into simple, actionable steps that are quick and easy to take. And make each suggestion actionable by providing tips for getting started and a sense of the real-world impact that each small change adds up to in the long run.
Educating our users so they can make smart choices even without the app’s prompts is key to forming long-lasting habits. Always explain the “why” behind steps, and make extra information, like links to primary sources, readily available for those who want more details.
Two days and one presentation later, Loop was finished and the design sprint complete. Out of a pool of teams representing several dozen schools, our prototype came in first place. I’m very grateful to Adobe, IBM, and, of course, my team for making this prototype a reality—and for the long, laughter-filled and coffee-fueled weekend in the studio.
Check out the interactive prototype below to get a feel for Loop, or look through Loop's list of steps above to reduce your own carbon footprint.
Tapping each step brings up a detail view, where you can learn more about why it matters and how to get started. Or, set a reminder to save it for another day.
Daily steps focused on your selected issue areas—like food, transportation, water, or activism—appear as to-do items, so you always know what’s on your plate.
Keep tabs on what you’ve done and earn points for each completed task—the more you do, the faster your virtual seedling grows in the app.
When you first open Loop, you’re greeted with a friendly walkthrough and a few questions to make the app more relevant to the things you’re already interested in. And as you use it, Loop learns what you like and what you don’t, so your steps become more relevant over time.
Based on where you live, work, and study, Loop suggests steps you’re actually able to do—so it won’t suggest switching to renewable energy if your town already gets its power from a solar or wind farm, and it won’t ask you to walk to work during a Montana winter.
With Loop, it’s easy to see how big of an impact you’ve made with just a glance, or dive into the details with weekly and monthly summaries of your progress. And as you use the app more and more, all of your achievement badges and completed commitments are tallied up too.
Since climate action is a collective effort, Loop connects you to community events, like trash pickups or trail days, that build local climate resilience. And with sponsored Goals, you can engage directly with organizations working around the globe to fight climate change’s effects.
While Loop’s steps are written to be understood at a glance, each also includes details on why it matters, suggestions to get started, and links to sites from organizations like NRDC to learn more.
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