Product Design | Proof of Concept

Sorte Waste Via
Computer Vision

The Problem

The problem is that sorting trash is a very confusing experience. People want to make sustainable waste disposal choices but find it difficult to do so for a variety of reasons.

For example:

  • Might be given training but information overload causes them to forget
  • Visual design of waste cans might not resemble what the user wants to dispose of
  • Deciding how to sort triggers an uncertain emotion causing a negative experience

Design Question:
How might we encourage users to sort their waste without having a negative experience so that they can make more sustainable choices?

Step 1: Research, Users Via Interviews & Observations

I started by interviewing users to make sure this was a valid problem for them. The first individual I interviewed was a general manager for a hotel restaurant in San Francisco. From the interviews and observations I created 3 main personas to guide the design of the project.

Step 2: Brainstorm & Wireframe

After empathizing with user needs the next thing I did was brainstorm via wireframes on a whiteboard. From the wireframes I decided to narrow the scope of the project to focus on the sorting of the item because that was the main pain point of users.

Step 3: User Journey with Hi-Fidelity Mockups

Jane has had a long day at work and is in a rush to get home. She swings by her favorite fast food restaurant, orders the usual, and quickly devours her meal. When she goes to dispose her waste she freezes & then gets frustrated. Where does each part go?

Jane simply takes a picture with her phone and the mobile app will take care of the sorting for her.

Redo uses image recognition via computer vision to partition each part of the waste and states whether it's recycle, compost, or trash. It then labels the image accordingly with icons, text, and sound making sure it's accessible for everyone.

Lastly, when the Steps button is clicked it brings Jane to a list she can check off with inspiration below it. To keep her engaged it shows her why her sorting matters with statistics and encouragement to continue!

Learnings & Conclusion

 I learned a lot about the struggles of restaurant  in the Bay Area when it comes to waste and the cities fining them. Prior to this project I didn't know the cost associated with overwaste and it was very informing to learn.

This was the first project I applied the concept of computer vision to so it was interesting to ideate and arrive at this final design. I throughly enjoyed the design process to create this solution to the problem of figuring out how to easily sort waste.