One Week Project for BlackBaud
A web browser plug-in, which detects users' buying behavior and recommends similar item deals from local second-hand stores
To design a tool for individuals to promote reusing items and reduce unused items in the household
What I Learned
Solve a complex problem in one week; Combining business perspective with design solutions
Design research, Concept development, Interface Design, Final Deck
Blackbaud creates software and services for nonprofit and social good organizations. For this project, we were asked to choose one of the UN’s new sustainable development agenda to search for areas where we can have a positive effect on our customers.
Inspiring by the Goal 12: Responsible Production and Consumption, our team broke down what responsible consumption and production meant by creating a mind map on potential design space topics. We identified four areas(Sustainable Tampons, Beef Consumption, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle in Everyday Life, Plastic Bag Use in Stores) to research based on the impact for end-users and how we saw nonprofits acting in the space.
We decided to focus on Reduce, Reuse, Recycle (3R) to better frame further research because:
- It reaches a broader audience that is inclusive to the general public
- Most of our topics researched fell within one of the 3 R’s
Reducing is the most crucial aspect to help advocate for responsible consumption and production.
People often see donating, buying, and selling as forms of reusing, but they have a lot of unused items in their household.
So we questioned ourselves:
How might we design a tool for individuals to promote reusing items and reduce unused items in the household?
Our design is a plug-in on the web browser. It detects users buying behavior and will recommend similar item deals from local second-hand stores. The design serves as a gateway that encourages users to check out the items from local second-hand stores as well as donating unused items.
In this example, we use Habitat for Humanity as a use-case scenario
The plugin can be installed as a browser extension. When it detects a user purchasing something, a small window will pop out to ask if the user wants to explore cheaper, gently used items.
Once a user clicks the explore button on the pop-out message, they can see multiple stores that have similar items.
Each collection of items represents a different store associated with that nonprofit. Information such as the number of items, price range, the condition of items range, and store location are displayed to better help users make decisions.
At the bottom, there will be a message link that encourages donations. By clicking the link, users will be redirected to the nonprofit’s webpage to figure out what they can donate.
During ideation, our team had several iterations about what, how, and when to display the information that users want to see. To make the design right, we talked with potential users about their thoughts of buying used items. And here is what we found:
"Yea, the store is not far away, and has cheaper items that I need, why wouldn’t I check it out before I spend more money to buy a brand new one?"
Collecting Data Relies Heavily on Nonprofits
Nonprofits that could use this plugin will need to configure the information and data associated with each item, as well as update it. Most nonprofit stores will likely already have an inventory list or data set, but pulling that data will be an interesting task that we did not explore.
Only Feasible for Specific Nonprofits
We recognize that this plugin will only be feasible for a specific type of nonprofit. We looked into nonprofits in general and found that there are many types, but ultimately our plugin only allows for nonprofits that sell second-hand items to benefit from this.
Items May Not Satisfy Customer Needs / Availability
The collection of items each store has might vary and not fulfill the customer’s needs. In addition, customers might buy items while other are looking at the same item in the plugin. We did not consider this design to purchase items in real time, so further research would need to be done.
SaaS (Single Plugin)
Blackbaud can brand this plugin as their own and advertise it to nonprofits so they can be added to the plugin. Blackbaud will maintain this plug-in and the nonprofits will pay a monthly subscription fee (further marketing details can be discussed regarding how this can be specifically integrated).
Although this is not Blackbaud’s current business model, we believe by providing a singular plugin, users will not be overwhelmed if multiple nonprofits want to have this plugin.
Product (Multiple Plugins)
Nonprofits can buy the plugin tool from Blackbaudand rebrand it as their own. They can customize it by directing people to their online store if they have one,PR for their philanthropy and fundraising events, and only display items found at their stores. However, this will require the nonprofit to maintain the plugin.
Currently, this is more in line with Blackbaud’s business model. Ultimately this business model will make it easier for nonprofits to promote their own stores and create individual plugins.
Including more information in the plugin, such as item images and detailed descriptions
Through usability testing, we received positive feedback from participants about the intention of this design.However, one of the participants expressed concerns about the quality of the item. He would like to see more images of the items and why those items were in the store. Showing him images would more likely motivate him to check out those items. Therefore, in our next iteration, we would work with nonprofits to explore the possibility to include item images and detailed descriptions in the plugin.
Exploring more donation methods and integrate them into the plugin
By considering the fact that different nonprofits have different preferred methods to receive donations, we want to leverage the design purpose of building a more sustainable future by providing users with various means of donation. In our next iteration, we would like to explore more donation methods and their theories to better leverage the design impact of the plugin.