Scrapp helps you donate simply, ethically, consciously.
Scrapp is an ethically-vetted mobile app for upcycling, recycling, and redistributing used goods. Its objective is to make donating and recycling simple and provide transparency around organizations that purport to be
working in the public interest.
3 Team Members, 5 Weeks.
Deliverables: competitive/comparative analysis, user research, and personas, journey maps, user flows, site maps, sketches, wireframes and a clickable prototype.
Conducted: interviews, competitive/comparative analysis, usability testing.
Design tools: Miro, Meistertask, Figma, Google Suite, paper and pen.
How might we make it easier to donate clothes and be more intentional about where they end up?
Over 85 percent of clothing and shoes purchased by Americans winds up in a landfill. At the same time, many are going without.
Scrapp: an app designed to help New Yorkers donate easily to accountable organizations and donor centers. Scrapp aims to connect donors with organizations and people in need rather than have donors blindly give to donation centers that
simply place textiles and goods in landfills or resell for financial profit.
Competitive analysis and generative research
User research finds significant deficiencies in non-profit organizations' website content, which often fails to provide the info people need to make donation decisions. Academic literature around consumer
behavior shows compelling evidence to suggest that individuals are not that concerned with where their used items go. They are instead most concerned with the ease of donating.
With the mismanagement of these used textiles also comes a significant environmental impact. The recycling rate for all textiles in the United States is about 15 percent. For textiles in clothing and footwear, it's even
lower: 13.6 percent.
Data sources: American Apparel and Footwear Association, International Trade Commission, the U.S. Department of Commerce's Office of Textiles and Apparel, and the Council for Textile Recycling. Infographic source:
United States EPA
Neighborhood donation bins often have signs indicating that donated goods will go to the poor or, in some cases, to legitimate charities. But the needy do not always benefit from
much of what is collected. Instead, the clothing is often sold in thrift stores or bulk overseas, with any sales going to for-profit entities that can be difficult to trace or contact. Planet Aid is an example of this type of organization.
Anti lgbtqi+ rhetoric
Some religious not for profits still promote an anti-lgbtqi+ agenda The Salvation Army is one example of this type of organization (Valle 2019), but there are others.
Scrapp wants to empower its users with the knowledge to make informed decisions about where their donations will make an impact that matters to them.
One of the first things we did when we began thinking about this project was a review of the academic literature on consumer behavior around donating. A study by Ha-Brookshire
and Hodges (2009) stood out. The authors looked at social responsibility as a motivator for used clothing donations.
They found that: discarding used clothing was usually prompted by the need to make room for new clothes.
Social responsibility was a weak motivator for used clothing donation and there is a possible gap between how non-profits describe used clothing donation and how consumers understand it.
This finding disputes our initial assumption that people want to donate more ethically.
Our user subsequent research supported these findings.
This critical insight was the first indication that we had to first design a product that made the process of donating EASY. Our hypothesis: if we can bring people on-board with convenience — and we can meet that need
— we will have a
platform to use to also inspire them to donate more consciously.
👆The user's bargaining process when they are deciding which clothes to keep and what to ditch.
My team and I conducted a thorough competitive analysis to get a sense of similar apps within the same space as a proposed scrapp app.
We wanted to understand more about the current solutions for users looking for donation solutions from digital products. Having a good understanding of this initial landscape was an important benchmark because it informed the substance of
our subsequent user
Review of feedback left online
Having identified the competition, we wanted to understand more about the problems the vocal minority were raising online with them.
Much of what we discovered online mirrored the views expressed during our user interviews.
Online, reviewers often voiced frustration about the lack of information regarding what donation sites did and did not accept. One reviewer from Brooklyn said of a local Salvation Army drop off point:
"My items were too heavy to carry on the subway so I paid $20 to uber down to the donation center to donate clothing only to find they couldn't
accept any more donations. This should be advertised online so I wouldn't have wasted money trying to give a donation that wasn't accepted. Very disappointing. Defeats the point of donating."
"Donations are refused an hour before closing... don’t come!", another user wrote.
My team and I conducted several rounds of interviews with a variety of user types from our personal and professional networks. Interviews were recorded in-person and transcribed for further analysis and abstraction using affinity mapping
After transcribing and analyzing our first round of interviews, we did several affinity-mapping exercises to identify and qualify the sub-themes that began to emerge within top-level categories.
The data we captured revealed insight into our user's demographics, motivations, pain points, current solutions, likes, and needs.
Here's what we learned about our users from our interviews
Their current solutions
Their pain points
What they love
We used Miro 👆to work on scrapp collaboratively.
We used Figma 👆to build and test our prototype. Figma is my design tool of choice, especially when working with teams, because of its multiplayer/collaborative functionality. It helped us iterate quickly and get
work done while in the same room, and while working remotely.
Here 👆 is some insight into how we built our initial personas using the data we extrapolated and abstracted from our interviews.
Our trader persona was later dropped because although some of our users expressed a desire to sell or trade their used goods, we had to prioritize and narrow the scope of our project. Scrapp is really about donating and
recycling. There are numerous trading apps out there for users wanting to capitalize on their goods.
Later, our social do-gooder type was combined with our environmentalist, eventually becoming "Doff", our (drop it off) personality.
Refining our personas enabled us to design for everyone, without it becoming too crowded.
Get it out of here
This user is motivated purely by convenience. Their used clothes often go to a landfill because they are too busy juggling a young family and work to concern themselves with such things.
"I need a pickup service"
"Carrying bags on the subway takes energy and it's a lot to carry."
"I'm incredibly busy. I just don't have time."
Drop it off
This user is most interested in avoiding waste to landfill. They want to recycle, upcycle, bicycle.. all of the cycles. They are motivated by reducing their carbon footprint.
This user loves feeling like their donations go to a cause they support but they want to know where their donation will end up.
"I would like to know who needs what"
"I won't donate to any religious charities who promote an anti-lgbtqi+ agenda. I need other options and it needs to be clear"
"I struggle to find drop off locations"
"No easy way to see the philosophy of a donation site."
User journey sketches
After conducting interviews, we discovered that we had some false
assumptions about donors. Initially, we believed that donors would
choose donation centers and causes based on ethics and
accountability. We discovered that all of our interviewees based
their donations on convenience. Even if they wanted to support
causes they simply found it easier to donate to the closest drop
We based our journeys on how we could alter these
“convenience drops” by providing the information users need to
donate to ethical and accountable charities or even better,
highlight the charities that offer convenient pick-up.
Current assumed journey
We assumed that donors would either drive, take public transportation, or walk to drop boxes or donation centers, leave their donations and continue on with their days. We know users are frustrated by inconvenient drop points but also by
not knowing what donation centers accept. One interviewee expressed helplessness not knowing where goods actually end up.
Find a location and drop off goods
Having an app on your phone that will easily display (list and/or map) where to donate but also WHAT is accepted is key. A huge pain point for donors is not knowing what is accepted where. We also realized at this point that there are
definitely niche donation centers. For example, some animal shelters accept used bedding and towels; textile recycling centers accept unwearable items. In this journey, the user is dropping the items.
Schedule a pick-up
Most pickup options are offered by donation centers that have the resources to fund pick-ups. These organizations are sometimes affiliated with a religion, which can be a deterrent to users.
User flow scenario
We based our user flows on different personality types and purposes. We knew that having as much information as possible upfront would entice users to take different paths to donation. Some users may want to donate to support services for
returning citizens or the homeless while others might want to donate to organizations that have strong accountability to the environment and climate change. Giving them all the information they need to make informed decisions was at the
crux of our flows.
Schedule a pick-up or find a donation site
Find a nearby drop off point and take your donation items in-person. Find out exactly who takes what, and what the organization stands for. Don't have time to drop the donation off? Schedule a pick-up instead.
👇 Below offers some insight into how we initially planned out our early user flows with our original four personas
Donate in person
Drop it off
Support community organizations directly.
Find a nearby drop off point and take your donation items in-person. Find out exactly who takes what, and what the organization stands for.
We pick it up
Get it out of here
Logged in user with profile and preferences preset
We come and pick it up and take it away. It goes to our facility where it gets sorted. It is then sold to a third party or other second-hand good dealers. Profit goes directly to your elected cause/s per your profile settings.
Sketching as many screens as possible was necessary to consider
how we wanted our users to interact with Scrapp. We debated
whether or not we would need to ask for locations or profile creation
immediately or if the app would be stickier if we allowed users to
browse without commitment. We discussed various layouts for the
map page and how much information we include.
We built our mid-fi wireframe and prototype with Figma for collaborative purposes. As planned
we kept our onboarding to a minimum. Users are only really required to set up a profile if
they want pick-up services. We toyed with the idea of a location/nearby option
and also a search function and saving search locations.
Donation category icons
Social icon variants
Usability testing was a very important step in iterating on Scrapp. We presented our prototype to five users and received both positive and negative feedback in our first round of testing. This feedback encouraged us to shift some of our
flow and helped us clear up some confusion in opening screens. We also had issues with our wires that we cleaned up based on user feedback.
You know when you think you get how people operate based on wildly inaccurate assumptions? That was definitely what happened
to us during the discovery phase. As a group, we truly believed that people wanted to donate their goods to causes with which they are ethically aligned. We learned this is NOT the initial motivation: getting rid of items in the most
convenient way possible is all that matters. Once our users realized that they have little choice about where their items end up, a perceptible shift was felt.
Our next steps will include building out more screens to focus specifically on categories of donation opportunities. We want to highlight unconsidered options for our users such as donations to animal shelters (as demonstrated in the
screens below). We will also continue to organize screens for best UI flow and focus on style as we head into development.