Create a solution that targets and improves common processes using biomimicry.
My role: Project Manager and UX Designer
Deliverables: A proposal board, business model canvas, and prototype.
No matter the system you are using, there are more than likely microfibres, microplastics, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and other pollutants in the water you’re drinking every day. The WHO has released a warning regarding those who use strong filtration systems, such as reverse osmosis, as filtered water lacks minerals and nutrients that your body needs. Furthermore, regularly drinking filtered water can lead to mineral and vitamin leaching from your body. This means that the water you’re drinking could be doing more harm than you expect. That isn’t the only issue, though. Humankind is using too much of the freshwater resources our planet has available. It is expected that up to 5 billion people will experience water scarcity by 2050. At this point, reusing water is the future of mankind.
Although the water filtration market is saturated with many products and companies, we had a more specific goal: providing filtered freshwater using ocean mussel biomimicry through a smart system that reintroduces minerals into drinking water. Our objective was to find a gap in the market by understanding our competitors and narrowing down our target market. By studying and comparing hot topics, close competitors, and our own ideas we found that the market lacked smart filtrations systems and systems that introduce minerals.
We created three personas for this project in order to fully understand our target market. These personas included our Extreme persona, Jeff Foster, a software engineer at Google in Kitchener, ON who owns an off-grid family cottage property in the Muskokas, Daphne Huang, a retired school teacher living in a small retirement community with a passion for gardening and a distaste for tap water, and finally Harmony Clarke, an Urban Planner working for the City of Barrie who believes it important to educate her children on sustainability and the importance of caring for the earth.
Our personas displayed a set of distinctly different challenges and opportunities. What they do share, however, is their middle-income levels and 40-70 year age range. After conducting research, we found that these age and income ranges would be the most reliable consumer as they would likely own their property and have the motivation to save on their water bill.
Using Jeff Foster as my character, I sketched a storyboard of how I would imagine him using our product at his cottage. In this story, Jeff has set up his H2O Revive system at the cottage and is using the app to monitor the system while he is at home. With the help of the app, Jeff no longer needs to worry about facing any unexpected issues when he and his family arrive at the cottage. Storyboarding allowed me to understand what information the app needed to show Jeff in order to erase the pain points of our competitors’ water filtration systems.
Storyboard for Jeff Foster
As this storyboard was done before the product was in development, the depiction of the app and physical product are not accurate.
Business Model Canvas
The creation of a business model canvas allowed us to understand the basic needs of our business. As much as I enjoy the design and user research behind the creation of a product, discovering what was necessary to start a successful business was integral.
The development of the product system included a storage tank for filtered water, the filters, and a way to install them. The filters are supported by a bracket that houses the tubing required for the water to enter and exit the filters to make its way through the system. Each filter has a unique look so that installation and maintenance becomes more efficient, all while keeping a consistent minimalistic modern design.
Our application connects with our system to improve customers’ experience such as maintenance and repairs. The app will alert users of upcoming filter changes, pending maintenance issues, and help the user choose which course of action they would prefer, do-it-yourself with video guides, or calling in an expert.
Through the use of storyboarding, identifying competitor pain points, followed by user testing, the prototype of our app had been developed. User testing identified some navigation issues which were redesigned and further tested with subjects ranging in age from 20 to 50 to ensure our app was effective and useful for our users.
Further development of the app would include the introduction of visual elements in place of long lists of items, such the “Advanced” status list a user would use to find a specific part’s status. A more in-depth troubleshooting guide could aid the user by outlining exactly which problem area is being affected using a visual guide.