PHASE 2: Prototype testings and results

We tested our 3 different prototypes among 6 different people, each person tested out at least 2 of the prototypes. We allowed each person to decide for themselves which prototypes to test out – this was to determine each prototype’s appeal/popularity.

All prototypes are aimed to promote recycling, based on our previous research done through surveys, role-playing, and observations. It is important the testers felt it was convenient, simple and straightforward, and conscious of how they dispose their waste.

Online code finder (web interface):

Tester comments:

This tester skipped reading the instructions page, he didn’t need to read them to use the interface. However, he found it confusing to use Prototype 3, as the non-recyclable items without indicators were confusing. The tester remarked that even though the online interface is simple enough, it is inconvenient.

Our analysis:
• Least popular due to the inconvenience of having to check online first before disposing unwanted items
• Prototype is straightforward and easy to use
• Easily accessible as it’s on the Internet

Barcode scanner (smartphone camera app):

Tester comments:

This tester liked the idea and the convenience, however, the instructions has to be more clear.

This tester also thought the instructions had to be better to understand how to scan barcode with the camera.

Our analysis:
• Most popular idea – the novelty of using your phone to scan the barcode is appeals to people
• Convenient as many people own a smartphone, it’s instant information at your fingertips
• Might be difficult developing one app for different types of smartphones (iPhone, Blackberry, Samsung, etc)
• Further development for clearer instructions is needed
• People without a smartphone won’t have access to it

Recycling indicator (green labels stuck on recyclable items):

Tester comments:

It was difficult for this tester to focus on the barcode via the smartphone camera (Prototype 2). For this idea, she knew what to do when she saw the recycling indicator, but when the other items without the sticker (which are meant to represent non-recyclable items), she was confused.

This tester was unsure about how to use his smartphone camera to scan the barcode (Prototype 2) and found this method easier. However the tester also suggested indicators for non-recyclable items as well.

Our analysis:
• Producing the indicators means producing more waste material
• Straightforward as long as both bins and disposable items are both labelled with the respective indicators
• The most convenient – as anyone can use it

• Prototype 1 (web interface) Simple to use, but not convenient or interesting/appealing to people
• Prototype 2 (smartphone app) is the most popular, most of the testers agreed it’s interesting/creative
• Prototype 3 (indicators) is the easiest and most accessible to use – a “no brainer”

Kylie (Siu Ning) Tsui
Karter Kantaphon Y.
Vicky K.
Bui Thao
Natalie Ho

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The System Map

Click to view high resolution image of our system map to encourage proper waste disposal and recycling.

Our mind map of the first few ideas that came to mind:
Continue reading

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Storytelling – It’s the little things that count

Mai is an international student from Vietnam, she came to Melbourne to study in RMIT few months ago. She loves this city for its diversity and the great encouragement to be environmentally friendly. She found out that there are recycling systems in Melbourne which helps to reduce the waste that are thrown in landfills.

Therefore, Mai started to separate her waste for recycling bins and for general waste disposals. Whenever she has unwanted items, she will try to find out whether it can be recycled or re-used.

One day, Mai’s pen ran out of ink and she decide to dispose it. However, when she came to the recycling bin, there was no sign to indicate if a pen can be recycled. Pens are made of plastic, but is it the suitable plastic for recycling? Mai tried to find out on the Internet, but there are only very general descriptions on recyclable items. Mai still doesn’t know if her pen can be recycled or not.

After all the trouble and contemplation, Mai decided to put her pen in the general waste bin with some guilt, as she had a feeling pens can be recycled, she was only contributing to the landfill waste.

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From the survey we conducted, we also recorded the reasons to why people do or do not recycle, and what they would do if they were unsure if their garbage was recyclable or not.

Main Reasons Why People Recycle:

  • The building they live in enforces recycling and separating waste items
  • It’s convenient to find recycling bins/areas
  • A social conscience towards the environment

Main Reasons Why People Do NOT Recycle:

  • People are lazy/cannot be bothered
  • Recycling bins are unavailable or inconvenient to use

Reactions to items that people aren’t sure of recycling:

  • Throw it into the general waste bins where it’ll be disposed of properly anyway
  • Put it aside for later, to consult someone else or the Internet
  • Re-use the item if possible, if not, place it in general waste
  • Leave it somewhere for someone else to dispose

Majority of people recycle because they are “forced” to by where they reside (bins/collection areas are available), and they rest of them are aware of the environmental issues. However, majority of people who do not recycle are simply not bothered to as they find it inconvenient or a waste of effort.

In general, people do know how to recycle, it’s not because of a lack of education that leads people to dispose their waste irresponsibly. It is ignorance that invites them to switch off their social conscience, and dispose their waste in whatever way and method they want. It is usually because of regulations and guilt that people are driven to play their part.

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After I sat next to the bins (in RMIT) for an hour, I found out that most of the people just put their garbage in the general waste bin, and about 1 out of 7 people use the recycling bin.

It’s concluded that the designer of the recycling bin created the purpose for people to think before they dispose items into it. The opening of the recycle bin is smaller and round in shape, and has icons of things such as bottles printed on the bin. Therefore, when people dispose their waste, it is easier to throw things in the general waste bin instead of wondering if their rubbish is acceptable for recycling purposes.

I was sitting around lunch time, so the garbage thrown are mostly food scraps, food wrappers/containers, and drink bottles/cans, etc. Most people throw their food scraps and wrappers, in the general waste bin, whereas it’s only bottles that are placed in the recycling bin. The plastic containers and cans that can be recycled as well, are simply tossed into the general waste bin as well.

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Which of the following can be recycled?
-Plastic Files
-Plastic Lunch Box

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This is the questionnaire of our survey.
Please download the link above and print it out.

We can do it in our own time.
Please do as much as you can, minimum 4 per person.

And we will discuses it Friday afternoon.

Thanks Guys!

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