As part of a job application, I was asked to come up with an environmentally-focused app and design the interface.
I’d like to introduce you to HomeGrown.
HomeGrown would be a smartphone app centered around the concept of eating locally-grown and locally-produced goods. Eating local has a positive impact on the environment and supports small and growing businesses. HomeGrown would focus on educating users on the benefits of consuming local goods while also making it simple to find local products.
Firstly, users would create a profile through the app using their email or with various social media accounts. Connecting their profile to social media would allow users to share their progress and findings with friends and family. The option to compare to others is always a great motivator, and a bit of competition that leads to a healthier life is always a plus. Take Fitbit for instance; the app provides users with challenges and the option to share their fitness success with others, thus leading to long-term users.
Users would be able to see the environmental impact of foods they are buying or products they already have in their home by searching for products or scanning the barcode of the item. The environmental impact of items would be measured by a number of factors, such as how far it travelled to the users’ location or how much water and energy it took to produce. For example, Burnbrae Farms’ eggs come from Lyn, Ontario, which is about 120 kilometers away from Ottawa. Though not exactly local, this product would leave a much lower ecological footprint than a product such as Tropicana orange juice, which comes from over 2,000 kilometers away. All this information would be provided for the user after searching or scanning a product, thus educating them on where their foods are coming from.
Users’ location services from their smartphone would not only be used to calculate estimates about a product’s environmental impact, but also to help them discover stores that sell local goods. Grocery stores and restaurants would appear on a simple map interface, as shown in the visuals provided. This simple function would make shopping locally easy and accessible, thus further encouraging individuals to work towards achieving a healthier and more environmentally-friendly lifestyle.
Additionally, users would be able to use HomeGrown to make grocery lists. Using the scan or search function previously mentioned, users would be able to efficiently add items to their grocery list. As they check off items they purchase, HomeGrown would add this to the estimate of their personal environmental impact. The grocery list function of the app draws people in, as grocery list apps are already quite popular and in high demand. However, it would be watching their improvements through an innovative program that would make them stay motivated to track their food choices.
Finally, users would be able to view their environmental impact patterns and weekly or monthly averages through the app, which would appear in a series of graphs and charts (not included in the visuals provided). Through HomeGrown, users would be able to share their improvements on social media or even compare their statistics to other users in their area.
Shopping locally can be daunting. Often people find themselves ignoring where their foods are coming from and what goes into them. With HomeGrown, users would be able to work towards making better choices for themselves and for the environment.