12. march 2021
By Kasper Mathias Svendsen, Head of Design
It's a simple and community-driven offering for everybody who voluntarily wants to join our cause and make a tangible impact on our environment. We call it Project Blue.
As a user experience designer, I'd love to tell you the story of a wild and thrilling journey from initial idea to user validated product in a startup. I've broken it down in small chapters, if you'd like to come along for the ride.
tl;dr: We launched a new green initiative named Project Blue linking user spending to ocean cleanup with an awesome partner. It has been a really cool process, and I've never been prouder of a piece of work, or my workplace.
In the first 50 hours more than 1,500 users signed up to join Project Blue and cleaned the oceans from 60 kg of plastic, micro plast and waste.
Let's start with why we're doing this, and get back to what Project Blue is and how it works.
Why are we focusing on plastic in our oceans?
Because it is a huge problem (among many) that impacts our everyday life and the planet in significant ways. Here are some chilling facts:
What is Project Blue exactly?
Seabins (picture them as smart ocean garbage cans) are at the heart of Project Blue. They filter water and remove plastic and waste from our oceans. The Seabin Project is an Australian NGO providing practical and tangible solutions to reduce the plastics in our oceans. Seabins pull water in from the surface with a submersible water pump capable of displacing 25.000 LPH (litres per hour), and passes through a catch bag inside the Seabin removing waste, microplastic and cleaning up chemicals. They are then placed where most garbage and plastic ends up.
So how does it work?
Project Blue is for everyone - and it’s completely voluntary. Everyone can sign up directly in the app by contributing as little as 0.001 - 0.005 % percent of their card spending to the cause. Lunar commits with 2% on top of all contributions. Everything goes towards Project Blue in new Seabins, maintaining the existing fleet and other plastic removal initiatives and education on the subject.
Users can see their personal impact directly in the app as they spend, and follow our joint venture in achieving our community goals.
This is the story of how the product came about.
One of my first tasks at Lunar was facilitating a design sprint on an important product which included new card designs. Design sprints, and discovery phases in general, are wonderful in many ways. What I love most about them is the possibility of testing wacky and possibly non-feasible ideas at zero cost. You never know what you come up with as a diverse group.
Amongst other ideas for the sprint prototype, we decided to add the option to pick a green card. It had a simple and vague message about doing something for the environment. That's it, and lo and behold, all our test participants picked this green card, even-though it was definitely not the prettiest of the bunch. We knew, we were on to something!
Lunar Design Sprint testing new ideas and developing products with the users.
We had several environmental causes we could pursue. Everybody had an opinion on what the right one should be. Top candidates were planting trees, ocean cleanup or carbon footprint calculation. We also made some cool new card designs to match an environmental initiative. But we needed to identify the right cause, that not only matched our brand, but also resonated well with our users' sense of urgency and willingness to get involved.
When in doubt, we ask our users! We strive to get that crucial outside-in feedback to guide us. So we went to our UX guerilla tactics. Equipped with nothing more than a poster with the three causes, and variants of the new card design, I went to town (pre-covid times, remember those?).
I asked everyone who fitted our user segment: (1) which cause they believed to be most valuable and relatable, and (2) which card design they liked the best. I was lucky enough to get both one-on-ones as well as group discussions going.
From about sixty short interviews completed within two hours, we had a clear winner.
Field work! Equipped with nothing more than a poster with the three causes, and variants of the new card design, I went to town.
So, it had to be ocean cleanup, upwards and onwards! We wanted to address tangibility, education, local impact and feel of progression we identified as important. We knew it was paramount to ensure good adoption and relatability, and that a few game design elements here and there wouldn't hurt the mission.
We went looking for the right partner to team up with. We had many candidates, but in the end the Aussie startup and successful Indiegogo campaign Project Seabin won our hearts and minds. Besides being a really cool bunch of people, they have the required knowledge to address the root of the problem, the drive to embark on the journey with Lunar and the tech to make immediate and measurable impact - both globally and locally.
At Lunar we are always looking for the sweet-spot. That's what we call the moment in which we've gone through several prototypes and gathered enough input from stakeholders and developers. We've asked all questions possible, as well as getting sufficient user feedback. At this point we feel very assured that what we are designing is almost spot on, feasible and estimated properly. Besides a good product description, this entails a holistic introduction to the product on all platforms, good copywriting, information architecture, guides, illustrations, affordance, unique selling points, and everything else related to UX and interface design.
Doing this, not only makes us feel comfortable and is done quite efficiently, it dramatically mitigates unpleasant surprises or major changes, once development is in full motion or after product launch. Of course questions will arise continuously, technical considerations will emerge, and some of the user journey will still need some clarification. But we are on a much sweeter ride in a very packed roadmap.
Project Blue was no different, and we gained invaluable feedback from both non-users and existing users through each step. Here are some of them:
The first local Lunar X Seabin in Vedbæk harbour cleaning 500,000 liters of water a day
Yay, we're live! Our first branded Seabin has been put into water, and we can already see users signing up. We absolutely love feedback, and we can't wait to get more qualitative and quantitative data in the coming days.
Project Blue is just the first step in our efforts to do more environmental good:
You can join Project Blue in your Lunar app and join us in cleaning the oceans. You can donate between DKK 1-5 for every DKK 1000 spent. Lunar will top up all donations with 2%.
With Lunar you get a black Visa card, an account and a banking app far from the ordinary. It's all for free and you don't even need to switch banks.
Type in your phone number and we'll send you a sms with download link to the app.