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Wastyd was an mobile app project in the green tech space that aimed to help Arlington residents know what and how to recycle. 

I designed a mo​bile app used a chat function and a camera scanner to help users understand what they can recycle, how they can recycle it, no matter where they are. 


Class Project 


UX Researcher

UX / UI Designer


5 weeks


Discovery Research​
Low-Fid Paper Prototypes

Usability Test

User Personas


Adobe Illustrator



Try the Prototype


The rise of Single Stream recycling programs have led to confusion or ambivalence in recycling and increased recycling contamination

Prior to the 2000s, recycling in the United States was largely pre-sorted and highly constrained. The average contamination rate of recycling, or the rate of non recyclables in recycling bins was extremely low, but as single stream programs increased in the US, so did contamination. This contamination forces otherwise "clean recyclables" into landfills, creating economic and environmental waste. 

Garbage Truck

Before viewing this video from Vox, I thought I was the only one confused about what I could and could not recycle. I often threw items into the recycling bin with the hope that they could be recycled. It turns out that action, known as "wishcycling" has huge economic and environmental effects. 

People want to recycle but confusion leads to wish-cycling and subsequent environmental and economic effects


I planned, recruited for, and conducted user research to discover users' challenges and mental models around recycling 

I conducted 12 one-on-one interviews, conducted surveys, and ran polls. By reaching out to my local county's Facebook group and the Facebook group of an influential blogger for 20-30 somethings, I met a diverse group of potential users.


My objective was to test my assumptions about why people wish-cycled, if they would likely adopt an app to help them overcome their issues, and learn how they were currently hacking their solutions in case that solution or a mix could be scaled and simplified. 

I started to see clusters of behaviors and thought processes that led to two user personas - Maria and Pamela.  

These behavior, goal, and challenge clusters led to two personas I used in designing the product - Maria and Pamela. 

Image by Allison Crabb

Meet Maria Mendoza


I'm Maria, 28. I'm renting an apartment in Washington, DC with a roommate. 

  • I try to recycle based on packaging, but it's confusing. I'm not sure what number bottles I can recycle. 

  • My roommate and I disagree on what can and should be recycled. Can unused paper towels be recycled?


  • I want to get recycling information from a verified, central source

  • I want to determine how to recycle in a more efficient and accurate way

  • I want recycling information that's clear, simple, and location-specific. 

Can unused paper towels be recycled? 

Mother and Son

Meet Pamela Perkins


I'm Pam, 38. I own a home with my husband. We have 2 kids and live in a single-family home in Arlington, VA. 

  • Every few years, recycling rules change, so we have to keep up. 

  • I mostly hear about rule updates through my neighbors. 

  • I lived in Germany and recycling was so much easier, more clear than here. 

  • My recycling gets thrown into a truck with everyone else's. I think the contaminated recycling in others bins affects mine. 


  • I want to get recycling information from a central, verified source.

  • I want to determine how to recycle in a more efficient and accurate way. 

  • I want recycling information that's clear, simple, and location-specific. 


I think the contaminated recycling in others bins affects mine. 

This discovery process led to the Problem Statement I set out to address. 

How might we... design a solution that allows people to understand the rules of recycling in their current location so that we reduce the average contamination rate in recycling? 
Female Doctor

Meet Dr. Jacqui Revill

This is a snippet of a more in-depth user persona.


I'm an Oncologist based in the DC area.

  • I am incredibly busy.

  • I learn that trials I had in mind for a patient don't work well for their transportation, logistics needs. 



  • I want to keep my patients safe.

  • I want to refer my patient to a Researcher and research sites that I trust. 

  • I try to refer patients that are not improving on the standard of care to a relevant clinical trial. 


I identified usability issues that prevented users, like Dr. Revill, from converting and submitting a contact form

Dr. Revill wanted to refer patients to clinical trial sites she trusted, but in the former interface, she had no way to choose a specific site to send her referral. Her contact form would be sent to the closest clinical trial site, not necessarily her preferred option. 

The former interface didn't show Dr. Revill the primary researchers at each clinical trial site, which was at odds with her decision-making behavior.  Since Dr. Revill wants to keep her patients safe and considers her trust in a Researcher before referring, it was important to display Researcher names in the new designs. 

These issues led to the Problem Statement I set out to address. 

How might a doctor more quickly decide to contact a research site, so they can refer their patients to the best treatment option? 

I explored several solutions with low-fidelity sketches 

Stakeholder Review process
I met with the technical and business stakeholders to get feedback, learn about their concerns, and assumptions early in the process. 

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Ideas that I prioritized after Stakeholder Review

List of Sites on the Study Landing page

Moving the user to a separate page where they could see the details of and directly contact a specific study location was not ideal - to compare sites users would need to open multiple tabs to get information on multiple sites. Instead, I opted to keep the user on the same page so they could compare study locations and locations' researchers before submitting their contact form all in the same page. 

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Ideas that I deprioritized after Stakeholder Review


Submitting interest via an email client

If a user clicked a link to send an email to ask questions or indicate their interest in referring a patient, our organization could not know if a user abandoned or completed that action. We could not provide support or metrics to our customers or their research sites, because we would not be able to confirm if the doctor submitted a contact form. 

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To build the right product faster, I built a prototype that tested my assumptions, not just the idea itself

First I outlined a story map indicating the persona's ideal experience with the solution I prototyped. I used the map to uncover my assumptions about the viability, feasibility, desirability, and usability of the product. I later tested my assumptions as suggested by Agile Coach Teresa Torres (author of Continuous Discovery Habits).

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My first prototype let users select a study location to contact from a list. Selecting the Contact button updated the Contact Submission form panel to the right and set off a focus state. Submitting the form sent the message to the specific study location.


I scaled the testing phase to fit a tight timeline and other constraints

User Testers
ClinOne’s team was growing quickly, so I reached out to four onboarding employees who could test usability of the initial prototype. These staff were the imperfect proxies for Healthcare Providers who were just starting to use our product. 

My assumptions were wrong, and luckily I learned it well before any development work was underway

Would users find the correct next step after clicking on the contact button next to a Study Location?

No. The change happened too far from where testers anticipated a change. So, I removed the side panel web form. 

Would users  understand why the “Call a Study Team member” and “Contact a Study Team member” boxes changed to a focus state?

No. The focus state was not as obvious as I thought. Testers didn’t notice any changes on the screen when they clicked the Contact button. I changed the design so the contact form was nested inside the respective study location. Clicking “Contact” expanded the form and allowed the user to submit their form directly underneath the details of their preferred study location for their question/referral. 

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This is an excerpt from my usability testing report

It's not letting me click on anything. [When I clicked contact, I expected] another browser to open... or at least some confirmation that [a location has] been selected.

Usability Tester


After updating the prototype I handed-off the designs to Engineering

I used Zeplin to transfer Figma design files to a developer-friendly format and presented the work to engineers to clarify any interactions and use cases. 

Since the launch of Trial Awareness, conversions increased 33% over all time and 200% 2 months after the launch of the new interface. Contact submission forms increase the likelihood of customers, doctors, and patients all meeting their goals, respectively: patient recruitment, best care for the patient, potential new course of treatment. This change in interface provided more value to our customers and our users. 

New conversions after launch increased - so did the likelihood of our customers *and* users reaching their goals


Looking back, there were areas I could have improved my process and overall design to create a stronger product increment


Learning from Engineers and Client Success earlier in the process

Since this project I've updated my process. In this scenario, Client Services would have provided me with metrics of interest for customers while Engineering would have provided insight on design decisions and engineers' capacity to complete them in a given number of sprints. These insights earlier on would likely have made the process from hand-off to operationalization more efficient.

UI Elements

Visibility of System Status

The confirmation toast in my final designs didn't specify a turnaround time, nor did I corroborate whether our email confirmation provided that either. It's since been updated accordingly.  


The interface lacks significant contrast across elements like typography, buttons, and other graphical elements. Items don't stand out from each other in a way that clearly communicates the hierarchy of information or CTAs more effectively. For instance, there isn't significant distinction between a Submit button and a contact button, though I want to make it easier for a user to know the next step in submitting a contact form. 

Enough about me - tell me about how I can help you!

For project inquiries, you can email me at or find me on LinkedIn. ✌️

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