With California facing a severe drought, the way we consume and waste our water is becoming an increasingly important issue that must be addressed both individually and collectively. Yet, information regarding such environmental concerns tends to be presented in forms that are abstract, overwhelming, and easily dismissed as ‘someone else’s problem.’
This project consists of activities and objects presented in the form of a campaign and challenge that highlight our consumption of water while providing actionable steps for creating change.
While researching design for social impact and community engagement, I came across Frog Design's Collective Action Toolkit. It is an open-source set of activities and methods to enable groups of people anywhere to organize, collaborate, and create solutions for problems affecting their community.
I took this idea and implemented my own set of activities as a method for conducting user research.
For recruiting participants, I chose groups of people with different relationships to understand how the interactions within these groups influence how they approach and respond to the activities.
The activities were handed to participants over the course of a 10 - day challenge. The initial days started off with simple water saving techniques and built up to more difficult challenges that involved community engagement.
There are a lot of different aspects of water consumption that need to be taken into consideration when trying to live a more conscious lifestyle.
It’s hard to know where to begin and whether or not small actions matter given the scale of the problem
While the idea of competition is an effective way to gain participation, people were more motiviated by the opportunity to work together
Telling people what to do isn’t as effective as letting them come to their own conclusions about what is important and feasible.
Different participant groups have different dynamics, which can shape the way the challenge is framed and the language that is used.
Create a platform that fosters discussion of water related issues.
Provide a single source of news that portrays a holistic picture of our water situation.
Contextualize information in ways that can be related back to our every day lives.
The website serves as a hub for the community of participants. It is an entry point for the water conservation challenge and provides a holistic view of the drought with relevant news, explanations of complex topics and suggestions for how to make changes within the San Francisco community.
These objects are given to the participants as prizes when the challenge progresses. They are meant to create an ecosystem of products around the household.