A service to foster conservation values in the novice camper in order to encourage the future protection of natural spaces.
Design an experience that empowers individuals to take action in environmentalism efforts by making the steps personal, actionable, and digestible.
Research: 10 weeks
Design: 8 weeks
Led Visual Design and Interface Design. Print Design, Discovery Workshops, Research Analysis, Service Design
Figma, Airtable, Principle, Illustrator, InDesign, Lightroom, Premiere
A service to foster conservation values in the novice camper in order to encourage the future protection of natural spaces.
Getting individuals to action in conservation efforts starts with individuals having the ability to first connect to nature. This is why Luca starts at the beginning. Luca makes getting our into nature easier, then once in nature assists in fostering an individual’s connection to the outdoors. Lastly, once connected to nature, Luca ties their time in nature to actions they can take to help protect the spaces they visited.
Luca makes spending time in nature easier for the novice camper by taking care of the trip planning logistics for them through partnering with local car rental services, outdoor gear consignment shops, and campgrounds. Along with their gear, they receive printed equipment how-to cards making information accessible even without cell reception or phone battery.
Luca makes the booking process simple. After entering their location, an ecosystem that interests them, their dates, and number of campers, Luca books an all-inclusive camping trip at a beginner-ready campground based on these selections. This booking would leverage the institutional knowledge of regional outdoor experts hired by our service to plan a trip that would ensure the site has potable water, bathrooms and is a safe space.
Individuals are either able to rent as much or as little gear as they need. For someone who has never camped, they can choose a one-click option that will ensure they have everything they need for their trip. On the day of their trip, users are able to pick up their fully-loaded car from a gear consignment shop near their house.
Luca’s printed informational how-to cards ensure that information is accessible while camping even without cell reception or phone battery. These cards include how to set up your tent, campsite guidelines, how to create a fire, and how to pack out your trash in an eco-friendly way. Having printed cards available creates a safety net so even the most beginner camper will feel armed with knowledge.
On the drive to the campsite, the Luca app provides a GPS-triggered audio tour to foster a deeper understanding of the region they are visiting. Once they’re at their campsite, they can reference their printed activity cards to help them better explore and connect with the region they are in. This includes information about the plants and animals that can be spotted on those adventures.
On the drive to the campsite, the Luca app provides a GPS-triggered audio tour to foster a deeper understanding of the region they are visiting. This tour takes them past both developed and wild lands. By showing them not only untouched beauty, Luca shows campers how human development interacts with the natural environment.
Campers can reference their printed activity cards to help them better explore and connect with the region they are in. This includes information about the plants and animals that can be spotted on those adventures in order to foster engagement with the ecology of the region.
Once the trip is over and the campers are on their drive back home, the app guides them through a reflection of their time in nature to cement the experiences and memories they created. In the Luca app, they then receive a digital passport stamp for the region they camped in. This allows campers to look back at their trip and stay up-to-date with current events which may impact the place they called home for a weekend. If one of their stamped locations needs help based on a current event, campers get notified of direct actions to take to protect the region.
Once the trip is over and the campers are on their drive back home, the app guides them through a reflection of their time in nature to cement the experiences and memories they created. This reflection leads into stories of modern conservationists to show them the work others do to protect this natural space. Hearing these stories emphasizes that these beautiful natural spaces should not be taken for granted—individuals must take action to keep these spaces beautiful for future generations to also have meaningful experiences.
In the Luca app, they receive a digital passport stamp for the region they camped in. This allows campers to look back at their trip and stay up-to- date with current events which may impact the place they called home for a weekend. This stamp is meant to promote feelings of ownership and encourage users to collect more stamps by taking more trips to new national parks.
If one of their stamped locations needs help based on current events, campers get notified of direct actions to take to protect the region. They are shown multiple options of actions that require different time, effort and monetary investments so that individuals are able to give what they can, when they can. Inspired by photos compiled of their trip—they are guided step-by-step through these direct actions to close the loop from connection to action.
After conducting an in-depth literature review, we quickly recognized how complex and broad the environmentalism space is. So we sought out to gain knowledge from experts in the conservation landscape by reaching out to various conservation organizations in metropolitan areas. We conducted semi-structured interviews over a video call with representatives from 6 conservation organizations.
After speaking with these organizations, we found that their volunteers tended to be older individuals and families who felt ownership of places that they were restoring. We were fascinated as to why young adults were so absent.
We conducted 12 semi-structured workshops with young adults in metropolitan areas. Our objective through these workshops was to understand young adults’ current understanding, behaviors, and experience around conservation. Each workshop was 60 minutes long and conducted remotely over a video call. The workshop consisted of semi-structured interview questions and activities, including a journey map, action board, and card sorting, using a Miro board.
1. Young adults are willing to integrate eco-friendly habits into their lives if the initial barriers are lowered.
Young adults have many priorities in their lives, with environmentalism being an intangible motivator compared to other daily-life priorities. Without the barrier to entry being reduced in some way, it is unlikely for individuals to put the time, effort, and cost necessary to make a behavioral change. Because of this, we knew we wanted our design response to simplify the many barriers to entry.
2. The impact of climate change is more easily comprehensible when grounded in personal experiences.
This insight comes primarily from a journey map activity where participants were asked to share any impactful experiences which influenced their views, behaviors, or understanding of environmentalism. As part of this activity, many participants shared first-hand experiences that made them better recognize the effects of climate change to our ecosystem. From this insight, we knew our solution would need to incorporate powerful first-hand experiences to make the highest impact possible.
3. Young adults feel they cannot have an immediate impact upon the climate crisis which contributes to inaction.
Individuals see climate change as a looming crisis that is unmanageable. Many of our workshop participants mentioned feeling anxious and paralyzed about the actions they can take and whether or not those actions would even make a difference. Because of this, we knew our solution would need to point users toward action in a direct and unambiguous manner.
4. Conversations are powerful factors that impact behaviors and actions towards climate change.
Conversations are a key catalyst for behavior change. Conversations are a clear path to increasing environmental advocacy, especially when these conversations are with someone close. Through this, we wanted our solution to have a reflective and conversational component to amplify the effect.
After identifying opportunity areas based on our research insights and design principles, we ideated around each of these areas. Through this process, we generated over 90 ideas which we then clustered based on general themes.
After examining our values and principles, we decided we were most passionate about designing around immersive, tangible outdoor experiences that connect people to their natural world. This helped us to narrow to three ideas that excited us: (1) Connecting through food/gardening (2) Connecting through direct action (3) Connecting through a camping trip.
We evaluated these three ideas through rough storyboards.
In conjunction with the storyboards, we evaluated these with a competitive analysis. While there were many outdoor gear rental and trip planning services available, there was not one service that combined these two ideas in order to create a low barrier camping trip for a novice camper. Feeling this idea was the most novel and had the potential to be the most impactful, we moved forward with fleshing out this concept.
We started by outlining the logistical process of planning a camping trip. We spent hours working out our booking flow and researching logistics for the camp planning experience. This included conducting journey mapping activities with an expert planner, an intermediate planner, and a completely beginner planner to figure out pain points in this process.
After getting feedback, we felt we needed to connect the dots to create a holistic experience that led to action. Though getting people out into nature is impactful, we realized that we were missing a more direct conservation piece that connected people to direct action to aid in these efforts. We felt including pieces about encouraging conservation values, reflection and action had important potential as a part of this service.
Upon realizing this, we began ideating ways to tie what the user does on their trip to direct action. We ended up bringing back a rejected storyboard from earlier in the process. We created a call to action generated by the app that would notify users of current actions they could take to help the places they visited.
A central guiding factor through this process was that we wanted to amplify presence in nature rather than detract from it.
We didn’t want to create a response in which campers would be required to have a charged device or cell reception. These thought processes led to concrete decisions.
Printed cards are an intentional decision that would allow users to have information without service or relying on phone battery.
Not wanting to create a technological solution while users are in the natural world, we identified the car ride to and from the campsite as an ideal point for intervention. Users are driving for a few hours, meaning they are a captive audience who is likely already listening to audio like music or a podcast. This is the perfect time to step in and deliver contextual information about the region and create an intervention to promote conservation values.
After completing the reflection, regions are added to users’ Luca passport. In this case, we use the power of data and technology to augment their connection to the region even when they have left.
We delivered the call to action, a much more visually heavy experience, once they are done with the trip. Users are able to fully take in this information-rich step when they are out of the car to minimize distractions. Because this step requires contextual data about what is happening in the region, it seemed like a good place to use the app to connect users to this data.
We designed a simple and straightforward app as to be intentional to create an experience that doesn’t distract users from the experience of connecting to nature. Leaning into the outdoor space, we used colors that reflect colors seen in nature. With our brand relying solely on our colors for the look and feel, these vibrant colors invite playfulness to our brand while retaining simplicity. I developed the brand for Luca, designed the visual components, designed the UI, created the user flow for the mobile app, and designed the print cards.
The home screen is a simple swipe through with limited options. If a trip is booked, the app displays their upcoming trip first. If they click on their trip, they are presented with the GPS triggered audio tour that they can play during the car ride home.
The audio player was designed with simple and large interactions so that when in the car, the only options really available are to play or pause the audio tour. Since the audio tour is based on specific points in their route to the campsite, it is broken up into chapters. Chapters are only revealed once they have passed that GPS point on their trip.
The call to action on the app make the actions that can be taken clear to the user. To make taking action easier, the app shows examples and inspires them to take action.
To measure the success of this service, we can look at it two ways. Of course, there are the business goals of understanding whether individuals rebook through our service and refer our service to their friends and family. This ensures that customers are satisfied with what our service provides.
There are also the goals that relate to actions that individuals take. Do they actually take action rather than shrugging off notifications? Over time, if this service existed at a larger scale, we could see if conservation organizations we partner with feel an uptick of support. The final goal and measure of success would be to see whether our service contributes to political change through letters and petitions.
Usability Tests. We want to conduct usability testing of touchpoints in our service including the booking, informational cards and audio components. Ideally, this usability testing would be done contextually on a camping trip to add validity to the test.
Build out expereinces for different levels of campers. Perhaps an expert camper would still benefit from Luca by adding conservation and direct action to their camping experience. There are also people who might need to be eased in to sleeping in a tent or sleeping bag but would enjoy a stay in a cabin in their journey to connect to the outdoors.
Integrate broad generative research with design. There are times when you have to narrow in on your problem space and make design decisions. However, looking back at our design process, we were very broad with our generative research phase and this allowed us to see a large, clear picture that we found a golden thread within. This took a lot of sifting, but it meant that we could base every feature of our design in conversations we had with both individuals and experts. This led to design decisions that felt grounded in facts rather than assumptions.
Be intentional about where technology gets used.It is difficult not to start your process with technology first. In our case, we tried to be intentional about where technology came in, especially in a context where we wanted people to interact with their external world.