Secondary Research | UX Exploration | Usability Test | UX proposal | Implementation
Ian Thomas | Yiying Ding | Jialu Li | Ketaki Rao
Figma | Principle
Uncovered insights to inform design decisions.
Led ideation sessions and defined the concept.
Executed design from scratch to high-fi.
Implemented key interactions with tech lead.
Visualized research insights and presented to client.
Construction Junction Material Reuse
A platform to connect large construction firms with material reuse companies.
The responsive website we built for Construction Junction helps to build a strong connection between our 3 stakeholders: Large construction site, Construction Junction and small construction site/household. With this website, the reusable materials can go directly into the flow without being processed by any third party companies.
Mobile website for sellers to request pick up.
Input Pickup Location
Select brief material info
Select scheduled pick-up time
Confirm scheduled pick-up
Wait for staff to arrive and collect the qualified materials
Laptop website for sellers to request pick up.
Mobile website for buyers to buy or reserve reusable materials.
Search by categories
Search for material's availability
Reserve or purchase material
Confirm reservation or order
Drive to CJ to pick-up
We all know that current waste management practices are dangerous and unsustainable. This isn’t a new problem! Tons of waste is being dumped into the earth every year... Particularly in the last few decades, as awareness has grown around these issues, there’s been a call for sustainable, environmentally solutions.
Certain waste materials like plasterboard, lead, asbestos, and others are incredibly toxic to the environment
In the next 5 years, global annual construction waste generation is expected to reach 2.2 billion tons
In the EU, construction waste is the largest waste contributor, by volume
The team was assigned to create a responsive website for the domain of waste management. Before exploring our assigned domain, our team determined that an understanding of the subtleties of the intended medium would help guide us towards an effective final product.
Together we soon recognized how a website can be used as a tool to connect parties that each might benefit from the exclusive resources, skills, and knowledge of the others. Given this ecosystemic capacity of websites, our first obstacle became to find multiple parties with complementary needs. Ideally, the union of these parties might result in a profitable exchange. With all of this in mind, our team launched into the research of our domain as a whole.
We hoped that through our initial exploration of waste management we could discover parties with the potential for mutual benefit through a digital product of our creation.
How might we create a service website that helps construction junctions increase exposure and sales, construction sites donate their excess materials under tight budget for labor, and small construction firms purchase a small number of cheap materials with a limited budget?
The team had brainstormed and agreed to focus on construction sites instead. We recognized that we had access to certain key stakeholders, which would be useful to further understand their current behavior.
Following our pivot from campus waste management practices to those on construction sites, team members Ian Thomas and Jialu Li visited a local construction site to conduct guerilla research. After asking a number of site employees for help, they were able to interview the site’s manager to ask him a few prepared questions.
We attended a meeting with the current principal project manager of Carnegie Mellon University’s construction project and his entire team. They had provided us with more valuable information:
The manager tried his best to avoid waste when making orders. But there will still be leftovers on the site.
LEED is extremely important to the construction site. Every site needs to recycle at least 75% of its waste. (LEED is a green building certification, stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)
BOYD is doing the recycling job. There will be a recycling report for every dumpster.
None of the materials are being reused. Even the perfectly good raw excess materials are being treated as wastes.
More Guerrilla research was done by us to get more practical information. Maxon Towers is an apartment that is currently going under renovation. We visited this site and hope to hear from the perspective of a small construction site.
Here’s what we learned:
The worker usually calls their supplier and made the order. The supplier will deliver their requested item to their site in a few days.
However, there will always be missing items or wrong items in the order. Workers need to make another call to address this issue. This usually takes another 2 or 3 business days.
They will often need materials in a small quantity..
One of our group members also texted a small construction firm owner to affirm our earlier findings and further understand firm owner behavior.
User Journey Map
Our initial research eventually revealed much to us about our stakeholders’ behaviors. The customer journey maps illuminated pain points that we weren’t initially aware of.
Most significantly, we determined that there are excess construction materials on-site that can be redirected to small firms instead of being thrown away. Our research reveals that a lot of perfectly new raw materials are being treated as wastes. Though the materials will eventually be recycled. It will be more environmentally friendly if we can directly reuse the materials. The most efficient solution is to find a way to bypass the recycling company and reuse the materials by other construction sites.
“ I don’t have the time...to take care of the excess material. It’s just easier for me to throw it away. ”
“ These materials can be used for another project. I hope there is a better way to deal with this problem ”
The biggest problem the Construction Junction is facing right now is that the donation quantity is not big enough for the firm to expand and grow.
“ I hope there can be more donation so that people have more to choose from...”
Collaborating with large construction firms can help Construction Junction to get a gigantic amount of basic materials, which are also essential for any construction sites.
Since there is no way customers will be able to browse Construction Junction’s inventory before they visit the site, customers usually call the firm to find out if CJ has the products they like.
“ It is hard to understand their needs from calls.”
Providing a website with detailed information and pictures can give customers a better overview of what’s in the inventory.
Based on our findings from secondary research and guerrilla research, we developed 3 personas to facilitate our design process.
The team brainstormed a variety of possible situations and how we can reframe the problem space. We then created storyboards for the solutions and brought them to our stakeholders for feedback.
“Love the idea of connecting two sites.”
“I will be excited about a solution like this. It is really nice to have a website, and do not mind driving since the website already did me a favor.”
“Taking out the middleman (the waste disposal company) makes things less costly which is great!.”
“Shared economy ideas are always good.”
“Emm… If it is 10 wires, I will probably choose a home depot. Though I have to drive, it seems more reliable.”
“Cool and I like the idea. Again if it is a household owner it will be more compiling. And I can also imagine the difficulty for Construction Junction to build the connection between the two sites.”
“Also, leftover materials are so difficult to handle/store, it would be great to be able to buy custom quantity from a store.”
“The next day delivery is awesome. I will probably do the same thing.”
“I didn’t expect a problem like this: never thought that old material can be a problem. But it makes sense with the explanation under the pictures, especially since Pittsburgh has a lot of old buildings.”
“It will be more related to me if the user is not a site manager but a household developer that want to renovate his/her own house.”
Post our speed dating sessions, we realized that there are 3 main features that our application should have. They were:
Construction Junction should be an intermediary between large construction sites and small construction projects.
CJ should be able to pick up excess raw materials from large construction sites on demand (since construction sites cannot store such material for long). Construction Junction already has pick-up trucks and therefore this is just integration with their existing system.
We initially thought for CJ to deliver materials to smaller projects but realized this puts a lot of work on them and isn’t something they currently do. Therefore we decided that CJ receives orders and then keeps these materials ready to be picked up by the customer.
The responsive website is designed to allow construction site managers set up request for construction junction pickup with minimum friction. At the presence of picking up, the quality of the materials is controlled by the construction junction employee.
Then as the product info is logged into the inventory, they will be posted as available items on the website. From here, small construction contractors and individual project owners can view the inventory, reserve, and make purchase of the materials.
Construction Site Manager:
Hassle-free & low-cost disposal of reusable construction material.
Conformation to the LEED(Leadership in Energy & Envt Design) standards of building. Which states that 75% of the construction waste should be recycled.
Small construction firm/household project:
Good quality construction material at a lower than market price.
Custom quantity of material available, bulk orders are not necessary.
Preview the materials beforehand.
Creates an additional supply of saleable material.
Increased sales and profit.
But most importantly, by doing this, we are promoting sustainable reuse of material that aligns with the core values of CJ.
On the homepage there the two options for the two stakeholders are saliently listed. Upon entering the website, to reduce the cognitive load for the construction sites’ users, the team designed the material list as a drop-down list of material types and a visualized calendar for scheduling time.