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Climate change is a serious issue and UK houses contribute heavily to the climate change. Our project was to work in a group of 4 to ideate and come up with a solution to help the households save more energy, with the help of smart meter data.


We were given a brief by Loughborough University set in partnership with GenGame Ltd. Our challenge was to designing the right thing for a set of user group that were given to us. 

As most people remain confused by their smart meter data and have little idea about how they can make meaningful changes to their domestic use, it was our job to make this easier and desirable for the households.

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27% of UK carbon emissions come from households

The Project

Client : Loughborough University

Duration: 6 weeks

Tools : Figma, Miro, MS Teams

My Role

Leading the team

Research and Insight Generation




Design Process - Designing the ' right thing'

We practiced a lean approach throughout the process. We started with some assumptions based on the available research and iterated our process multiple times

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The Young Good Life Family

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We might have money to make changes, but just don't have the time

They are cash rich but time poor


Mark - a full time engineer - and Ellie - a part time manager - are married and in their mid thirties, with two young children, Ben and Ellie. The family would describe themselves as fun, stylish, and chaotic, but financially stable enough to buy themselves out of most short term problems and inconveniences as and when they arise. Mark and Ellie are friends with most of the parents of their kids friends, and regularly have lunch with them after the kids weekend activities. For this family, energy is not something they think about, but they are deeply aware of climate change.

Experience Goal

The family are proud and stylish, and enjoy competitively benchmarking themselves against friends and others.

End Goals

  • Spend more time having fun with the family

  • To get information through valid sources

  • To get tangible rewards for their energy saving efforts

Pain Points

  • Less time

  • Have to depend on friends’ recommendations

  • Lack of rewards for their efforts

Use of Home Insight Cards

Home Life Insight Cards is based on insights from the LEEDR (Low Effort Energy Demand Reduction) project and has been further developed within the Hothouse project.


These were used as we wanted to understand how people behave with different products, what holds them back from saving energy and how is their attittude towards energy consumption.

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COM-B Model

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We used the COM-B Model to understand what the family lacked in terms of capabilities, opportunities, motivations.

Insight Generation

Based on all the available research we generated insights which later decided our design principles

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Insight Generation

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User Need Statement

Before finalizing our UX vision statement we first came up with our user need statement which guided us further

For young families who want to spend quality time together need a way to help make conscious effort to reduce domestic energy consumption so that they can feel rewarded and look good in their social circle for saving energy at home


To map out the opportunity and work towards our solution we created a UX vision statement by keeping in mind the users pain points and end goals. For doing this we mapped the current state user experience to understand the journey and it's gaps better.

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Design Principles

Design principles helps designers keep in mind the OUTCOME of the solution. Following were the design principles for our app Popow. The users should feel the following this by using our app.






App Concept

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We named our app POPOW as -polar power. The characters in the virtual world will all be from polar areas and the world will be based on ice cubes.

A game that simulates an online virtual world and helps families to spend time together yet save energy at homes in an interactive way by motivate them to take action to reduce their energy consumption.

The game will have animal based characters representing real world individuals.

Overview of the App

  • The game will progress based on the smart meter data and through the energy saving challenges that the family will complete together.

  • The experience of doing something fun together will be achieved by saving energy at the same time.

  • The users will get informed about climate change through the tasks and trivia (part of challenges)

Role of Smart Meter in the app

1. Track Usage

4. Progress

2. Disaggregation

3. Adding appliances to Favourites for fast tracking

It will display the data of the energy comsumption usage

Distribution of the energy consumption of a specific appliance

To keep an eye on a specific appliance they can add it in their favourites to keep a track of it’s consumption

Less use = points, more use = no points
very less use = more points, completion of challenges = points

Role of AI and ML

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning work hand in hand

Artificial Intelligence

Will decide on the budget based on patterns and information provided by the users during onboarding

Machine Learning

Will set the budget decided by ML

Provide suggestions to reduce energy consumption and decide challenges based on user behaviour.

Why Gamification?

It was important to justify why gamifying the whole process was the best idea for our user group

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Source : Adobe Stock

  • With gamification, the app acts as a medium for the whole family to bond together including the children.

  • We wanted to create an app that was informative, engaging and interactive at the same time.

  • Gamification can make boring tasks enjoyable. We wanted to eradicate the family’s pain points and try to fulfill their experience goals.

Secondary Research

We wanted to know about certain things about gamification and hence we decided to do some secondary research.

  • We wanted to understand more about the game mechanics and hence we looked into and analyzed similar game concepts like Farmville and Animal Crossing. We got a few ideas to improve our concept and how to think about making the app more engaging.

  • Getting tangible rewards were our user's end goal but being cash rich, rewarding them with coupons or money would not have been motivating for them. Hence, we researched about how can be create generate the feeling of them getting rewarded.

  • Unpredictability plays a major role in keeping the users interested in games. We researched about how we could maintain the unpredictability in the game.

What makes Popow special?

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Addressing the pain points & end goals

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Site Map

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Task Flow

We designed a task flow by considering our user 'Mark'. We used this task flow further for testing our idea through storyboarding and bodystorming

Mark just came back from the work, he is tired from all the tasks he has accomplished during his work day. Every member of the family is now at home. Ellie has finished the household chores since she was working part time and came home early and the kids are now done with their homework.

Just when the family has free time, Mark receives a notification from “POPOW!”. The family is now getting together in the living room to start some quality time together.

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To analyze the gaps in the user scenario and the outcomes we made a storyboard for the above task flow

By storyboarding we realised that the users might not engage with the app reguarly ONLY for the points that they get. We will need to sell the idea of the app in such a way that it focuses more on spending quality time together and how that helps achieve the user outcome. Getting rewarded through points and the energy being saved are just the bonus

Due to time constraint we couldn't make major changes in the challenge section. But we concluded that the focus of the app could be more on how to make the family have more fun TOGETHER as that will retain the users for longer.

Body Storming


We did bodystorming to test our assumptions about the user’s experience.

  • We realised that there was no record to guarantee the completion of the challenge

  • We had to go back and think about a solution for the app to detect if the challenge was completed.

 'Designing the thing right'

I designed the user journey of using the points (popos) that they have earned to buy new items in their virtual world. A design system was created along with a mid-fidelity prototype.

Design System

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Even though we tried solving all the possible gaps there are some assumptions that can be confirmed only by more further testing. The main assumptions and the risks associated with them are listed in the table below

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Further Testing

The app could be further tested using the following methods to help validating the assumptions or pivoting if needed.


Dairy Studies

Being an app that needs to be used everyday we can note the user behaviour through diary studies.


Qualitative User Testing

To test if the outcome is as we assumed qualitative user testing can be done where the users could be asked about their thoughts and feelings.

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