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Neighborhood Free-cycling App Design

Humans hold onto a lot of items due to emotional attachments, making it difficult to get rid of items that aren't useful to them anymore, which causes unnecessary accumulation, and a waste of potential resources. We created Revive, an app that facilitates neighborhood-based gifting that gives away usable unwanted items to someone who needs them more in the community. You can read our complete report here.




When beginning to explore object attachment habits, the most common and relevant scenarios we came across were surrounding extreme cases of hoarding. Our secondary research revealed that addressing serious object attachment required significant and often psychological engagement to address the root of the problem. Additionally, most of the objects being hoarded in these scenarios held little to no value. 

Many existing services address mass clean outs of objects that have become waste. What hasn’t been addressed is the more-present everyday scenarios of object accumulation, and how people like you and I avoid this wasteful behavior.




We asked what social factors influence the way people age 20-25 emotionally attach to items at home? How do people differentiate personal belongings and trash? What factors contribute to whether or not a person will purchase a new product? 

We conducted in-person interview with 8 participants at their household to observe their interactions with the environment. Each interview took approximately 60 minutes, by two team members with one being a notetaker, the other is the facilitator. As majority of our interviewees are people we know, we rotated the roles to avoid biases in our data.




We went through four rounds of affinity diagramming to organize our data points, come up with surface insights, derive insights in the context of people, and ideate.



We came up with five design objectives from our insights, went through several rounds of charettes for ideas, and presented five strongest concepts to the class for feedback. We later combined a few of them to form our final concept.


Final Concept


The object lifespan hits different points incorporating when a person plans to buy an object, buys it, uses it effectively, etc. The space in that cycle that Revive targets is when the user would usually decide to put an object on a shelf or in storage. This time is when an object is still practically valuable and useful, but has become static or dormant in the first user’s life. By targeting that space and making the transfer in ownership at that time, Revive enables the object to have a second life while it is still valuable. This serves emotional value for both the first and second user, and ultimately brings the object back to life.


Success measurement


Ideally we would run usability test with our prototype, but since our focus for this course is design research, and this is a concept design, we don't have quantitative data to back for success. 

However, after our presentation, we found everyone resonated with the problem space and the need of the app, including our professor who's in a different age range.  A designer at R.E.I. was really interested in our design particularly on how to resurface and repurpose a stored object. He mentioned our design has a lot of potential and that he’s been trying to push something similar at REI.

We really felt that this project has a lot of potential, but there's definitely still a lot more to figure out, such as security, edge cases that may lead to abuse of the system, and more.