Duration: 15 weeks

Team: Individual

Tools: Sketch, Invision

PickRight is a mobile application that would help consumers to find child labor free products from grocery stores. PickRight uses the data available on the internet to determine the child labor imprint of everyday products and assigns a rating to the product. It helps consumers to check product ratings, find child labor free products with respect to their location and would also help to raise consumer awareness about child labor in the product manufacturing process. This project looks at finding a solution that can help consumers to make an informed decision while purchasing everyday products like coffee, vegetables, cereals, coffee etc which are heavily prone to child labor. It focuses on understanding how available data, that is scattered all over the web, can be utilized and processed to gain product specific information.

The project does not focus on solving the social issue of child labor but on the consumer issue of finding child labor free products.



Finding Child Labor Free Products

Consumer products available in the market comes to store shelves from different parts of the world. Millions of children work to produce the goods that are key ingredients of these products. U.S Department of Labor identified 136 goods from 78 countries as child labor prone in 2016.

Child Labor is hidden in the supply and manufacturing chain of most of the every-day products we use.There is only limited information available on the products and most of the products do not reveal any data about child labor and sourcing. How can consumers make an informed decision? Which products are child labor free?

1. Literature Review

The literature review focused on understanding the causes, depth and the relevance of the issue. This involved studying research and field studies conducted for the use of child labor in product manufacturing. It was also important at this point to understand whether any legal and business restrictions existed, that contributed to the issue. Literature review also helped to understand how consumerism impacted similar issues in the past and the growth and need for ethical consumerism.

New research from Mintel reveals that 56 percent of US consumers stop buying from companies they believe are unethical. What’s more, over one-third (35 percent) of consumers stop buying from brands they perceive as unethical even if there is no substitute available and 27 percent stop purchasing even if they think the competitor offers lower quality. Overall, more than three in five consumers feel that ethical issues are becoming more important (63 percent). However, there is still not enough information available about the involvement of child labor in product manufacturing. In 2016, a California court ruled in favor of chocolate giants, that companies are not obliged to provide this information even though it might be important to consumers.

2. Semi Structured Interviews

I found participants who had responded that child labor was a key issue in ethical consumption. Almost 7 participants agreed to be interviewed. The participants belonged to the age group of 26 -67. The interviews were semi-structured and open-ended in nature and were conducted in person. The duration of the interviews varied from 15 - 30 mins. A brief outline of questions was created to be used as pointers during the discussion, but I frequently deviated from the script to ask further questions on things that seemed more interesting or which I thought could reveal more insights.The interview gave insights into some of the frustrations faced by ethical consumers and how lack of information hinders the process informed decision making. The insights revealed four major issues or themes.

3. Information Trail

The next step was to gather information about different products to look at the feasibility of deriving product specific information from scattered data available on the internet from trusted sources. Two products were selected and data from different locations were gathered to create an initial database.This data base would also help in the testing process of the solution. Chocolate and Coffee were selected for the demonstration and testing purpose of the project. Information was available but was scattered. However, to find product specific information consumers would have to spend hours researching various data sources to piece together the data.

Design Questions

User Persona to User Needs

With the data gathered about the users through the research, I developed user personas to help with the design process. Five different user personas were created. While all the users belonged to the same category of ethical consumers looking for child labor free products, each persona was different and had atleast one unique problem. Dividing the users into five separate personas helped to understand each problem separately and in detail.

User personas were studied closely and user traits were obtained. Users traits helped to define the needs and the aspirations of an ideal user. These could be used as the pillars to form user requirements that would guide the design. Three main requirements were derived from the user needs analysis. These three requirements would form the core component of the solution and would determine the overall information and navigational flow.

The main requirements are listed below.
1. Product Rating and Information
2. Product Location
3. Purchase Guide

Competitive Analysis

Initial Feedback

A rough sketch that outlined the major requirements were drawn. This helped to understand the information architecture. The product rankings were categorized as A,B,C and D, where A is child labor free products and D is highly prone to child labor.A paper prototype was created with the rough sketch as the base. The paper prototype was then used to get quick feedback on the application and its core functionalities.The paper prototype was tested with 6 users of the age 25 -35 years. The users were given the several tasks and were asked to think aloud while performing the tasks.

User Feedback

1. Grading System is Too Broad

The grading system had to more detailed so that products can be compared in a more specific and easy manner.

2. Information Source is Cluttered

The rating and the information source was cluttered. There was a lot of information to go through but it was not readable.

3. Information Layering for Rating

Information could be layered based on the user goals and type of users.

4. Searching Products Grocery Store

Consumers had a "my grocery store" and wanted to know product ratings based on that store.


User Testing

For the purpose of keeping the feedback purely qualitative, the evaluation method was a usability testing session followed by a semi-structured interview. The evaluation study was conducted with 12 participants, 5 male, and 7 female users. Each evaluation session commenced with a use case given as a task, based on the major themes identified in the initial research. The participants were encouraged to think aloud while working towards completing their tasks to get a clear idea on what their thought process was, regarding the interactions. This session ended with an open-ended interview where the participants answered questions that helped the researcher to understand his interactions and gather feedback on the overall experience. Each session lasted for around 30-40 minutes.