My group, Green Tea Leaves, used a variety of methodologies to formulate and investigate our brief which aimed to improve the UTS Underground’s waste management system.
One of the first primary methodologies involved a semi-structured interview with a member of cleaning staff which was performed to highlight potential issues in the Underground and guide our design brief. The interview revealed the scope of the waste problem in the Underground and the reasons behind user behaviour including a lack of understanding and information of how to sort waste, and systemic issues and inefficiencies with the waste management system at UTS.
Video ethnography was then carried out in the Underground which consisted of an hour long recording of a bin location. This methodology further corroborated the findings of the semi-structured interview by visually demonstrating in real time the confusion and difficulty surrounding the use of the existing bin system and revealing a pattern where users paused when approaching the bins before disposing of their waste.
Our group then conducted a survey to collect quantitative data to identify how poor signage has contributed to the Underground waste management problem. The survey revealed that a large proportion of respondents lacked confidence in their ability to correctly separate waste and were unaware of how the UTS waste management system worked. Many respondents commented on the lack of signage.
UTS’ recent rebranding was a vital event that informed our group’s design process and visual identity. On learning of the rebranding, our group performed marketing analysis by looking at ‘UTS Brand Guidelines April 2017’ (UTS, 2017a) and ‘UTS MCU Tone of Voice Guide’ (UTS, 2017b) as well as identifying a range of official UTS social media platforms.
We discovered a comprehensive set of rules dictating a colour scheme of primary and monochromatic colours, the use of specific sans-serif fonts such as NB International and Arial, a geometric and linear visual style with elements of disorganisation, spontaneity and randomness, and a standardised iconography library that implements the use of balanced stroke weight and scale (UTS, 2017a; UTS, 2017b). Implementing these design elements helped our designs resonate with the stakeholder of UTS.
UTS uses social media sites Facebook (UTSEngage, n.d.a), Instagram (UTSEngage, 2017), Twitter (UTSEngage, n.d.a), LinkedIn (UTS, n.d.b), Google+ (UTS, n.d.a) and Youtube (UTS Channel, n.d.) in English as well as Chinese social media, Weibo (UTS International, 2017a) and Youku (UTS International, 2017b). We identified that UTS uses popular social media sites especially those popular with young adults, professionals and Chinese users. This informed our choice of the social media outlets, Facebook and Instagram, in our designs as they could be easily implemented and accepted in UTS’ existing social media identity whilst appealing to our target users, young adults.
Our methodology results helped us formulate targeted strategies in our designs including education about waste disposal practices and facilities at UTS, an instructional approach to waste separation, providing interactive ways for users to engage with the system, and providing more intuitive, simplified and user-friendly facilities to reduce user confusion.
UTS, n.d.a, “University of Technology Sydney – Google+”, viewed 16th June 2017, <https://plus.google.com/u/0/107974797055182973131 >
UTS n.d.b, “University of Technology Sydney | LinkedIn”, LinkedIn, viewed 1st June 2017, <http://linkedin.com/company/166678 >
UTS, 2017a, “UTS Brand Guidelines April 2017“, UTS, Sydney, viewed 1st June 2017, <https://staff.uts.edu.au/topichub/MCU/Overview%20Page/UTS_Brand-Guidelines_2017.pdf >
UTS, 2017b, “UTS MCU Tone of Voice Guide“, UTS, Sydney, viewed 1st June 2017, <https://staff.uts.edu.au/topichub/MCU/Overview%20Page/UTS_Tone-of-Voice_2017.pdf >
UTS Channel, n.d., “University of Technology Sydney – YouTube”, YouTube, viewed 1st June 2017, <https://www.youtube.com/user/utschannel >
UTSEngage, n.d.a, “UTS (@utsengage)”, Twitter, viewed 1st June 2017, <https://twitter.com/UTSEngage >
UTSEngage, n.d.b, “UTS: University of Technology Sydney”, Facebook, viewed 1st June 2017, <https://www.facebook.com/UTSEngage/ >
UTSEngage, 2017, “UTS (@utsengage)”, Instagram, viewed 16th June 2017, <https://www.instagram.com/utsengage/ >
UTS International, 2017a, “悉尼科技大学UTS的微博_微博”, Weibo, viewed 1st June 2017, <http://weibo.com/UTSI >
UTS International, 2017b, “悉尼科技大学的自频道-优酷视”, Youku, viewed 1st June 2017, <http://i.youku.com/utsinternational >