Project carried out throughout my 3rd year at L'École de design Nantes Atlantique. The goal is to reduce the environmental footprint of today's till receipts, as more and more people are no longer paying attention to them and throwing them away, when they can be useful for many things. But they continue to be manufactured and can be dangerous for the planet but also for humans.
The solution I propose is to use an application to store them digitally, but this also involves a cost for the planet.
The aim of this project is, therefore, to provide a simple experience to manage these receipts while taking into account all the negative aspects that this can have on the environment.
As most of us know, we live today in a consumer society, so we spend more and more (we consume and buy 4 times more than in 1960.). This is facilitated by all the new payment methods that are emerging (mobile payment, contactless payment, etc.) but also new currencies like cryptocurrencies.
More and more of these purchases are made online. There are many new applications, sites or technologies available to help us manage all these expenses.
But all of these have an impact on the environment, indeed all the data stored online, on the "cloud", in huge servers require a lot of energy to power and cool. On the other hand, more traditional ways of paying can also be dangerous for the environment. Indeed, the production of receipts (issued with each IRL purchase), causes deforestation, but they also pose a problem, because they contain endocrine disrupters.
Whether new or old, the means of exchanging, managing or storing money, therefore, have a significant impact on the environment and even on humans in any way.
How could a digital solution help manage expenses while preserving the environment?
The idea is to use an application to store your receipts and invoices on your phone. Such a solution is possible and feasible since NFC technology, allowing data to be sent between devices in the vicinity, is present in mobile phones but also in payment devices.
Once the tickets have been stored, it is possible to classify them all and view expenses by month, thanks to graphs, diagrams, and histories.
The preservation of the environment is present thanks to the fact that by default tickets are stored locally on the phone, so they don't take up any space on an online server. However, it is possible to upload them to a cloud in order to retrieve them on another device for example. Tickets are automatically deleted after a user-defined period of time, ranging from 1 month to 1 year, or never, in order to also enter into an ecological use.
To develop the project I used the agile method, I worked in sprints / iterations of 1 to 3 weeks. The ideas were therefore quickly developed but almost entirely destined to evolve as the project progressed.
During these iterations, follow-up sessions were organized with my teacher to get feedback and advice on the project.
I used the Trello software to help me organize each of the sprints and the tasks to complete. This is very useful to visually see the progress of the project through the different columns "TO DO", "DOING" and "FINISH".
Sprint 1 - The basics
I then first started sprint 1 by trying to solve how the ticket reception could technically work. There would, therefore, be 2 ways to receive the tickets:
- NFC, by passing your phone in front of the reader
- By scanning an already printed receipt, and OCR technology then transforms a photo into digital text, which will take up about 1000 times less space locally (or in a server).
Then I worked on the global architecture of the application by determining all the features present in the app but also the fact that there will be 2 main pages: the ticket list page (where we find all the tickets stored) and the profile page (to manage its profile and settings, but also its expenses). A few first wireframes followed in order to prioritize these few pages.
I also thought about how we could visually organize a receipt more simply, by going straight to the point, i.e. the trade and the amount present.
After that, I established a graphic charter. And then I started to create some interfaces, in view of test phases during which I wanted to have the basic functionalities tested by a few people to get some initial feedback. So I produced the interfaces for receiving a ticket, by NFC with a notification and by scanning an existing ticket.
For the test phases I then established a very precise path in order to test the first functionalities:
- Navigate to Home Page
- Add a ticket
- Scan a ticket
- Add it to the "shopping" group
- Find the new ticket location in the app
The 5 testers had to do this on a Sketch prototype on a mobile phone, in order to be as realistic as possible.
At the end of the test phases, I made them fill in a DEEP and a SUS forms to analyze their experience and navigation. I also asked them to give me oral feedback on specific points if they saw any use in it.
So I analyzed all this and took stock.
- First of all, according to them, the navigation on the Home Page was too blurry, we didn't know which element was what and where we were going if we clicked on certain buttons.
- Another more graphic problem was that the main colour was not sufficiently contrasted with the white and did not stand out sufficiently.
- Finally, an idea of functionality emerged, proposing monthly expense reports thanks to graphs in order to be able to visualize and manage them more easily. Obviously, as my subject dealt with money management, among other things, this functionality was already planned for the future, but this reinforced my conviction that it was therefore essential.
These test phases taking place at the same time as other sprints, I was able to import the necessary modifications to these problems as the application was developed.
Sprint 2 - A personal use
First of all, I introduced a personal use to the app, adding the fact of registering to have an account and therefore access information specific to each user, such as expense graphs, histories ... all this according to the tickets stored of course. Thus each user will have his personal app with reports and management that depend only on him.
I then worked on giving an utility, so that the user finds an interest in the solution I propose. As a result, he will often return there and his management of cash register receipts and associated expenses will be greatly facilitated.
For this purpose, the app proposes to receive discount coupons thanks to the receipt added. This builds customer loyalty in stores but also on the app because they can access discounts on many products. These coupons can be easily accessed from the Home Page.
Sprint 3 - Increase the possibilities
This sprint is focused on how to give the user various possibilities during his experience in order to improve it. Several features are then added:
- Different tabs available on the Home Page, to allow you to choose precisely the elements you want to display.
- Possibility to perform several actions from the ticket or group pages using modals.
- Scan a ticket
- Filters to choose what the user wants to display, with the amount, date or nature of the elements for example.
- More choices for the CTA by long-press on it: ticket, group or coupon.
Sprint 4 - Preserving the environment
After designing the application and making the experience as pleasant as possible, it remained to work on the central aspect of the project, i.e. preserving the environment through this solution.
Therefore, this possible mainly because the tickets are stored directly locally and not on the cloud, so no data server is used (but it is possible to upload it if the user wants for any reason). But local storage is a problem, it takes up space on your phone, fortunately as tickets are converted to text format they take up almost no space (about 1000 times less than a photo).
There is then an automatic deletion of cash register receipts, after a universal period of time, in order not to use space (locally or on a cloud) unnecessarily. The user can customize it himself and change it for a specific ticket.
Sprint 5 - All the other features
This last sprint is the finalization of all the features, in order to make the app as credible as possible. There are several features that do not really relate to each other but that end to end, and assembled with all those of the other sprints, form a complete application.
The video of the final product
Produced thanks to Sketch, Principle and Premier Pro, this short video shows and explains how the Ticket-Tac app could be used simply when making one or more purchases in a supermarket.
The character first uses a coupon to get a discount and, at the end of the purchase, he receives his ticket by NFC with a notification to inform him, simply.
Ticket-Tac is a realistic and concrete project that solves a real problem today, which is that we print and produce far too many till receipts that are not used by anyone because they are almost always thrown away, but also and above all they have a real and bad impact on the environment.
Ticket-Tac then offers a solution to this as well as management of these expenses (quite fashionable at the moment) thanks to a simple and intuitive application.
The business model is also credible because both consumers/users and merchants win.
The future of Ticket-Tac
In order to always propose the best solution, I think that if the project were to continue I would have organized more test phases because they are very useful and informative to improve a product.
Then if the project were to exist, it would be necessary to go directly to the big companies and shops to find out if they would really be able to agree on a common tool such as Ticket-Tac in order to get their tickets and coupons through.
I think that the fact that this solution is external and not affiliated with any companies in this field can be a real advantage.