This image shows the homepage, leaderboard, and habit-tracking screens mocked-up.


Who or What

UCI Impact Design-a-thon 2022 with Joanna Chen


UX & UI designer, Illustrator, Brand Designer


Jan 29th - 30th, 2022 | 2 days

The Lorax is a mobile app created for the UCI Impact 2022 design-a-thon, where the prompt was to either create solution in regards to social justice or sustainability. With the selection of sustainability, our team determined to creat a solution to make sustainability feel more accessible to college students. Through the fun and playful characterization of the Lorax, we aimed to create a wholesome and engaging community to learn more about sustainability through tracking habits in a fun way. With the gamification of maintaining streaks, there's visible impact on how students are changing the world, one habit at a time.

problem and approach

Prompted to focus in social justice or sustainability, we opted for sustainability as the two of us both considered that the problem with sustainability is it can be overwhelming. In fact, it’s something that’s mentioned often right now, but is too broad of a discipline.


Sustainability is inaccessible. It’s expensive to buy ethically and organically, complicated with what you should reuse or recycle, and broad in terms of its social, political, and environmental impact.

Upon doing general research through Instagram, the App Store, and available sites we found that there was no resource for everyday people and ways to take actionable steps with measurable progress. The idea of everyday people itself is as broad as the sites, social media accounts, and organizations we found. This led us to focus on the college student demographic.

This image shows some of the early notes and screenshots across the web, app store, app store reviews, and Instagram regarding sustainability brands, organizations, and applications.

It makes sense as we’re students and we knew that we wanted students to feel excited and educated to make environmentally conscious decisions. This led us to considering a gamified habit tracker that encourages maintaining continuous effort for caring for our planet, kind of like taking care of a Tamagotchi.

insight and focus

Upon defining our overarching solution, we conducted ten user interviews to determine how sustainability is practiced and defined, habits and barriers that prevent active sustainable lifestyles, and what incentives are needed to be more mindful about the environment.

This gif shows the user interview data and insight found and established.

Our findings showed us that what students lacked, what our app need to be, and why do they download the apps they already have.


There's no incentive or priority for sustainability because of lack of time, knowledge, convenience, and visible progress. Students are disillusioned by this lifestyle as it seems unattainable.


Our app needs to encourage sustainability by offering information, resources, and tips. All while showing visible progress of actionable tasks and habit. This shows that students are in fact making an impact.


Apps are currently downloaded due to necessity, community and communication, entertainment, and educational purposes. Our app, should strive to achieve three or four of these.


This gif is a moodboard of our inspiration from the Lorax itself, minti design's character branding, and Sincere Cider's colors.

Upon learning what our app needs to do and what goes into downloading an app, we considered a gamification standpoint for college students. Our concept would revolve around the Dr. Seuss Lorax character as he’s memorable, “speaks for the trees”, and has had virality in meme culture in the past.

This image shows some wireframes as well as Lorax iterations.
This image shows some wireframes, Lorax iterations, and wordmark ideation.

From there I doodled some very quick sketches of the Lorax as well as some wireframes. We concluded based on our user interview to have the following:

  • A leaderboard around a streak and not habits, that would create a sense of community and competition between friends
  • Levelling up is a means of feeling proud in continuous habits
  • Show visible progress on the homepage
  • Provide sustainability tips that could be digested easily on the homepage
This image shows our first low fidelity iteration as well as other ideas of layout for the user interface.

I was able to dissect the color palette from movie stills and the children’s book while keeping his features recognizable in tandem with our simple but fun wordmark — emphasizing a playful interpretation of the environment.

This image shows the branding and design components for the wordmark, typography, palette, and iconography.

Since our emphasis is on building habits, we decided to also make our own illustrations that would further echo the Lorax branding. Some of which included movie Easter Eggs.

This is an image showing versions of the Lorax mascot and abstraction as well as the habit illustrations.


This gif shows us how to start tracking the habit for zero-waste.
This gif is showing us how to swipe for tips and checking the leaderboard.

concluding thoughts

While this solution is viable, if we had more time I would like to address:

  • we didn’t mention or provide a solution for education beyond swiping through tips → I would consider an education hub with articles or quizzes that can reward users
  • we never accounted for the amount of tasks someone may be doing, and so we should aim to incentivize as many sustainable habits as possible
  • potentially user testing the finalized iteration, as it is just a habit tracker with a leaderboard and not our proposed solution

key takeaways

  • User insight is able to reveal things that you wouldn’t know immediately, like why are users downloading the apps they downloaded — which is something I’ve never considered before
  • There are people who DO want good and specific learning resources but are overwhelmed with today’s current landscape in sustainability

    • This was something I didn’t expect regarding the amount of people mentioning Reddit and Quora as places to learn or do casual research

This was my first mobile design project where I employed UX Research methods and I learned a lot from Joanna and from performing the process. This experience taught me a lot about user interviews and how to synthesize the data into focused goals for our project.

More like this


A mobile app to help you walk your way to wellness.

The Race to Teochew

A mobile RPG game to learn Teochew.