Yellow Application

The app that helps you pause.


Our team designed Yellow over the course of 10 weeks for the Fall 2021 User Centered Design graduate course as part of University of Washington's Human-Centered Design & Engineering (HCDE) program. In response to the course theme - "Responsible Innovation" we set out to design a solution to reduce the environmental impacts of online shopping. In 2020 e-commerce had three times the return rate of brick-and-mortar retail and less than 50% of returned items go back to shelves. The environmental impact of online shopping and returns is staggering and we wanted to find a way to decrease this buy and return cycle.

My Role

Target Users


10 Weeks

Problem Statement

How might we reduce the rate of clothing returns?

Our team, attempts to raise awareness about the hidden ethical impacts of online shopping and provides actionable ways for shoppers to decrease environmental waste.

Breakdown of the problem

Stepping into the shoes of online buyers

Our primary goal in the discovery phase was to better understand the problems of online shopping . We hoped to identify issues in the online clothing purchase process that we could turn into a design solution.

We used 6 research methods; guided tours, 5 why's, Narration, Empathy Maps, and Competitive Analysis across 10 participants.

🏠 Guided Tours

Touring participants’ closets/their recent purchases.

❓5 Whys

Examining the underlying reasons for online shoppers' returning behavior.

💬 Narration

Learning about the process of how participants shop online.

📍Empathy Maps

Categorizing and understanding qualitative research to create personas.

Research Findings

Our research helped us understand users’ shopping habits and motivations around clothing purchases and returns. From this, we identified two main types of shoppers.

The first type of shopper

Shoppers who buy impulsively right away without much thought.
"I get tricked by ads"

The second type of shopper

Shoppers who do research and take a break before purchasing.
"I always look at reviews"

User persona

From these two types of shoppers, we developed three personas. Surprisingly, through secondary research, we found out that there are a lot of people who are like the 1st type of shopper; Isabelle Impulse-buyer.


Through iteration, we refined our 'How might we' question.

How might we help impulse-buyers make more intentional online clothing purchases so that we can reduce the rate of returns?

Sketching & Ideation

Sketching enabled us to explore different ideas before finalizing one.


This concept, will be integrated as a browser extension for Isabelle.

After 30 minutes of online browsing, it will gently remind her to take a break with a calming message and an image or video of someone enjoying offline activities.

We hope this interruption will motivate Isabelle to reflect, reducing her impulsive buying and returns.

Community Based

Our second solution involves consulting peers and seeking another's opinion before making a purchase to combat impulsive buying tendencies.

When considering an online purchase, Isabelle can share the item with a friend, receiving a break from browsing and a second opinion.

This community-based interaction aims to disrupt impulsive buying patterns and reduce her return rate.

Concept Testing

To help us choose which solution to move forward with we conducted concept testing with 5 participants.

Design Goals

With our concept testing data, we defined four design goals.
01. Give users a sense of accomplishment outside of the purchase experience.
02. Motivate users to use their time in more constructive ways.
03. Encourage mindful shopping among users.
04. Make the experience delightful.


Lo-fi wireframes allowed us to do usability testing with users and understand if we were heading in the right direction. We focused on mapping out three main flows.

To help the user set up a profile and notifications that will allow them to take a break.


To assist users in personalizing their experience and keeping track of their online shopping habits.


Customized to help users pause when they are shopping online for a set amount of time or after a certain interaction.

High fidelity Prototype

Following extensive user testing, we developed a high-fidelity prototype.


Scalability Through Account Creation and Onboarding

Account creation allows for the scalability as a cross platform application.

The creation of a customized notification for the user is the goal of onboarding.

New users are offered the option to skip customizing their notification.


Home Screen Functionality and User Profile

The home screen shows the users goals, a place for them to change how often they are notified and when along with a snooze button.

Insights tell the user a breakdown of their activity and help them see the environmental impact of their activity.

Users can customize notifications in the Profile tab in the app.

Notification Setup

Scalability and User Notification Customization

Images are selected to build a notification that will be appealing to the user.

Users can then choose topics that they are interested in learning about which will inform the fun facts displayed on their notifications.

Users are also presented with customized example of notifications they might see.


Creating this application was a valuable learning experience for me. One of the key takeaways was the importance of conducting proper user research and testing in order to create a project that will leave a lasting impact on users. Understanding the needs and expectations of the users before starting the project is crucial in identifying potential issues and making necessary adjustments to create a more user-friendly and effective solution. Without proper user research and testing, there is a higher likelihood that the final product will not meet the users' needs and will not have a lasting impact. It is essential to take these steps in the early stages of a project to ensure that the end result is successful and meets the needs of its intended users.

© Hamedia Jemal 2023