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Empowering Citizens To Take Action on Climate Change with a Bold Digital Experiment

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Climate change is one of the most urgent global issues of our time – but individual efforts can add up to have a big impact. As part of its mission to influence behavioral change to protect our environment, Rare sought to build a digital marketplace where the public could help reduce carbon emissions by funding climate-friendly projects. The main challenge? Nothing quite like it existed yet. Oomph and the Adapt Agency designed and built a version 1.0 site that would allow Rare to test, learn, and iterate quickly, bringing the bold new experiment to market in less than three months.


THE APPROACH

Rapid Discovery with a Cohort Analysis

Oomph hit the ground running, bringing our human-centered design expertise and passion for environmental causes to strategize a solution. We knew that balancing rigor and speed would be critical – how could we design a site positioned for success without over-investing in features that might need to change later? Through market and user research, rapid prototyping, and close collaboration with Rare and development partner Adapt, we swiftly moved from vision to reality.


Surveying the Landscape

While purchasing carbon credits is similar to making a nonprofit donation in some ways, it also blends elements of investing and crowdfunding in a distinct experience. Oomph first conducted a cohort analysis of more than 20 platforms, from other emerging carbon credit marketplaces to crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and Kiva. The process uncovered some promising initial approaches, but also underscored the lack of best practices in the space. Ultimately, we determined that Catch Carbon needed to emphasize real-world impact: giving like-minded supporters a place to rally behind a shared cause and directly see the positive effects of their dollars.

Creating Connection and Credibility with Users

Building on Rare’s insights into its audience – climate-concerned citizens eager to be part of the solution – we knew that Catch Carbon would primarily draw users interested in taking personal action to reduce carbon impacts. User journey mapping allowed us to anticipate the visitor’s thoughts and feelings at every stage – curious as they enter the site, inspired as they browse projects, proud after deciding to purchase – and make design choices to guide them along the way. Our strategy included:

  • Synthesizing project data to showcase the total impact of Catch Carbon’s work, helping to build trust and motivate users
  • Each item needs its own line
  • Simplifying the primary navigation and standardizing project descriptions to help users easily discover, compare, and support projects that matched their interests
  • Creating user-friendly naming conventions for project types, including “Collections,” which bundle multiple projects like a mutual fund so users can make their dollars go even further

A Collaborative Design Process

With a solid strategy in place, Oomph dove in to bring the design to life. We led Rare through a 20-second design “gut check” workshop to develop a shared design language, then used style tiles to quickly hone in on the design aesthetic. As we moved into full page designs, we worked hand in hand with Adapt and Rare to test an internal API system that would populate project data, refining the design in real time as we determined which information was possible to include.


THE RESULTS

Just seven weeks after project kickoff, the Catch Carbon site debuted to the public. Its launch marked a major step forward for the voluntary carbon credit market, democratizing access for consumers and setting new standards for project transparency and quality. As a member of 1% for the Planet, Oomph is personally invested in sustaining our world for generations to come – making our work with Rare especially meaningful.

In addition to bringing Rare’s bold new idea to the public quickly, we equipped the organization with a set of KPIs to measure the effectiveness of specific design choices. By understanding factors like site traffic patterns and drop-off rates, Rare can test and iterate with precision.

Climate change is an insurmountable challenge to solve alone, but together, our efforts can make a difference. The Catch Carbon marketplace brings everyday people closer to carbon reduction solutions than ever before, spurring the behavioral change that’s at the heart of Rare’s mission.