In order to encourage Victorian families to become waterwise, a water retailer undertook field studies and developed a series of complicated excel worksheets that help determine how a household can reduce water wastage.
As the UI designer and 3D modeller for this project, my challenge was to transform these complex calculators into an online application that is approachable and engaging for homeowners and children.
The Key Focus
The product to be designed was a web application that simulates home water usage and creates a water savings plan. But it wasn’t just about saving money.
The main focus of this weblication was to encourage families to change their daily habits and discover better water drainage solutions (such as rain gardens) in order to become more environmentally friendly.
Early in the project, a few overarching concepts were created to help make a call on the overall direction: Game-like concept; Checklist-style concept; and App-style concept.
The checklist concept was selected so that tailored water saving tips and amount wouldn’t be missed, as opposed to being discoverable.
The interface was designed so that users can rotate and navigate inside the 3D house and apartment. This called for low-poly models that can be loaded into WebGL. I used Maya to create a typical modern Melbournian house, apartment, kitchen, bathroom, and backyard with water saving features such as rain gardens and water tanks.
Adding a friendly face
To make the home simulator more personable for homeowners and children, we got a little help from illustrators and animators to explore silhouettes in search of a friendly and intelligent figure. This led us to Geoff the Frog; A down to earth Aussie neighbour who loves sharing tips on how to save water.
Several 3D animations were created where Geoff the Frog introduces how families can be waterwise, for example: connecing toilets to water tanks, using pool covers, and gardening with drip feeds and rain gardens. He was given his own online portal (Geoff’s Water Discovery Headquarters) to share these tips with SEW’s customers.
Within the 3D home weblication, Geoff appears around the house interface to give users tips on how to be environmentally friendly around the home, and help families create a water-saving checklist that would also help them save on water bills.