How Accountability Motivates People To Take Eco-Friendly Actions

Final Mockup of a Challenge Prompt From SimpleSphere - An Eco Challenge and Accountability Mobile Application


Our planet is suffering and we are on the precipice of an environmental crisis. I set out to discover what is preventing people from taking even the smallest actions to help save our planet and come up with a solution.

SimpleSphere is a challenge app, where you work with an accountability buddy and bet against yourself on actions you will take to help positively contribute to saving planet. 


How might we get people started taking action against climate change? 


Founder and Creator


3 months


Sketch, Google Drawings, Invision App and Invision Studio

Behavioural Observations Indicates Minimum of 51,000 Cups Thrown Out A Day in Canada.

After observing this station for 45 minutes I discovered: observed: 

  • 21 people dispose of their coffee cups
  • Of those only 4 were recycled

Assumption: 51,000 Cups In The Trash/Day.

(*2000 Starbucks In Canada – 21 cups/hr – 84% go in the trash = 51,000 cups/day. This assumption does not included the numerous people who took their cup to go and then possibly threw it in the trash later.  Click here for the reference link.)

Cognitive Interviews

Using Skype, I conducted 5 cognitive interviews 45 minutes in length. During the interviews I discovered: 

  • 3/5 out of 5 people felt didn’t know where to start and as a result, not taking action
  • 5/5 were aware of climate change and actions they could take to combat it. 
  • 5/5 expressed a need for community and reminders.
  • Everyone I spoke to during research, interviewees, family, friends, co-workers feel overwhelmed by our eco-crisis.



  • 20 years old
  • Student
  • Single
  • Someone’s daughter, granddaughter, sister, friend.
  • The future.

Her Needs

  • A community to feel a part of something bigger and supported.
  • Accountability to stay motivated.
  • Reminders to stay motivated.
  • Low Barrier to Entry
  • Rewards for hitting her goals and targets. 
  • Make her actions personal to her. 

User Flow

A simple and easy to navigate experience based on a similar premise to Tinder where you can swipe left to decline a challenge and right to accept.  Swiping left runs a loop of challenges until a challenge is accepted. At the end of the day our persona has to confirm whether or not they completed the challenge. 



High Fidelity Screens

User Testing Reveals Challenges with Accountability Features

I discovered that 3/5 of the people tested did not feel connected to their sidekick and that the feature of the sidekick was not actually creating a feeling of accountability for them, so I made the following changes: 

I directly linked the results of the challenge to both the efforts of the user and the sidekick. Making them feel they were in it together. 
I implemented different copy and added in a personalized image so the sidekick felt more involved in the process


Jennie D. Leaver

Jennie D. Leaver

Jennie is a UX/UI Designer with a 15-year background in Visual Design and Hospitality. Jennie spent two years of her life working on the ocean off Northeast Vancouver Island and experiencing first hand how we are impacting our ecosystem. She is passionate about solving problems related to the environment and creating a more sustainable existence for humans and other species who share our planet. Her desire is to work on projects focused on creating a better world, specifically in the areas of the environment, humanitarian efforts and health care.