This study explored the impact of moral identity on online purchasing behaviours using digital nudges in an online environment.
As social media use increases, so does consumers awareness of the unethical, unsustainable impact of fast fashion. As a result, it is no surprise that being a conscious consumer, and making a positive impact through purchasing choices was voted one of "the top 10 consumer trend of 2019" by Euromonitior International. Despite this, there is a discrepancy between consumers expressed interest, and actual behaviours when examining purchasing choices. There may be many factors impacting this, but this study investigates the impact of misinformation on consumers ability to engage in ethical shopping, and understand the role moral identity plays in their choices.
This study followed Nielsen Normans Design Thinking 101 design methodology. Here is an overview of the user research conducted in each phase of the design process.
Primary and secondary personas were developed to help empathise with the users needs.
From this primary persona, a scenario was developed and from this user journeys both "as-is" and"to-be". This helped contextualise the case of use, and understand areas in the user journey which can be improved.
A heuristic analysis was conducted across a number of websites such as e-commerce, ethical information, and ethical shopping websites. The main takeaways across the board were that popular shopping websites do not show ethical information, and when looking externally this information can be hard to find. Websites which provide ethical insights do not include prices or the ability to see items from that brand, meaning users have to retain that information as they continue to the merchants website. As studies have shown, if this information is not at the forefront it can lead to fast, automated deficit decisions
A survey was conducted to understand users attitudes towards ethical shopping. The survey gathered a total of 42 respondents, 33 female, 8 male, and 1 non-binary male. The majority of respondents were between the ages of 25-34, and 62% said they currently take steps towards making ethical choices. The biggest issues cited by respondents when shopping ethically are cost, availability, and information, either lack of information, or lack of trust in information. The most important factors when shopping for clothes are their own style, wearability, quality & cost.
A diary study was conducted with 7 participants over the course of one month, with participants sending weekly quantative feedback on their purchases, how many items were bought, whether in-store or online, and other findings. Qualitative feedback on whether they made ethical shopping attempts, how they found this experience, and how they feel about the purchases they made. Consistent with research in literature review, 71% of participants expressed an interest in shopping more ethically, however this did not necessarily translate when observing their purchases. All participants have cited forgetting about purchases they had made in the past. Again, lack of information, cost, and accessibility were key issues impacting ethical shopping ability.
A design key was developed to ensure consistency across the prototypes. Consideration was given to TOV to ensure it was friendly, trusting & encouraging with our coming across too childlike. A neutral, earthy colour palette was chosen as it is said to work well when conveying emotions relating to the natural world. Carbon designs iconography was used through the design for call to action symbols, as they are accessible to all regardless of ability. IOS emojis were chosen for displaying non-actionable items as they are universally well know and understood, and visually more appealing than some other icons explored.
Iterations of the prototype were designed and guerrilla tested with groups of participants. From the findings, issues in the prototype were addressed and improved through each iteration until the final prototype was brought to testing.
Please see this video for a demo of both variations of the final prototype; one with nudges, and one without.
This study examines how digital nudges may be used to engage users moral identity, and how this may encourage users towards more ethical choices in an online environment.
Exploring the Impact of Moral Identity on online Purchasing Behaviours
As social media rises, so does consumers' awareness of the negative impacts of unethical, unsustainable production practices. With this rise in awareness has come an increase in consumers' desire to make more ethically and environmentally positive choices through their purchasing behaviors. Despite this interest in making more ethical choices studies have shown that there is a discrepancy, as users' desire to make positive shopping choices does not necessarily translate when examining their actual purchasing behaviours. Studies propose several factors may be impacting consumers' behaviors when trying to shop ethically, but the key factors which will be explored in this study will be the impact of moral identity on individuals shopping choices in an ethical fashion environment, and the role misinformation plays on impacting the choices individuals make. These concepts will be examined through a UX design lens by exploring how digital nudges may be used to encourage and facilitate more ethical shopping practices.