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Second Hive

Class Project

Second Hive is an app that helps Georgia Tech students move out sustainably. By synthesizing second-hand marketplace and collective donation, it offers users an easy way to recycle unwanted items. 

My Role

End-to-end designer

Skills Used

UX Research, UX Design, UI Design


August 2021 - December 2021


Siman Ao, Abhinav Thukral, Zhoujun Sun

Why Sustainable Move Out?

Moving out is a relatively new and energy-consuming process for many students. Some students are unfamiliar with how to deal with their items, and some find it difficult to get rid of unwanted items when moving. As a result, many unnecessary wastes are generated. Usable items are thrown away because people either do not know how or do not have time to handle them properly. Aiming to help Georgia Tech students with a smoother and more sustainable move out, the group designed an app that makes it easy to recycle unwanted items.

Generative Research

Research — Analysis

In order to better understand GT students' move-out process and identify pain points, we utilized the following research methods and analyzed the results accordingly. 

  • A secondary research about move out tips and pain points

  • A competitive analysis of systems people use when moving out

  • A survey with GT students who have moving experiences

  • 3 semi-structured interviews with GT students having move-out experiences

We created an affinity diagram to analyze interview results

The diagram, alone with results from other research methods, lead us to the following insights:

  • Students moving in are willing to buy second-hand items but are hesitant about the quality of the items

  • Students prefer to donate some of their items (eg. clothes) during move out but find donations inconvenient

  • Students are more willing to recycle when recycling methods are easily accessible

  • Students find move out time-consuming, however they do not spend a lot of time planning their move out

  • Students want to minimize the costs of moving

Since our research shows that the buying and selling of second-hand items is a main way students recycle while moving, we explored this process further by doing two task analysis.

Task 1: selling a microwave during move out

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Task 2: buying a second-hand office chair online

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From Research to Design

To better transform our research findings to design ideas, we summarized 3 functional design requirements and 4 non-functional design requirements based on our research.

Functional Design Requirement

  • Synthesized Online Second-hand Item Marketplace

  • Move-out Manager

  • Donation/Recycling Support

Non-functional Design Requirement

  • Accessible

  • Transparent

  • Private

  • Flexible/Customizable


We brainstormed and came up with 10 design ideas based on the design requirements. We created storyboards for the top two ideas.

Idea 1: Second Hive


1. David is moving out and has a furniture item (table) to sell.


2. David scans and enters information about the table on Second Hive


3. Tom wants a table


4. The system matches David's offer with Tom


5. Tom uses AR to see how the table looks in his/her apartment


6. Tom purchases the table via Second Hive

Idea 2: FreeBees


1. David has extra clothes he wants to recycle during move out


2. He wants to donate his clothes to a donation service but doesn't have time to drive there


3. David pledges his clothes to a virtual donation box and invites friends to do the same


4. Once the donation box is full, the collection is organized for the donation service (eg. Goodwill)


5. The donation center sends a pick up service to collect the items


6. Everyone donated receives updates on how their clothes were used for a good cause


Since selling second-hand items and donating are the two main ways people recycle other than throwing stuff into garbage bins, we decided to combine Freebees with Second Hive to create a system that makes recycling easier for GT students. We also addressed the move-out manager functional design requirement, and the four non-functional design requirements while designing. We first drew a user flow to identify what functions our system should include.


We also created a style guide to maintain a consistent visual design language.

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These guided us to create our interactive prototype, which is embedded down below. For better experience, you may also click here to explore!

Evaluation & Iteration

We conducted a discounted evaluation on our prototype with 3 users. We assigned each user a task to accomplish with our system, and asked them to think aloud in the process. We followed each session up with a semi-structured interview to make sure all evaluation goals are covered, and to check our understanding with the participant. Specifically, we ask participants to rate our system's easiness of use and their likeliness of use towards the end of each session.

The evaluation offers us some valuable feedbacks. We plan to make the following changes:


The system does not provide sufficient information and instructions

The level of significance of the information is not well-expressed

The system does not completely follow the users' mental model

Design Recommendations

Add an onboarding experience and add more hints to increase the visibility of system status

Make entries to our primary function more prominent

Better fit users' mental model by changing the order of questions that sellers need to input


For this project, we only conducted feedback sessions towards the end of the design process. It might be more productive if add more feedback sessions during the design process. In addition, the visibility of system status and the system's consistency with users' mental model become our biggest design challenges. When we try to design a new sell-donate combined experience, we create a system that are quite different from all the systems that users have met before. It is very important that we provide users with sufficient hints and guidance to get them familiar with our system.

Check out my other works:

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