Sustainability For Craft Business Owners

Harmonic Designs
April 2022
Lead UX Designer
Website Prototype

About the Project

Many businesses are beginning to see the value of aligning with their environmentally conscientious consumers. We see evidence of this consumer mindset shift amongst small-business marketplaces like Etsy committing to offset 100% of carbon emissions from shipping and packaging. According to current research, most small businesses want to be environmentally conscious through their own actions, but they don't know how to achieve this.

Problem Statement

How can I help small craft business owners make sustainable business decisions without sacrificing costs and time?


We designed a web platform that helps small business owners make informed decisions on sustainability featuring uniquely matched shipping solutions and interactive 3D models that supports a learning-centric design.

Design Overview

Sustainability Matching Quiz

Quickly get started with sustainability in your business and waste no time getting lost figuring out what materials fit your products.

Expert Information

Materials are presented in the form of interactive 3D models to promote learning about sustainable materials.

Task Analysis

information goals
  • Identify the steps necessary in the order fulfillment process
  • How do sellers manage packaging solutions?


Semi-Structured Interviews

information goals
  • Identify the steps necessary in the order fulfillment process
  • How do sellers manage packaging solutions?


information goals
  • Explore how desirable Etsy sellers perceive sustainable order fulfillment practices
  • Collect contextual information about how Etsy sellers run their businesses
  • Understand the deciding factors for choosing packaging materials


Most respondents consider hand-making items the most time-consuming. The second most time-consuming activity is marketing (e.g., photography, listings, social media). Sourcing of materials and shipping providers is the third most time-consuming activity.


76% of respondents say that 20% or less of their business expenses go toward order fulfillment. Respondents rated cost and durability as the most important aspects of shipping materials and sustainability as least important in comparison to these two characteristics.


88.9% of respondents consider sustainability when making decisions about order fulfillment, and 40.7% of respondents consider packaging materials the most unsustainable part of order fulfillment.


We asked Etsy sellers about the biggest challenge of reducing their environmental impact. Since this question prompted a written answer, we made an affinity diagram of these responses (see below). Most respondents find it challenging to find sustainable materials, pay a higher price for sustainable packaging, and ensure their products are protected during shipment.


Research Findings

research finding #1

Cost is the biggest impediment for small craft businesses to make sustainable business decisions.

research finding #2

Etsy sellers are more receptive to sustainability when it is part of their brand identity.

research finding #3

Etsy sellers need an easy way to source sustainable packaging materials online.

research finding #4

Etsy sellers want comprehensive and easy-to-understand information on sustainable shipping options.

Design Requirements

  • The eventual design should support craft business owners getting access to sustainable resources and materials.
  • The eventual product should help craft business owners effectively plan and manage their shipping costs.
  • The design should make Etsy sellers feel confident about sustainable order fulfillment decisions.
  • The design should provide comprehensible expert-level information for novices.


Taylor is a 24 year old freelance illustrator, and she traditionally sells her small handmade ceramic homeware at local pop-up markets. Recently, she has been receiving requests on her Instagram page from fans across the country who are asking to purchase her products.

Journey Map

Taylor lacks the support that larger businesses have when it comes to sourcing sustainable materials. This is a multifold issue because she also lacks the resources to learn about which sustainable materials best fit her needs and besides, she’s running a one-woman show. Who has time to do that?


Early Design Concepting

concept Mockups

Design Evaluation

Think-Aloud Evaluation

information goals
  • Determine if the prototype facilitates making informed sustainable decisions
  • Ensure that the prototype has high learnability
  • Identify which of the key features are helpful and which are less helpful

System Usability Scale & Single Ease Question Results


The terminology used for packaging characteristics was too technical and difficult to understand

Design still lacks crucial information to help users feel truly confident in making sustainability-related business decisions


Final Deliverable

Sustainability Matching Quiz


The quiz is designed to help users make better-informed decisions without putting too much effort into searching and comparing different materials.

design principles
  • Implement the ‘match system with the world’ principle by asking questions speaking users’ language. Users don’t have to figure out materials which they might not be familiar with by themselves.
  • Improve ‘user control and freedom’ by allowing users to go back and forth to change answers (they might change their mind at any point).
  • Improve the capability to ‘help and documentation’ by documenting answers for users and allow them to check later, so that users don’t have to remember and analyze information by themselves.
  • Evoke recoverability by allowing users to retake the quiz anytime they want.

Viewing A Match


One of our users' critical needs is access to high-quality and thorough information about shipping materials. Users want to feel like they have done enough research to be making quality purchasing decisions. This feature provides sellers with concise, expert-level information about a specific product or material contained within the store or quiz results.

design principles
  • The design is consistent with the structure of a typical article page.
  • The design is minimal so users can quickly get the most important information about the article topic.
  • The article pages use visual hierarchy to help users move through the different topics easily.

Articles, Blogs, etc.


One of our users' critical needs is access to high-quality and thorough information about shipping materials. Through these readings, users can get a more in-depth understanding of how certain items impact the environment.

design principles

Store Page


The store feature is where users can go to look through our knowledge database by simply selecting a category of shipping products and then using filters to search through a variety of sustainable shipping products. Each product listing page will contain information about the lifecycle of the material, production, and how it can be recycled or otherwise discarded.

design principles
  • The design is consistent with the structure of a typical store page so users can quickly understand how to use it.
  • The design of the store page is minimal so users can easily find the important information on the page and quickly find specific products.
  • The store page uses images of each category to show what is in each section, allowing users to recognize the categories and not have to recall them.

Hi-Fidelity Prototype

Craft business owners want to feel confident in the sustainability choices they make, which translates into being able to validate their decisions with facts and research. But more importantly, they strive for the most affordable options without sacrificing the visual aesthetics of their brand.


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