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How can climate solutions be made mainstream and effortless?

Google Pay - Pay It Forward is a mock UX project that explores the idea of integrating climate-positive actions into an existing digital ecosystem. 


UX Research

Interaction Design






5 days

Google Pay

Pay It Forward

Empowering users to effortlessly make climate-positive decisions
by leveraging the Google Pay reward system.

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Problem Area

With climate change becoming a growing threat by the second, bridging the knowledge-action gap is imperative.

Users resist adopting sustainability practices due to
• Lack of seamless integration into existing lifestyles

• The perceived inconvenience of changing established habits.

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User Research

To understand this resistance better, I did some secondary research as well as conducted interviews with 5 participants (between ages 22 and 56) which led to these insights:

- Interviewee

Will the actions of one person make any difference at all? I don't think so. 



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Most people don't know where to start or how to contribute meaningfully.

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People don't believe that organisations will put their money to good use.

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People are skeptical about the impact of their actions on a larger level.

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People will prefer to adopt easy solutions well within their comfort zone.

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People find the idea of climate change to be incomprehensible.

The Objective


Avoiding any learning curve for the user


Effortless adaptation, no extra steps or time required

How might we integrate climate-positive actions into an existing and ubiquitous user journey?

Ecosia (a search engine that plants 1 tree for every 50 searches)

Alipay Ant Forest (a gamified fintech app that plants trees when people make lower-carbon choices)

Google Pay - Diwali Stamps (a gamified Diwali scheme by Google Pay that offers users cashback and rewards on transactions)


Non-imposing and feel-good nudges

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Insights From Research

Prompting users to make climate-positive decisions using the rewards feature in Google Pay while assuring credibility and measurable results. 

Why Google Pay?
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With a 36.39% market share (Nov '23) and over 67 million monthly active users in India alone, Google Pay can create a massive impact with minimum effort.

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Everyone can feel included in the solution, regardless of economic and social divisions.

Effortless nudge
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Users are extremely familiar with Google Pay's reward system and can instantly create a positive, measurable impact.

Current Google Pay Rewards System...

Users encounter any 1 of the 3 scenarios after a transaction:

1. Cashback (most desirable)

2. Vouchers (generally go unused and eventually expire)

3. No reward


Receive scratch cards after a transaction


Rewards page






No reward


Expired vouchers

...And Why It Works?

Randomising rewards

Since not every transaction guarantees rewards, users are driven to engage more with the app.

Engaging senses

The combined visual, auditory, and tactile experience of interacting with a scratch card triggers a bigger dopamine rush than winning an actual reward. 

User Flow

Modifying the flow by introducing two additional features (shown in blue and orange)

01. Donating cashback 

In addition to the existing cashback reward (which users LOVE), introducing another reward where the cashback reward given by Google Pay can be instantly donated to an organisation.

02. Collecting points 

Presenting users with an ongoing mini challenge of collecting "tree points" to uplevel and receive badges. Reaching a new level will unlock more scratch cards.

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Concept Sketches


Design Solutions

01. Simplified navigation

The bottom navigation bar creates a clear distinction between payment and rewards.

This simplifies the experience and gets users curious about their rewards.
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02. Visible impact

The Rewards page shows an interactive map with

geo-tagged trees previously planted by the user.

Features like collecting tree points and badges can leverage gamification to prompt users into taking action.

03. Action-oriented

Users are prompted to take immediate action with no additional effort or cost. 

Detailed real-time information about the partner NGO and each tree planted builds trust and empowers the user to further engage with the app.

All Screens

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User Testing - Learnings

Round 1 - Idea validation (unsuccessful)

I made a simple working prototype to validate the idea.

Since the design and copy did not strictly adhere to the existing Google Pay flow, users felt confused by the interaction and could not provide feedback to validate the idea. 


Learnings: Users found it difficult to interact with the prototype because it did not match their current mental model of the app experience.

Insight: Users have a subliminal memory of their lived experiences and face cognitive dissonance when they encounter something different. 

Round 2 - Idea validation and user journey testing (successful)

Retesting with the same users after adapting the prototype to match Google Pay's design and copy helped validate the idea and the user journey. 


Learnings: Users easily navigated through the app and liked the increase in number of rewards. Real-time information about the trees made them feel happy about their contribution. 

Insight: Users easily accept small changes that ensure rewards and require little to no mental or physical effort.

User Testing - Design Changes

01. Increasing familiarity

By rearranging the information and adding more context through text, icons, and colours, users were easily able to identify and understand the different features (number of trees, badge, and map).

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Round 2

Round 1

02. Clear messaging

Users felt like they had to donate money from their pocket to contribute to an NGO. 
Changing the messaging and closely following Google Pay's design structure eliminated this confusion.

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Round 1

Round 2

User Testing - Feedback

In round 2 of testing, I approached 5 Google Pay users between 25 and 37 years of age and focused on 3 key areas:

Ease of use
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5/5 users found the app to be extremely easy to use, accessing rewards through the bottom navigation was preferred. 

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3/5 users believe that detailed information about the NGOs and trees planted would provide the credibility they need.

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4/5 users agreed that seeing a real-time interactive map with geo-tagged trees after every transaction would encourage them to make more payments through the app. 


01. Making sustainability easy

Sustainability is often seen as sad or boring or both. 

Bridging the knowledge-action gap through an intuitive and effortless user journey was challenging but fulfilling.

02. Do small actions matter?

Users acknowledged that even though the true impact of climate-positive actions will only be visible in the long term, taking small actions throughout the day could nudge them to bring about bigger lifestyle changes.

That's all!

Thank you for taking a stroll through my UX journey!

Here are some more projects for you to take a look at.

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