Reuse Central is a platform that connects donors to appropriate reuse organizations


Construction Junction is one of the biggest reuse organizations in the US. They take used products and construction materials as donations and sell them at reduced prices. Currently they are facing efficiency issues in the intake domain which prevents them from expanding their business. This problem is pretty prevalent among the reuse sector. We are trying to come up with a highly customizable solution that would make the intake process highly easy.

Project Details

Client: Construction Junction

Duration: 8 months

Role: UX Lead


Mingrui Zhang
Jamie Crawford
Nicole Navolio
David Ralley


We spent the first two months of our 8 month long capstone studying the reuse domain, conducting user research with both donors for the reuse organizations and the organizations themselves. To understand how the reuse domain works, we did a comprehensive literature review on how reuse works, how it affects the economy and the individuals.We also visited around 15 different reuse organizations around pittsburgh to understand how they worked and the processes they followed. We analyzed the processes and the technology used by these reuse organizations (Like inventory management systems and point of sales systems) to understand how the reuse domain uses technology.

Data synthesis & Ideation

We synthesized the data we gathered during the research phase to make sense out of it. We employed techniques such as affinity diagramming and product journey maps to identify the major pain points in the existing process. We focused on the product journey map for CJ, but for the affinity diagram, we kept our scope broad to cover all the reuse organizations we visited. Based on the synthesis, we narrowed down the pain points to 4 major areas.

1. Donating is difficult. Info about reuse organizations and transportation of the items to be donated is hard.

2. Reuse organizations have to identify if an item is worth picking up / accepted quickly without access to a lot of relevant information about the item.

3. Since most of the reuse organizations operate on a non profit model, focus on the store layout and presentation is not given much importance and hence customers are not provided with an optimal shopping experience.

4. The technology components used in reuse organizations are not up to date and there are no dedicated technology for the reuse domain (for ex: Inventory management systems and point of sale systems are all designed with first use stores in mind and so they are not easily adaptable for handling multiple unique items).

Based on the findings, we came up with multiple visions to address the pain points. At the end of the spring semester, we gave a presentation to our clients about our research, findings and the best of the visions we came up with. With the additional input and feedback from our clients, we narrowed down our scope to one vision - a platform that connects donors to reuse organizations that will make reuse convenient.

Our grand vision at the end of our spring semester - a reuse mall that would serve as a one stop drop off and shopping plaza for donors and the reuse organizations could then divide the donations among themselves.

Prototyping and Design

After the visioning session with our clients, we started to design our final vision. We started out with paper prototypes and designed 3 concepts for our prototypes. We then tested them with users. We took the best ideas from our concepts and moved to the next stage of prototyping. We then tested this design and again iterated over it with the help of the feedback we recieved.

Product - Reuse Central

Reuse central consists of two halves - A mobile application that allows donors to easily find reuse organizations or request a donation pickup and a web application that enables reuse organizations to browse donations and quickly claim those of interest.

Now let's take a look at how Reuse central solves their problems.

Mobile App

The mobile app offers donors two options - they can either choose to drop-off the donations by themselves, and in that case the app will provide them with all the necessary information about reuse organizations that are nearby to the donor, their hours, contact details and the types of donation they accept. The donor can also get directions, save the details or send the details as a SMS or email.

If the item to be donated is too big or heavy for the donors to transport by themselves, they can also request a pickup. The donors take a picture of the items to be donated, fill in details about them, add contact details and pickup address and submit the request for pickup.

Web App

The web app offers reuse organizations an opportunity to look at items that are up for donation even before they send out a truck to pick them up. This way, reuse organizations can make sure that they pickup appropriate donations and they can also combine pickups in the same neighborhood, thereby reducing the resources they spend to pickup more donations.

For the final deliverables, we submitted a mobile app prototype, a web app prototype, a concept video sketch and a team website.

Design is a plan for arranging elements in such a way as best to accomplish a particular purpose.

Charles Eames

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