Keep or Toss


Create a product that allows people to make better decisions on keeping or letting go of objects or people to simplify their lives. Get rid of baggage.



Strategic Opportunity

A lot of money, time, and energy goes into focusing on things, people, and places that we don’t care about. These wasted resources could have been used towards wiser choices.


Redirect our thinking to things and people we really care about. Doing so will simplify and enrich our lives.


Understanding the space

It’s important to understand the space you’re designing for to see who is in the market already with similar products and note their distinct differences.


User Interviews

As part of my discovery, I would conduct moderated user interviews to gain insight into each of the segment types.


  1. People that hold on to things;
    - Regular people cleaning out their garage. (a person that might use apps to purge stuff quickly)
    - Hoarders who have a negative characterization of themselves.
    - People that have an obsessive compulsion to collect things but aren’t necessarily classified as hoarders.

  2. People who keep toxic individuals in their lives or outgrow their relationships or friends;
    - Therapist (gain psychological insights as to why people stay into relationships)
    - Law Enforcement (Insight into Domestic abuse claims)
    - Teenagers (targeted segment group; peer pressure; influencers)
    - Divorced couples (targeted segment group)
    - Life Coach


The Problem

Based on my interviews a common theme would start to appear regarding the problems I should channel our efforts towards. I write my problem statements in the form of user stories to pinpoint the type of user. 

People that hold on to things

Why can’t people let go of things?

  1. As an older male person, I want to hold on to my memories so I feel closer to my life’s journey

  2. As a single male person with obsessive-compulsive disorder, I want to hold on to things because I might need something in the future.

  3. As an avid collector of war memorabilia, I want to feel guilt free of letting things go for fear that I might miss it when it’s gone.

  4. As a mother of four, I want to make time in my schedule so that I can decluttering my house

People who keep toxic individuals in their lives or outgrow their relationships or friends; 

Why do we keep certain people in our lives?

  1. As a teenager, I feel secure with a lot of friends I dread letting a person go in my life for fear that I won’t have any friends

  2. As a friend of a friend, I don’t want to have the difficult conversations with people, so I don’t hurt their feelings

  3. As a single female, I want to feel confident in weeding out negative people from my life, so that I can focus my life goals.


Once we’ve defined our user segments and the problems we’re trying to address. My next step is to put together a proto-persona based on assumptions from what we know.  

Mike has years of stuff in his house and garage. He’s partly to blame but his family is also guilty of keeping stuff.

Quote: “Wow! I still have my record collection from when I was a teenager! These things have got to be worth something“

Mary lacks the confidence to stand up for herself and lets people run over her.
Quote: “I hate it when Janet gossips at work, she should mind her own business“


Users Needs

Now that we understand the problem space after having interviewed users and conducted research online, I can attach needs to each segment type.

As a user wanting to let go of people, I want to:
— Assign behavioral points 
— Advice on difficult conversations
— Go through a wizard to validate relationships
— Stay on track with my life’s goals
— Get guidance on goals
— Chat with a life Coach
— Read articles
— Submit a question
— Send a gratitude

As a user selling an object, I want to:
— Be able to sell my stuff fast 
— Track my sales and see what sold
— Track the number of people looking at my stuff
— Share on social media
— Take a photo of my item and post it
— Add a map of my location for buyers
— Get notifications on sold items
— See what similar items are selling for
— I want to know what to sell my items for

Needs flow diagram

Feature List

A feature list can start to be developed as a springboard into this new product from the users’ needs.

Feature Workshop

This is a team effort to determine the MVP of this product. The goal is to determine the L.O.E. (level of effort) for the feature list. Its important that all key stakeholders are present during this workshop because each of them has insights into technology, resources or inflight initiatives that already happening within the company. The team looks at each feature to see what is fast and doable and the resources available to make it happen.

Process Flows

Once we have a feature list I would start to break down the needs into individual process flows before I start wireframing the experience. I would develop process flows if I had more time. We’ll have to use our creative imagination for now. 


Next, I move to the wireframe phase of the process during and after the process flow stage. Wires are at a high level to benchmark the direction of the screens needed for the experience. I would focus on the main value pages to get sign off on the direction and strategy then focus on other use cases that merge into those value pages. I try to get my wires as tight as possible and write filler text on the headers and contextual links to communicate the intent or set-up expectations. 

My thinking

I wanted to design an application where an individual can assign behavioral traits to their relationships and measure the value of that person. I felt it needed a points system based on human traits. Each trait is weighted based on statistical data for each trait. As the user assigns a positive or negative behavior they can see the ranking of that individual over time. From there they can make an informed decision to remove that person from their life or keep them as a valued support system that enriches them. The user can log in and apply these behaviors as often as they wish.


In closing  

In my research, I noticed a plethora of apps that do the same thing. Some have little tweaks to make them different. Example, “Decluttr“ (not a typo that’s how they spell it) you can scan the bar code on CD’s DVD’s, Games and the app will assign a cost value to it and pay you via PayPal. Let it Go added “other items“ feature to their app. You can point the phone’s camera at the item you want to sell and it will give you a price and the number of days it would take to sell it. Which I thought was unique.

If this were a real project I would develop a prototype and embark on usability testing to get this product into the hands of the user ASAP. I would Iterate on my learnings and test again. Once I have met all the business requirements and user needs then I would have a kick-off meeting with the UI team and get them going on the visual design. My job is not done. I think the role of UX is to follow the product during the development phase. Then its about maintenance after that where you’re iterating on improvements.

The overall message of this challenge was different. I think we’re all burdened with too much stuff. The people portion of this design challenge is more difficult and my primary focus for this exercise because people aren’t things. We have emotional ties to both things and people but to manage people in an app is a tough one to solve and thats why I wanted to focus on it. I approached it from a behavioral perspective. If I knew how people were behaving towards me I would re-evaluate my relationship with them. Life is too short.


Thank you!