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Joule Energy

Joule is an app designed to simplify utility management for college students, integrating bill tracking and payment into a single user-friendly platform. Its gamified features make managing utilities both fun and straightforward for newcomers to bill payments.

2023 Fall - UIUX, Research, System Design, Evaluation




This class project, undertaken by a team of four, focused on redesigning for the civic energy utility system, which includes services like electricity, water, and gas. In this team, my role encompassed research, design, and leading the team, guiding the project towards improving the functionality and user interaction with the civic system. 


Kat Yang


Leesan Sun

Problem Space

As college students embark on independent living, they encounter the challenge of managing utility payments such as water, gas, and electricity on their own. This new responsibility includes tasks like choosing the right utility providers and ensuring bills are paid on time. Our project aims to improve this aspect of student life by simplifying and enhancing the entire utility management process.

唐峰旗舰店 (4).png


We start with primary and secondary research and to investigate our users and their experiences with the system, we conducted two research methods: surveys and interviews.


Our first way to gather information is through SURVEYS.

We chose this method because it is cost effective, flexible, and it allows us to gather information from a large sample size quickly. 

We conducted a survey among 44 college students, both undergraduate and graduate, who live independently. Of those, 24 respondents (M=21.8, SD=3.04) pay bills directly to utility providers through the company websites and thus are our target users.

key findings: numbers


Our second way to gather information
are interviewS!

After the quantitative data we received from the survey, we wanted to get more detailed insight about the motivations, abilities, and limitations within the energy utility system.

We created an interview guideline to follow when we conduct our interviews. We started off by asking their first time experience paying for their utility bills themselves, followed by their current process now. 

We conducted four user interviews from the 4 college students who filled out our survey. The interviewees’ ages range from 21 to 25 years old, all who are still students, both undergraduate and graduate.

23 years old,
master student

25, working,
the gap year

22 years old,
master student

21 years old,
master student

Interview Insights 1: 100% Online

“all of them use online platforms, especially web based”

Interview Insights 2: Energy usage

75% of them keep track of their energy usage”

Key Findings: Motivation

The main reason why the four interviewees pay their bill is due to the need of utilities. If they don’t pay the bill on time, there could be a late fee or even cut services. If there are roommates involved, a late payment can also affect them as well.

Key Findings: Challenges & Potentials

The main reason why the four interviewees pay their bill is due to the need of utilities. If they don’t pay the bill on time, there could be a late fee or even cut services. If there are roommates involved, a late payment can also affect them as well.

Tasks Analysis

Based on survey, interviews, our secondary research from D1, and our past experience. We’ve identified the two most important tasks our users complete when managing their utilities: paying the bill and keeping track of their utility usage.

Design Requirements

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Concept selection

We first rated the 10 concepts individually and then put them together to compare

Concept selection

Then in order to find the best concept more intuitively, we convert the score into radar charts. they are show as below. We decided to combine the top 2 ideas in the end.

Final Story Board

Low-fi to Mid-fi

Style Guide & AI

We created this style guide for design references. The environment backgrounds, monsters, and small icons for the game are generated through Mid-journey AI.

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Final Design

Your Energy Dashboard

Upon logging into the app, users are welcomed by "My Dashboard". This customizable interface allows them to select and arrange various widgets to their preference. This feature offers a personalized and efficient way to monitor and interact with key aspects of their utility usage and in-app activities. (1).gif

Centralized Payment

Joule Energy centralizes bill management, displaying due dates for various utilities like electricity, gas, and water on a single screen. Users benefit from a consolidated payment process with multiple options such as credit/debit cards, PayPal, or online banking.

Smart Usage Tracker

Usage tracking in our app offers users an interactive display of their energy consumption. This feature includes customizable data visualizations for daily to yearly usage, appliance-specific energy tracking, and a comparison with personal usage goals. Users can adjust these goals and view estimated utility costs through interactive sliders. (1).gif

Gamified Reminder for Energy Conservation

This feature allows users to engage with their virtual pet, check scores and gold, and receive important messages. Users can customize their Utility Pet by selecting from various monsters, clothing, and backgrounds using a tab bar. Interactive elements like a mini-game, a daily quiz, a shop for pet accessories, and a friends ranking page add to the experience, making energy conservation both fun and rewarding.
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