image by Jake Weirick

image by Jake Weirick

A micro case study evaluating the UI & UX
of Nike's
sustainability pledge.

A micro case study evaluating the UI & UX
of Nike's
sustainability pledge.

A micro case study evaluating the UI & UX
of Nike's
sustainability pledge.

Overview

The "What"

Issue Identification

Issue Identification

An evaluation of the UI/UX of Nike's sustainability pledge, in the context of its responsive web application.

An evaluation of the UI/UX of Nike's sustainability pledge, in the context of its responsive web application.

The "How"

Methodology

Methodology

BACKGROUND RESEARCH

Secondary user research. Competitor analysis.


UI/UX AUDIT (AI-ASSISTED)

ChatGPT landing page image analysis.


RECOMMENDATIONS

Suggested application of findings.

BACKGROUND RESEARCH: Secondary user research. Competitor analysis.

UI/UX EVALUATION: User psychology. Heuristics (navigation/layout). Prototype.

RECOMMENDATIONS: Suggested application of findings.

BACKGROUND RESEARCH: Secondary user research. Competitor analysis.

UI/UX EVALUATION: User psychology. Heuristics (navigation/layout). Prototype.

RECOMMENDATIONS: Suggested application of findings.

The "Why"

Objective

The global fashion industry has a tremendous environmental impact. According to the World Economic Forum, the fashion industry and its associated supply chain is the 3rd largest global polluter. It accounts for 10% of global carbon emissions. Much of these impacts are attributed to "fast fashion" trends, which prioritize product volume over quality. But, where problems exist, so do opportunities. Enter Nike, Inc. As of 2022, Nike is the most valuable fashion brand in the world and has developed a bona fide sustainability program aimed at significantly reducing its carbon footprint. But, as shown in this micro case study, these efforts are not particularly transparent in the company's online experience. If the casual user is also the "typical" user, then an opportunity to increase engagement through more sustainability-oriented design could be the way to go.

The global fashion industry has a tremendous environmental impact. According to the World Economic Forum, the fashion industry and its associated supply chain is the 3rd largest global polluter. It accounts for 10% of global carbon emissions. Much of these impacts are attributed to "fast fashion" trends, which prioritize product volume over quality. But, where problems exist, so do opportunities.


Enter Nike, Inc. As of 2022, Nike is the most valuable fashion brand in the world and has developed a bona fide sustainability program aimed at significantly reducing its carbon footprint. But, as shown in this micro case study, these efforts are not particularly transparent in the company's online experience. If the casual user is also the "typical" user, then an opportunity to increase engagement through more sustainability-oriented design could be the way to go.

Disclaimer

This exercise is not intended as criticism... and even less so, an environmental excoriation. Rather, it is purely evaluative. The purpose is to present a (hopefully) compelling business opportunity through the lenses of UI/UX design. I assume Nike has extensive, proprietary consumer insight data supporting specific reasons for how they design their online experience. This micro case study simply offers an alternative approach for further consideration, based on preliminary research.

This exercise is not intended as criticism... and even less so, an environmental excoriation. Rather, it is purely evaluative. The purpose is to present a (hopefully) compelling business opportunity through the lenses of UI/UX design. I assume Nike has extensive, proprietary consumer insight data supporting specific reasons for how they design their online experience. This micro case study simply offers an alternative approach for further consideration, based on preliminary research.

Background Research

Background Research

Secondary User Research
This micro case study is intentionally brief. Yet, it still strives to deliver an effective design proposition. In this context, for the purposes of time, I focused on secondary sources for design research.

I sought qualitative and quantitative data about:

1) Macro fashion environmental impacts to establish general context.
2) Consumer attitudes towards such impacts to validate the degree to which the issue I identified has potential value.
3) Nike's general business and environmental approach to understand opportunities and constraints in this evaluation.

Established studies (McKinsey, et al) uncover market and user insights that could potentially shed light on UX and UI-based solutions to the issue of online transparency regarding sustainability at Nike.

Understanding Nike's Sustainability Program
As the most valuable fashion brand in the world, Nike's outsize global influence lends incredible dual-edged potential for creating both environmental impacts as well as solutions. In Nike's case, they've dedicated substantial online space to documenting their sustainability efforts - once this link is located in the bottom navigation bar.

Notwithstanding this issue, upon reaching their Sustainability page, engaging UI and UX does greet the user, including clear top bar navigation to explore a series of relevant topics, crisp videos and animations, and generally cohesive grid layout with distinct sections and feature cards.

Sample content follows below, to give a sense of the depth, range, and creativity of the company's sustainability initiatives.

Research Insights
After reviewing Nike's own sustainability publications, as well as business and consumer analysis from established studies (Deloitte, McKinsey, et al), I highlighted key market and user insights to shed light on potential solutions to enhance online UI and UX regarding sustainability at Nike.

#3

#3

Lack of information is the 3rd-most cited reason* by consumers for not adopting - or delaying - more sustainable lifestyle choices.


What this means
Consumers don't know what they don't know. There may be a large existing (and prospective) customer population craving sustainable options, but aren't sure how to find them.

Drawing more attention to Nike's sustainability efforts earlier in the user flow could lead to greater engagement with sustainable products, create a positive feedback loop through more responsible consumerism, and a stronger "triple bottom line" of "profit, people, planet".

Design concept
Feature sustainability efforts more prominently in the online interface.

*of 21 categories


Source: Deloitte consumer survey

67%

67%

The percentage of consumers who factor the use of sustainable materials in purchasing decisions.


What this means
Not just a majority - but a supermajority - of customers care about what their products are made of.

Design concept
Highlight sustainability data when users interact with online product, such as sustainable material composition, carbon/life cycle impact, etc.














Source: McKinsey consumer survey

68%

68%

The 2023 revenue share of footwear for Nike.*

What this means
Footwear can be the driving product segment to accomplish a demonstrable shift in companywide carbon impact reduction.

Design concept
Showcase sustainable footwear options.








*vs. 28% for apparel & 4% for equipment


Source: Statista

+40%

+40%

Between 2015 - 2020, this is how much Nike increased use of sustainable materials in their apparel.

What this means
By any measure, this is a remarkable upward trend for a category that accounts for nearly 1/3rd of company business.

Design concept
This is proof of concept for value creation, so the design strategy herewith would be to emphasize the sustainable products to an even greater degree in order to help meet company-wide sustainability targets.



*vs. -2% for footwear (see below, left)


Source: Statista

-2%

-2%

On the other hand, during the same period between 2015 - 2020, this is how much sustainable materials decreased across the Nike footwear catalog.

What this means
Reinforcing the value and impact of Nike's primary business (namely: footwear) this approximates to a significant drag on the +40% sustainability progress within the apparel lineup.

In fact, this results in overall adjusted net decrease of 1.9% in total use of sustainable materials since 2015.


Design concept
Shift consumer behavior by showcasing sustainable footwear options while also marketing performance and value comparable to more traditionally-manufactured items.



Source: Statista

Competitor Analysis
With a better understanding of Nike's sustainability program alongside key, relevant business metrics, I sought comparative examples to better understand the industry landscape when it comes to sustainability practices. For this task, I enlisted Google Bard AI to help identify qualified competitors and conduct this analysis.

Bard identified five (5) direct competitors with emphasis on sustainability practices. I added one, Allbirds, based on their global reputation for quality footwear with a commitment to sustainability from the start. Nike is also included as the 7th company in this analysis for comparative purposes.

Competitor Analysis
With a better understanding of Nike's sustainability program alongside key, relevant business metrics, I sought comparative examples to better understand the industry landscape when it comes to sustainability practices. For this task, I enlisted Google Bard AI to help identify qualified competitors and conduct this analysis.

Bard identified five (5) direct competitors with emphasis on sustainability practices. I added one, Allbirds, based on their global reputation for quality footwear with a commitment to sustainability from the start. Nike is also included as the 7th company in this analysis for comparative purposes.

Image by Patrik László. Unsplash.

Image by Patrik László. Unsplash.

Image by Patrik László. Unsplash.

Adidas

Considered by many to be Nike's chief rival.

Image by gibblesmash asdf. Unsplash.

Image by gibblesmash asdf. Unsplash.

Image by gibblesmash asdf. Unsplash.

Allbirds

Relative industry newcomer committed to sustainable practices from Day One.

Image by Ervan M Wirawan. Unsplash.

Image by Ervan M Wirawan. Unsplash.

Image by Ervan M Wirawan. Unsplash.

New Balance

117-year old brand was a major catalyst for the U.S. "running craze" in the 1970s.

Image by Paul Steuber. Unsplash.

Image by Paul Steuber. Unsplash.

Image by Paul Steuber. Unsplash.

Nike

The one and only.

Image by the DK Photography. Unsplash.

Image by the DK Photography. Unsplash.

Image by the DK Photography. Unsplash.

Puma

The 3rd-largest global sportwear brand (after Nike and Adidas).

Image by Henry & Co. Unsplash.

Image by Henry & Co. Unsplash.

Image by Henry & Co. Unsplash.

Under Amour

Material engineering pioneer for athletic apparel (and now, footwear).

Image by Brock Wegner. Unsplash.

Image by Brock Wegner. Unsplash.

Image by Brock Wegner. Unsplash.

VF Corporation

Portfolio includes legendary brands like Vans, The North- Face, and Timberland.

Image by Blocks Fletcher. Unsplash.

Image by Blocks Fletcher. Unsplash.

Results

View the outcome of
AI analysis.

Insights
Each industry competitor has stated significant goals and methods to lessen their environmental impact with more sustainable operations. To that end, each competitor in this analysis has also chosen to pursue different targets that rely on differing metrics - although some do overlap with one another.

On balance, it is concluded that the company (or companies) that can fulfill their environmental goals to the greatest degree possible will arguably gain market advantage as a bona fide industry leader in sustainable practices.

Insights from Competitor Analysis
Each industry competitor has stated significant goals and methods to lessen their environmental impact with more sustainable operations. To that end, each competitor in this analysis has also chosen to pursue different targets that rely on differing metrics - although some do overlap with one another.

On balance, it is concluded that the company (or companies) that can fulfill their environmental goals to the greatest degree possible will arguably gain market advantage as a bona fide industry leader in sustainable practices.

A Very Brief UX/UI Audit

A Very Brief UX/UI Audit

With Assistance from ChatGPT

Accelerated analysis for micro case study application.

Next Steps
To expand this micro case study into a fuller case study:

Build responsive wireframes

Replicate Nike.com screens using a plugin like HTML to Figma to show how recommended UX and UI updates could be implemented.

Create prototypes

Prototyping would provide an opportunity to view the difference with more accessibility to sustainability-related features and functions, in a dynamic way.

thank you for reading.