Higg index
Educating users on sustainability materials
While there is labelling for "organic" materials, meaning something was manufactured using natural material, there is little consistency in using "sustainable" label. An item can be using natural cotton, but produce way too much C02 during its manufacturing, and thus be not sustainable.
Higg Index system aims to highlight how sustainable the material is. By their advanced sustainability calculators, measuring water usage, chemical release, work safety, and more, Higg Index can show how sustainable a certain item is. However, the data is complex and need lots of time to understand. Thus a need arose to simplify the visualisation of this data, so that fashion brands can easily incorporate it in their e-commerce.
This design is collaboration of three design teams: from PVH, from Zalando, and from H&M group The goal was to come up with a flexible yet unified way of labelling items on Higg sustainability scale. 
Brand: PVH Europe, Zalando, H&M Group
Team: Sustainability initiative
When: January 2021
Pre story
Higg Index team is responsible for collecting data and analysing sustainability metrics of (fashion) fabrics, such as use of water usage, C02 missions, work environment safety, etc.  Their tables are advanced and very detailed, which is great for academic research. However such high level of detail makes it very difficult for end-consumers of fashion products to understand this data and how it applies to the fashion item.
The goal of this initiative was to create a simple yet flexible Higg Index labelling system for fashion brands to present on their e-com websites. The UI elements should be easily scannable; but details should be available for those looking for specific numbers.
Brief & alignment between teams
The project was initiated by Higg Index (Apparel coalition) together with Zalando. After initial rounds of discussion it was clear that whatever will be designed must be aligned with other brands, and thus PVH and H&H Group were involved.
The format of the work was done in a studio review, where after alinement session designers worked on designers and presented it for feedback. There were three cycles of design review. The timeframe: 2 weeks. The focus of this sessions are PLP and PDP. The market were fashion brands sold in EU (those that must comply with EU regulations).
As a kickoff, feasible success criteria were decided and agreed upon. These criteria, together with the research done by the UX team, were the northern star of the project.
As with any new project, research was done regarding the topics of what was already done and what our users are expecting. We looked into an available sustainability-related content presented by other brands like Patagonia, who's famous for their sustainability initiatives, and Arket, who's very transparent about their fibre data.
This gave us a better understanding on how data can be presented and inspired us to explore more in direction of what we later called "data levels": having different amount of information available at different times. Simple concept, yet highly applicable to our case.
First designs, discussion & feedback
As there were so many parties were involved in feedback process, we limited the feedback process to about 30min. open discussion, dot voting, and sticker commenting. This enabled us to listen to the way participants thing about given UI elements, and but also to highlight areas where we need to improve.
Iterations & Final designs
In total we did three feedback iterations. The number of iterations was determined by the timeframe given (2 weeks), but also because of the consensus that we need user feedback before we can move further. Further design screens will present the Higg Index label together with various data levels.
Level 0 - Labelling on PLP
Product listing page is the first place where user would encounter the Higg Index label. Here we show minimum amount of data. We want user to be aware that certain items are sustainable - or more sustainable - then others. At the same time we don't want to overload our user with data and want to let them browse the catalogue without being distracted.
For those who strive to shop for only top sustainable items (category best), side filter menu is available.
Level 1 & 2 - Labelling and explanation on PDP
The main place for Higg Index data is the product detail page. 
There are two data levels here: 
1. High level label. Indication that the item is sustainable and belongs to a certain sustainability category

2. Product details. Specific numbers to that item and comparison of those numbers with conventional fabric standards.
The split is important as not all users are interested in very specific details. For some just the knowledge that the item is considered sustainable is enough.
You can see that in the 2nd level there are dropdown icons. Initially we intended to show even more information there, for instance how we calculated C02 and where this data is coming from. However as of today we know that not that many users are interested in such detail.
 Without ignoring the users who do want to know these numbers, but at the same time respecting the attention span of everyone else, we designed a separate page ("Learn more" link) where brand can explain how they are collecting their data and how all the calculations are conducted.
Level 3 - Basket summary
At the very end of their browsing journey, users can see how sustainable their basket is. The calculator combines the numbers of all the items in the basket and gives an average of the label and of other e-com shoppers.
This elements increases the awareness of the user about the eco footprint they leave with their purchase, encouraging them to shop for more ecologically friendly articles.
As of this moment, all three brands are involved in testing. Zalando and Tommy Hilfiger have two items with various labelings running for a season. The goal of the test is to see how much Higg sustainability label would influence the purchase decision. Will users prefer an item that is more sustainable, or would it not matter at the end?
Next steps
Based on initial tests it is expected that design improvements will be needed. The next followup session is being planned. After designs are implemented and tested again, they are expected to be presented to EU commission, so that by 2022 the suggested visual representation of the Higg sustainability labelling can become a standard for EU fashion market.

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