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SHOEDealer is a service design project for 008003843 Product Design 1: Design for sustainability at Tsinghua University. This project incorporates the ' redesign your sneakers' notion and incarnates a service design system in digital application.

The whole research and design process aims to sort out the logic of extending the life cycle of our sneakers by using the stockpile of materials in the discarded waste and therefore lower the carbon footprint associated with shoe manufacturing and recycling in the bigger picture.
My Role
Product Designer
UI/UX Designer

Project Type
Service Design
Modular Design
UI/UX Design

Graphic Design
Invidual Project

Winter 2018
(1 month)

Tools Used
Business Analysis
User Interview
User Research
User Flow
Usability Testing
UI Design



Traditional longevity focuses on maximizing material integrity by asking: How long can we make this product last? 

With the advancements in synthetic material, anyone has access to materials that will outlast us all. The problem is, once the user’s lifestyle changes (as it always does) their need for the product ceases. This system leaves us with ‘extremely durable’ piles of rubbish and consumers searching for products that suit their needs.
  • When shoes are overproduced, they become backlogged or are even burnt
  • There is a significant waste of textiles, petroleum, and energy
Production Waste
  • The amount of waste generated during the design process is enormous and will end up in landfills
  • More than a third of the leather used in shoemaking is thrown away
Potential of ‘Mines of the Urban’
  • When a shoe's life cycle ends, the majority of its materials are discarded, burnt, or downcycled into lower-value goods
  • The practice of recovering and utilizing a city's wasted material is known as 'urban mining' which can revitalize the potential of wasted material

My Approach


  • Understanding the background
  • Understanding business potential
  • Defining project goals
  • Expected methods


  • System Map
  • Competitive Analysis
  • User Interview (6)
  • Affinity Mapping


  • Information Architecture
  • Wireframes
  • Low-fi Design
  • High-fi Design


  • Usability Testing
  • Comments
  • Design iterations

Business Potential  

  • In the producing-consuming system, there are primarily two parts that generate extra trash: the surplus of production and the consumer waste
  • Extending the product's life cycle can effectively reduce waste discarded by consumers and thus restructure the upstream industrial chain

Discover the Niche Market

The essential concept of SHOEDealer not only comes from the idea of conducting a circular design making impact but also lies in its business mobility - redesigning sneakers leveraging the overproduction in China is a niche business potential neglected by the big fish go for big market. From my point of view, niches are the perfect way to hide from the big guys. It’s so much better (and more lucrative) to be loved by a small group of people instead of being liked by a lot of people.

Here I sorted out the stakeholder and their internal relations and came out with an initial concept:

SHOEDealer should inherit the essence of the rising sneaker culture and integrate the fashion trend with the kernel of designing for sustainability.

Project Goals

  • Introduce a mechanism to extend the footwear's life cycle
  • Introduce a UGC (User-Generated Content) design system that integrates footwear recycling, manufacturing, and custom sneaker design
  • Digitalize the sneaker design process and make it accessible to everyone
  • Make the whole online-design process more intuitive and user-friendly
Design Research

Three-Step Research Process 

Since this project integrates service and UI/UX design, I decided to divide my research into two phases – a primary research phase where I understood the context of the problem, conducted initial sketches of the stakeholders, took competitive analysis, audited existing solutions, and therefore identify potential areas for improvement.

This was followed by a secondary research phase where we conducted 6 user interviews to understand the user pain points. Then, I synthesized all of this data into an affinity map that helped me build personas, empathy maps, journey maps, and design ideas.


Industry Research
  • Industry System Map
  • Understand the manufacturing and typical redesign process of the equipment


Competitive Analysis
  • Analyze the existing solutions and figure out the blind spot of the current design
  • Reading the feedback online


User Interview
  • Understanding the user journey, user needs, and pain points 

Industry System Map

SHOEDealer system will significantly prolong the life cycle of the shoes. It helps absorb the waste generated upstream from consumers, stockpiles, recycling centers, and the over-production of the factory. By organizing these wasted ' mines of the urban' and redesigning the used shoes with recycled material, the waste that ends up in landfills will be much reduced.​
How does Shoedealer get involved...

Competitive Analysis

In order to better understand what customers think about the existing solutions and what competitors are doing to win customers, I have done the competitor analysis and collected users' feedback by reading product reviews online. The users' feedback and discussions are not only limited to the apps I listed below but also include social platforms, including Instagram, Tumblr, and other independent shoe redesign agencies. This alternative user researching process also paved the way for collecting data and synthesizing the affinity map for concept brainstorming.
Group 3.png
Collecte users' feedback by reading product reviews online

Affinity Mapping

I synthesized the affinity map based on both what the participants said during the in-person interviews and the observations of online comments.
Affinity Mapping.png


Group 3.png


Based on the affinity map and persona, I generated the following insights which will be the guidelines when considering the final application design.

Insight 01

Conduct modular design
Whether the user’s needs change the components of their sneakers on a daily or yearly basis, the modular design adapts to these changes to ensure it continues to stay relevant.

Insight 02

Users need more design guidance
Consumers strongly identify with good design but are confused about how to design it themselves. Therefore, this app needs some basic design templates to build their designs on.
Insight 03
The blurred boundary between fashion and sportswear
Many consumers now expect their shoes to serve multiple purposes and be suitable for different occasions, and are looking for pieces that are both stylish and functional.

Insight 04

Users prefer outsourcing the production process
To my surprise, most interviewers prefer to have someone else take care of the process of creating or producing something for them rather than doing it themselves.
Design Concept


This application will digitalize the sneaker redesign process for the users. The users can check the main functions including discover design, generate design, and publish moments on the main page. SHOEDealer develops the way people view their shoes using modular parts and creates an ongoing relationship between consumers and recycled material suppliers. This app address this by providing the parts of the sole and the upper separately so the consumer can decide how to match them together. This makes available to the consumer adaptability and customization to fit their own needs.


Information Architecture(IA)

Low-fi prototype

I then built a low-fi prototype based on the IA to quickly test general usability and eliminate confusing areas. This design required users to follow a set of instructions for a variety of tasks with little to no assistance. Using the input from the usability test, I then defined the wireframes for the entire app and built various important path scenarios to further examine the app's flow of interaction.




When I first decided to make an application related to sneaker design, I thought it would be hard to design a functional application without a vast knowledge of the manufacturing process, even though I'm a zealous fan of collecting sneakers. So, I researched the assembly and production process of different shoes, analyzed them, and consulted with experts in the field. Through analyzing the advantages and disadvantages of redesigning a sneaker, I found a solution to why users think it is complicated and hard. I thought about how to express the heavy topic and a lot of information engagingly. I drew and illustrated myself to make the UI emotionally appealing. It took much effort to create all the illustrations and icons, but I was able to convey a unified brand experience by providing visuals of a unified tone and mood.


Other Works


Game Concept Design, Futuristic Design, FPS Design

Worked as a full-time artist conducting game character concept design,

skin design, and gameplay gear design for Call of Duty Mobile


Game Concept Design, Futuristic Design, FPS Design

I explored the futuristic dystopia aesthetic in this project by giving a touch of a blend of the East and West that manifests itself through architecture and characters.

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