adopt an iceberg, support polar research

2 black iphones positioned next to each other. Positioned against a lavendar scribbled background.


April 15 - April 16 2023


Claire Goldwitz, Michelle Gelberger, Minjun Chen, Yasmin Akhavan, Rohail Khan


Riley Liu, Grace Zheng

My Roles

UX Researcher, UX Designer


40 hours, 50 competitors.

SPARKS is an annual designathon hosted by Wellesley in Product open to designers of all experience levels. Over 3 days, teams will collaborate to solve a design challenge and build a prototype that addresses a theme set by the hosts.

the challenge

How might we create a product that utilizes spontaneity and moments of delight to promote climate change awareness and engagement, while simultaneously combating symptoms of eco-anxiety?

Eco-anxiety, also known as climate anxiety or ecological grief, is a growing mental health concern that arises from the fear, stress, and anxiety people feel due to the current and potential impacts of climate change on the planet and society.

"Every time I hop on TikTok, it's just a bunch of depressing news about climate change. It feels so overwhelming."

Anonymous Interviewee

the solution

Drifting is a service that allows you to adopt and track an iceberg and receive spontaneous moments of joy to help alleviate eco-anxiety, all while supporting climate efforts.

The core features of this experience can be broken down as follows:


Adopt an Iceberg!

Users are able to discover Drifting's services online, where they can symbolically adopt an iceberg by making a purchase on our website.


Track Your Iceberg

After downloading our application, users are able to track where their adopted iceberg has been and receive spontaneous updates on any animal encounters, aiming to spark joy in their daily life.


Learn About Icebergs

Included throughout our app are educational resources and news articles aiming to educate users on efforts being made in ice research, spreading awareness and also moving away from a catastrophic-news focus.


Drifting won first place in the SPARKS 2023 Designathon.

Check out our full App Demo!

Taking a Closer Look


Interviews and secondary research indicated a need for focusing on the wins and smaller, concrete actions.

Image of interview notes summary documents.


Eco-anxiety has been stated to sometimes be bad enough to take over people's lives, particularly with constant news access.


Interviewee focused on how the issue of climate change often felt too big and overwhelming for their individual contributions to make any difference.


For many, this often gives rise to feelings of apathy because of the constant stream of negative news.

Education alone makes climate change overwhelming. It is important to empower users and focus on bringing a spark of positivity back into their lives.

From here, we created a primary persona based on secondary research and an interview. The Anxious Expert persona is reflective of our findings from this leg of research.

Because we encountered many cases of eco-curious individuals in our research on eco-anxiety, we also felt that they should be considered in our application. A secondary persona was therefore created to account for this unique user group.

We then focused our ideation on a specific subject area in the climate change realm to ensure that we don't overwhelm users with too much information at once. Following some disucussion, we landed on a proposal:

We decided to create an app where users can learn about and track efforts in ice research.

Symbolic adoption included, of course.

final style guide & prototype


In this designathon, my partner and I applied many of the learnings we gathered from our last experience. We made sure to scope our screens and take care that we were not asking for an unreasonable amount of features. We both additionally tested our limits, as the UI we designed for this project used colors which neither of us were familiar with, or comfortable using. I am extremely proud of the final result of this exploration.

Additionally, in honor of the theme of spontaneity, we put a lot of emphasis on throwing ideas on the table and just having fun— and I feel that what we produced captures that spirit.