An app that identifies plants and reminds you to water, feed, and repot your plants.
Amateur plant owners have a hard time figuring out how to be better plant parents. Sometimes, they can’t figure out what type of plant they have and what kind of care it needs. Other times, they have a hard time monitoring their plant’s health and adjusting care routines as the plant grows or gets sick.
This product helps plant owners make sure that their plants are always getting the right amount of water, nutrients, and space to stay healthy.
To validate the hypothesis that amateur plant owners needed more help with plant care, we conducted user research. To gain a better understanding of our target user, we found plant owners for one-on-one semi-structured interviews. We drafted a set of initial interview questions to ask all of the participants, and asked follow-up questions based on their response. To identify the pain points specific to plant care we analyzed the exploratory interviews including everyday activities, desires, beliefs, and goals of our average user. We illustrated this information in the next step of our process: personas.
After conducting interviews, the design team came together to synthesize our findings. We illustrated two personas that each represent a key target demographic. Our first persona, Derik, is from a younger and digitally native generation. His main problem is identifying plants to figure out the proper care methods. On the other hand, Mary is from an older generation and still has troubles utilizing her smartphone to improve her daily life. Her main problem with plants is keeping track of all of them and remembering when to water each one. Both Derik and Mary have one important thing in common: their love for plants.
Initially, we did not include scenarios in our drafts of personas because we thought it was redundant information. However, from our feedback we found that scenarios are necessary to fully articulate each user persona and bring them to life. In addition, we decided to make use of a grid-layout for organizational purposes and makes it easier for the viewer to read. These personas are constantly referenced throughout the design process and serve as a guideline for who we are designing for.
User Journey Map
Next, we took a more detailed look into the stories and experiences we heard about from our interviews. Using the persona of Derik, we created a user journey map of his current plant care process. It begins when his friends gifts him a plant, and ends when the plant ultimately dies. Within this journey map, we develop a scenario that visually highlights Derik's actions, touchpoints, thoughts, and feelings. Derik's journey map allows us to evaluate each moment of his plant care process, which we can later use to improve our designs.
Information Architecture (IA) Sitemap
Next, the team had to decide what information our solution had to contain in order to sufficiently address the problems involved with plant care. To do this, the team analyzed each design requirement for key data (e.g. soil moisture, nutrition) and functions (e.g. watering, feeding). We applied a variety of organizational structures, and compared different information architectures on their simplicity, intuitiveness to peers, and capacity to help plant owners fulfill their tasks. The following information architecture diagram served as the foundation for the rest of our project, implemented with prototypes of varying fidelity.
The paper prototypes allowed rapid itteration through different features and interactions. The focus was on refining the core features that facilitated key functions like plant identification, reminder settings, plant information pages, and community boards. These low fidelity prototypes helped us quickly and efficiently converge on the most functional and efficient design that we could focus on layout and aesthetics in future higher fidelity prototypes.
The wireframe prototype was a higher fidelity prototype than our paper screens, but they were a step down from the final polished mockups. It allowed each designer to think about how to budget our screen space so that we could strike the best balance between images, text, UI elements, and whitespace. We enhanced readability by experimenting with type treatment and text hierarchy. Because our app is meant to condense complicated plant information into a digestible, non-stress-inducing format, this aspect was especially critical. Finally, we searched for the best icons and assets to create affordances for our key functions. We took inspiration from plant care books, common idioms in mobile apps, and suggestions from peers.
In the final few iterations, I focused on polishing the app’s style. This time, special attention was paid to qualities beyond pure functionality. Color palettes, image treatments, and drop shadows, and logos were created to present a unified aesthetic. The intent was to strike a balance between a minimal aesthetic, most appropriate for Derek's persona, and a warm, welcoming aesthetic that would appeal to our Mary's persona.
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I'm actively seeking opportunities in Visual, Graphic, and UI Design. If you are interested in my work, I would love to chat over tea in Seattle—or given the circumstances—videochat!