"If you love it, you won’t kill it."
iOS Native App
UX designer/ Scrum Master
People have and care plants
Help people take care of plants and build attachment
People love plants. However, not all of them can do a great job of taking care of their plants. They can be too busy with their lives. They don't have the resource to find out the problem is. Or they just think taking care of the plants is a burden.
In order to help them, I reinforced the bond between users and the plants by giving the plant a name, encouraging editing plant timeline, and providing delightful overlays to help users to grow while their plants are growing.
I also give users easier access to the plant database including common plant issues, identifying plants using the camera, and filtering plants based on your needs.
Step 1: User Interviews & Synthesizing data
I started with a screener survey asking about people's thoughts on plants, whether or not they have and care about plants. I also asked them to identify their level of experience with plants so that I will be able to interview people with different knowledge levels with plants in depth.
Total I received 28 responses. 5 people think they are experts, 14 people think they are intermediate, and 8 people define themselves as absolute beginners.
From the 28 responses, I selected 7 people with different levels of experience to get a better understanding of their opinion on plants. During the interview, we asked them about their behaviors, difficulties, and needs.
After gathering insights from our interviewees, I conducted "Affinity Mapping," where I put all the insights on a board and try to find trends.
For example, several interviewees mentioned they need quick access to diagnose plant problems.
1. People choose plants depending on appearance and prefer ones with low maintenance.
2. People want to know more about a plant when purchasing.
3. They want to know how much to water/ how often, what kind of light it needs/ how much, how big the plant is going to get, how resilient are they, do they thrive in humid or dry weather.
4. People don’t really use reminders on their phones.
5. People are not interested in plant-sitter.
6. People go online and use other people as resources, as well as their mistakes to gain knowledge about planting.
7. Home-depot owns a big market in terms of house-planting.
8. People leave notes for friends to take care of their plants.
9. People have an emotional connection with their plants.
Insights from the interviews
I also conducted a competitor analysis that we looked at several competitors and tried to evaluate if they did well on several features.
The two major competitors I drilled down more are called "Gardenia" and "SmartPlant."
"Gardenia" has great information about plants but it lacks problem diagnoses and educational tips. "SmartPlant" does a great job on plant identification and plant diary but it is not able to recommend plants based on needs.
Step 2: Defining the problem
People are forgetful and need reminders to tend to their plants.
People lack the knowledge and experience in caring for plants.
For many, plant care can become a chore, instead of something enjoyable.
Laura is a 27-year-old, California native, now living in NYC, who works as a digital marketer for a small midtown firm. In her free time, she enjoys working out, concerts, traveling and dining with friends. She has a cat, and she shares her apartment with her roommate. She has owned a few plants over the years and has had varying success keeping them alive. She currently has four plants and is worried her record for maintaining living plants will continue to be her reality.
Keep her plants alive
Make her home beautiful with plants
Avoid spending money replacing dead plants
27 years old
Lives in NYC
Behaviors & Habits
Laura enjoys beautiful things, design, and symmetry. She makes a point of traveling at least once a year when she can get out of work. She is an extremely motivated, hard worker who is constantly taking initiative in her job. She uses her phone for everything, but often ignores reminders. She likes downloading cool new apps, and her favorite apps are Instagram and Spotify.
Clear and easy-to-access information on plant care
Reminders to tend to her plants
Simple plant care instructions
Step 4: Usability Tests & Iterating
Step 3: Wireframing
After comparing with other competitors and synthesizing data from user interviews, I came up with a few features. There is no way to build everything and it is not good for users to be overwhelmed with all the features. It is important to know what features should take up more time and be built first.
I used a method to prioritize features, called "MoSCoW" method. We listed all the features discussed during the last phase and divided them into "Must-Have," "Should-Have," "Could-Have" and "Won't-Have." Besides that, we also located features in the coordinate graph. On the x-axis, we had "High Effort" and "Low Effort," on the y-axis, we had "High Need" and "Low Need."
After the "MoSCoW" method, we marked those the features falling into "Must Have" and "Should Have," as well as those are "High Need" and "Low Effort" as priorities.
Everyone on the team has his or her own idea. We ran design studios so that everyone can be on the same page and work towards one solution.
Each round of studio, everyone had two minutes to draw out the screen. When done, everyone had three minutes to present the idea and get feedback from the rest of the team. After the team discussed what we liked and what we needed to improve and came up with one solution the team agreed upon.
The next step is building a mid-fidelity wireframe.
A mid-fidelity wireframe was to focus on the flow and functionality of the app. In this iteration, I have built the flows of adding a plan, watering the plant, and finding plants based on needs.
In order to make sure the flows were working, I needed to test them with users.
Step 4: Usability Tests & Iterating
I had created a few scenarios and tasks for users to complete, not to test the users but to test the app. I asked the user to think out loud and tell us what they expect they would see after doing actions. I also asked them to rate easiness of the tasks.
Based on the feedback, I iterated the prototype.
Key Screen - My Garden
1. I removed the universal notification section, and added an individual check-off box on the cards,
2. The tab bar evolved from "Home," "Discover," "Identify," and "Settings" to "My Garden," "Diagnose," "Timeline," and "Plant Database."
3. The "Add a Plant" button was moved to the top so that users don't have to scroll through too many plants to access this feature.
4. The background image will change based on how well the users take care of their plants.
Key Screen - Plant Detail Page
1. The "Plant Timeline" was presented on the top level in the final iteration because building the timeline can also help users to build their bond with the plants.
2. Easy check-off boxes below the hero images.
3. Simple instructions illustrating plant needs.
4. Access to plant data and diagnosing issues from the plant detail page.
Key Screen - Find a Plant
1. Group three ways of finding a plant together on top of the screen.
2. Add "plus button" next to the popular plants to let the users adding plants easier.
Usability Test Results
As the graph shows, the difficulty level has dropped a lot from the initial prototype to the final prototype due to the 11 interviewees ' feedback.
Step 5: Final Thoughts
What do users say?
“The overlay notification about having my plant alive for a month was delightful to see. It gave me a feeling of accomplishment and makes me feel like a good plant mom.”
“There is a weird relationship between you and your plants, seeing them grow from a seed to a plant. They don’t talk to you but you can feel it.”
“It’s really depressing when I kill a plant. What if I have a pet or something else that relies on me to keep them alive? I’m afraid I will forget and kill them too.”
People actually do feel attached t to their plants
Notifications alone don’t work for people
Plant owners feel bad and want a better solution
The need for a new product
I did a great job validating the hypothesis that people feel an attachment to their plants and designed a few solutions to strengthen the bond so that taking care of plants is no longer a burden. If I did have more time, I would love to dig deeper and find more ways to reinforce the bond.