Project Overview


The Challenge: Create, test, and pitch a new product in 2 weeks

UX tools used: Screener survey, user interviews, affinity mapping, persona & problem statement generation, usability testing, design studio, app map, user flows, user journey map, spec doc, market research, InVision

Process: Double Diamond (Discover, Define, Design, Deliver)

Platform: IOS mobile app

My Role: I was involved in every step of the process (the interviews, the design, the usability testing etc.), with three other UX students Mendy Goorevich, Nicole Song, and Joyce Lue


Hypothesis: Taking care of plants can be hard especially if you don’t have a green thumb. Most people have good intentions when bringing home a new plant, but inexperience and lack of knowledge often get in the way. 

Solution: We researched the problem space of taking care of houseplants. We found people love houseplants but end up killing them due to improper care. Those who did not kill their plants developed a relationship with their plants, becoming "plant parents." Our app helps novice houseplant owners become "plant parents" through a beautiful interface that offers care instructions, logging care, problem diagnosis, and friendly encouragement to celebrate the plants' lives. 

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Research & Synthesis

Screener Survey and Interviews

Before diving into designing, we wanted to make sure we were designing the right thing. We made a screener survey to find people to interview who both had owned plants in the past year and used a smart phone. From the twenty-eight people who took the survey, we interviewed seven. 


Research Insights

  • People choose plants depending on appearance and prefer ones with low maintenance
  • People want to know more about a plant when purchasing
  • 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.
  • People don't really use reminders on their phone.
  • People go online and use other people as resources, as well as their mistakes to gain knowledge of plant
  • People have an emotional connection with their plants
“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.”

Affinity Mapping the Data

From our discussion with people who had owned plants and used smartphones, we gathered insights and data related to the plant care and the app we were thinking about building. 

Using "Realtime Board" we synthesized our research findings using an Affinity Map with a section of that shown below. 


Here is a detailed view of our affinity map


Persona Creation

We took the qualitative data from the interviews and turned it into a tangible persona, twenty-seven-year-old Laura. Her goals, needs, behaviors, and habits reflect our research interview findings. 


Journey Map

Creating a journey map helped to think deeply about the potential user and their pain points over a period of time.


Competitive Analysis

Our idea was not unique. We went to the app store and found other apps that included some of the features and functions we wanted to use. "Gardenia" and "SmartPlant" are examples of apps we investigated.

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Other Apps 

  • Plant Nanny

  • Grow It!

  • Lazy Gardener

  • Garden Compass

  • Water me


Our Unique Angle

One thing our research unexpectedly uncovered was that people who had achieved a certain level of success with their plants felt an emotional connection to their plants. The quote from Jason gave us this insight. Other apps were trying to solve the same problems we were trying to solve, such as provide reminders for plant care, and advice on how to care, but we wanted our app to go beyond telling them how and when to care for their plants. We wanted to help plant owners build this emotional connection with their along the way, so that they would have the motivation to keep their plant alive. 

“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.”


Design, Test, Iterate

After several rounds of "Design Studio" where we all sketched our ideas then explained and critiqued them, we created an InVision prototype and conducted two rounds of usability testing. 


Design Studio Sketches

We did three rounds of design studio. We drew designs, presented them to each other, and came up with a unified design.


Usability Testing


  • 11 participants

  • 2 rounds

  • 3 design iterations

  • 3 Tasks


Task & Scenario Examples 

  • Scenario 1: You were in Home-depot and saw a cute houseplant. You bought it and when you got home, you noticed there is no name tag on the pot.
  • Task 1: You already have an account with this app. Figure out what it is and add it to your garden.
  • Scenario 2: You got a google calendar reminder to water your plant.
  • Task 2: Mark that it is completed in the app.
“The pop-up thing was delightful to see. It gave me a feeling of accomplishment and makes me feel like a good plant mom.”
— Erin, Usability Test Participant

Design Iterations

Example 1: Evolution of the Tab Bar

Our design went through many changes based on usability testing, but some of the easiest to track are the changes we made to the tab bar. The bottom is the original design but we took note the confusion our users were facing, like the user who said, “I assumed that Add Plant (not shown) and Identify Plant are for when you already have a plant in front of you. Both of these options make me confused," and made changes. The top bar is the final design.


Example 2: Reorganizing Access to a Feature

Though it may seem like the emotional connection component of the app was a center-point of our design from the beginning, it actually began as an afterthought. 

In our original design, the timeline feature was hidden in an ellipsis in the upper right-hand corner.

After testing and feedback we decided to make the Timeline a more prominent feature. We gave it its own tab, multiple points of access, and a prompt to encourage adding to the timeline. 


Timeline feature Hidden

design iterations example.png


Timeline feature in final design

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The Result

  • Hi-fidelity wireframes
  • Functioning InVision prototype
  • Research and Spec Docs
  • Happy Usability Test Participants

Overview of Hi-fi Wireframes


Clickable Prototype

Try it out!