My role:

UX, research, interaction design, visual design

Background and the problem

Nowadays it has become fashionable to grow plants at home: hipsters add them as part of the interior, vegans try to grow a whole crop at home, even when going furniture shopping in Ikea, we come back with a succulent. It’s affordable for everyone to have plants at home but not everyone can successfully grow them. There are so many kinds and all of them require different care. We need to know their needs and remember watering it. In our busy lives how can we remember taking care of our green friends?  Where can you get the information to make sure your plants get enough and not too much water and sunlight?

The Solution

Planta app is the result of extensive work based on user research and feedback. It is personal plant assistant that helps you keeping houseplants alive and happy.

Thanks to new technology, like wifi sensor, we have the ability to know exactly the measures of soil moisture, temperature, light, water levels and overall condition of the plants. All this data is delivered directly to you via the Planta app on your smartphone so you can act accordingly.

 

Research goals

  • Determine users’ needs and frustrations about plants.

  • Understand what prevents people from growing houseplants.

  • What motivates people growing houseplants.

  • Understand what would have helped them to grow plants.

  • Define people common behaviour when shopping for plants online.

  • Determine what people like and dislike about online shopping experience.

  • Learn about people behaviour while plants are sick.

  • Learn about alarm set up process.

User research

Qualitative research

During the research phase I needed to uncover the needs and frustrations of the target user to better understand what appeals to them. When doing user research I asked open-ended questions to prevent biases from the interviewer and maximum information from the end user. Interview questions generally start with who, what, why, where and when. These questions helped me to have information about personality traits, hobbies of target group.The interviews were conducted with 20 different people. A persona and empathy map were created based on the outcome of users' interview.

The app also allows users to freely express their opinion. Additionally I reviewed several apps, gardening forums' comments sections to understand user needs and frustrations about growing plants.

After completing the interviews I wrote down all of the responses on sticky notes and began to cluster them based on topic.

Affinity Diagrams

 

Results

  • - Difficulty understanding the watering requirements of different plants, general confusion on how to care for plant when it seems to be dying without a clear reason.

  •  Have plants because thinking their house is prettier with the greenery.

  •  48% of people grow herbs.

  •  Have plants in different rooms.

  • Talking to their plants.

  •  Give name to their plants.

  • 40% of people have more than 10 plants at home.

  •  44% of users express their frustrations towards not knowing the different plant species and not knowing how to water them

  • The plants that people have at home usually comes from: a gift, a plant taken from the street or bought in a big store such as Ikea.

  • User knows nothing about their plants or how to care for them.

  •  People choose a plant based on how it looks in the store and then take it home.

  • 20% of people don’t buy plants online because they are worried about the quality.

  •  30% of people shop only online.

  •  Care instructions are provided.

  •  Ability to name and take pictures of plants.

  •  People are busy and forgot to water the plants.

  •  People water plants in the morning.

  •  People water houseplants with glasses not measuring the milliliters.

  •  The rarest watering occurs once a week.

  •  No clear dates of when was the last watering of the plant.

  •  In general when people are having a problem with a plant they are looking for info on Google.

  •  Beginners are not interested in technologies of growing plants at all

  •  People with experience in growing plants are interested in sensors and are ready to pay for it

  •  The non-tech person made emphasis that the set up and use have to be very easy.

  •  90% of people don't know about Luminous intensity.

  •  People forget tasks due to their busy schedule.

  •  They like to keep things organised and plan everything beforehand.

  •  People have the habit to jot down everything to remember it.

  •  They like to repeat certain tasks daily at a particular time.

  •  They want to sort plants' tasks by categories: tasks for today, all tasks.

  •  65% of people would like to have reminders 5 minutes before the tasks.

  •  People don’t have plants usually because they're used to move a lot or because their pets (cats, dogs) attack the plants.

  •  Because they forget to water it.

Conclusions from the users research 

  • Youngest people (19–35) are the ones that have more problems taking care of plants because of the lack of experience.

  • Users need a tool that will remind them to water the plants.

  • They don’t understand the instructions provided by a seller.

  • They have problems identifying the species they have.

  • People want to have plants (to have a prettier house, to feel more connected to nature…).

  • They feel that having a plant is a responsibility taking care of another living being. People feel very helpless and therefore frustrated when the plants get sick or die.

  • Caring for plants can be very difficult.

Competitive Analysis

Age: 40

Job Title: Architect

Location: Lives in Tel aviv with a boyfriend

Status: Free child

Number of plants: about 50

Background:

I am an architect and I really love my job. I spend a lot of time in the office daily.

Recently, we moved to  a new office and I decided to bring nature inside, I mean

create a tropical forest in the office.

Goals:

To have tropical jungle in the office.

Remember to water the plants.

 

Pain point:

It’s annoying to check every day which plants need watering.

Michael has a lot of plants in the office and doesn't remember which of them were

watered.

User doesn't remember all plants' names.

He is afraid that improper care of plants may be a trigger for their disease.

 

Gains :

Use his own names for plants.

Use smart sensor to measure: soil moisture, temperature, light, water levels and
overall condition of the plants.

See lists of plants.
See tasks for today.

Repeats the same tasks automatically.

Get reminders about plants' needs.

Chat to discuss plants diseases and how to deal with them.

User Persona - Michael

User Persona- Libi

Age:36

Job Title: Nurse

Location: Lives in Ramat Hasharon

Status: Married, 2 kids

Number of plants: about 20

Background:

Being a working mom, being constantly busy, have to be on top of things all the time and create reminders for everything.

Goals:

Eat more organic food.

Make herbs shakes every morning.

Remember to water the plants.

 

Pain point:

Have time for nothing.

Libi needs to water the herbs quickly in the morning before the day starts (prior cooking the breakfast for children and taking them to school)

Multitasking, doing many things at once.

She only does online shopping.

 

 

Gains :

Task list .
Easy way to set up reminders

Using the app by one hand

Repeats the same tasks automatically

Online shop

User Persona - Dan

Age: 34

Job Status: Product manager

Vegan

Location: Lives Tel aviv with  a dog

Number of plants: about 10

Background:

Dan starts his day walking a dog, then drinks his cappuccino. 3 time a week he goes to the gym. He arrives to work about 10 o'clock. It is important to follow the deadlines.

Dan likes his apartment a lot and can't stop decorating it, for new ideas he is looking on Pinterest.

Goals:

Vegan

Make green shakes.

Like having beautiful things around.

Remember to water the plants.

Pain point:

Attracted to beauty.

Dan does’t like to look at tasks for the whole month at once, it stresses him out.

Can't stop decorating the apartment.

New in gardening, has not much experience.

Gains :

Daily task list Weekly Task list (for all tasks this week).
Easy way to set up.

Masonry style layout for shopping online.

Online shop.

EMPATHY MAP

An empathy map is created to gain a deeper insight into the targeted users. The process gave

better understanding of the users. Empathy is when placing yourself in other people’s shoes and feel what they

are feeling.

Think & Feel

See

Hear

Say & Do

  • I am afraid I do not water enough.

  • I don’t know their needs and don’t remember
    watering it.

  • I’m not attentive enough to their needs.

  • Plants make my office more cozy.

  • Only cactus survives.

  • There are too many species.

  • I am afraid I water too much

  • Some plants are hard to find.

  • You forgot to water the plants.

  • Add some parsley to the shake.

  • Green wall everywhere.

  • Can you advice me about watering?

  • Where did you buy this plant?

  • Wow your office looks like a tropical jungle.

  • I doing online shopping only.

  • I am afraid I water not enough.

  • Where can i get the information to make sure my plants get enough but not too much water and sunlight?

  • I have no time for it.

  • I forgot to water my plants.

  • I don't have enough light in the apartment.

  • I water the plants every 3 days.

  • The Plants are part of interior design.

  • Not enough sun in the office.

  • Dry leaves.

  • No parking near flower shop.

  • Not enough light.

Pains

Gains

- Watering the plants regularly.
- Understanding the needs of the plants.
- There is no time to shop for new plants and supplies for it.

- There is no knowledge of diseases.

- There is no knowledge about names and species of the plants. 

- Reminders about watering and all other needs.
- Support max information about the plants.
- Possibility to locate the nearest to you shop and a store for online shopping.

- Recognise the plants by uploading a photo or a scan.

- Social network for advices.  

Must

Could

Should

Wount

 

  • List of Tasks 

  • Reminders

  • Repeat tasks automatically

  • Indication of the plant by scan, upload picture and search

  • Online shop

  • List of plants

  • Give names to plants

  • Disease identification

  • Information about the plants

  • Profile

  • Connect to sensor

  • Real time information of the plants

  • Pinterest Grid for ordering the p

  • Date of last watering

  • Voice Identification

  • Repeat tasks automatically

  • Daily tasks, weekly tasks

  • Disease identification

  • Help community/ chat

  • Child account

  • List of plants

  • Give names to plants

  • Disease identification

  • Information about the plants

  • Profile

  • Connect to sensor

  • Date of last watering

  • Interactive map of shops near you

User scenario

Michael is the owner of an interior design studio. He spends many hours in the office daily. 

Recently, he has moved to a new office and decided to bring nature inside to create a tropical forest in the office. After long working day he went to a flower shop to buy tropical palms.

But unfortunately, there were only 2 palms there. At home Michael decided to find out where he can buy the palms he wanted. Typing “shopping for tropical trees in Tel aviv”, he immediately got a lot of options. Adding  “delivery next day”. He got a PLANTA app.

Storyboard

User Flow

Structure

Design

Sketch /Low fidelity Wireframe

 

 

 

High fidelity Wireframe

Prototype

Usability test

After conducting a usability testings with the  prototype, I received many positive feedbacks from users. For the most part, users were able to navigate through the app easily.

 


Background Summary and Methodology
After I made a paper prototype I decided to test it on users. The study attracted 10 people (males and females), plant lovers aged 30-40 years. All of them living in Tel Aviv, working in high tech, love nature. The purpose of the test was to assess the usability of the app interface design, information flow and information architecture. Each individual session lasted approximately 10 minutes. Test scenario was the same for everybody: to set up a reminder for tomorrow to water the plant.

The task was to set a reminder to water Ficus. There are the steps:

  • Open task page

  • Choose plant location at home

  • Choose the plant

  • Choose the plan -watering

  • Choose quantity of water

  • Choose date: 24/03

  • Set up time 12:30

  • Choose alert 5 minute before

  • Repeat the task every Sunday and Tuesday

Test Results

Effectiveness 
100% of participants completed scenario successfully.

Satisfaction results
90% of participants easily completed the task.
10% of participants were neutral to completing the task.

Efficiency
 Average time to set up a reminder 1 minute 30 seconds.

Findings and Recommendations

Users do not use milliliters to measure the watering of the flowers precisely, 90% of users usually use glasses. 

© 2020 by Natasha Kraskin