Gardening is a hobby many people enjoy for its relaxing and rewarding benefits, but for others maintaining a thriving garden isn’t as easy as it looks. The challenge was to create a product to help people succeed in maintaining a happy, healthy garden.
Research & Discovery
To better understand the problem I interviewed users of all ages to learn how people currently approach gardening. Do they plan ahead or do they take a chance? Do they keep a log or just hope for the best? I also wanted to learn what frustrations they run into and how they stay motivated once the novelty has worn off.
What I learned:
Other key takeaways:
- People don’t know as much about plants as they think they do
- People underestimate how much time and attention a successful garden takes. They expect it to be easy and become overwhelmed and/or discouraged when they realize it takes more work than they assumed
- Life gets busy and simple tasks such as watering, pruning, and fertilizing are easily forgotten
- The individual needs of each plant are often overlooked or simply ignored
- The most successful gardeners were those aged 60+ who attributed their success to “many years of practice”. They were also the ones who had the most time to spend in their garden
- The least successful gardeners were millennials who described busy lifestyles and expressed being burned out with “trying to juggle it all”
Based on the research found in the discovery period the persona, Janelle, was developed. Designing with Janelle in mind helped in making informed design decisions.
After I established my user goals I wanted to know what other garden tracking tools are available and how they address key features like planning, tracking, and reminding.
Here’s what I found:
- Many apps provide a wealth of information, but provide few options for users to filter it for their own needs
- Several apps offer reminders, however users are responsible for scheduling them, which means "I need a reminder to set my reminders!"
- Navigation was an issue with a few of these competitors
- Some apps came with a pretty hefty price tag
After analyzing the competition and considering Janelle’s potential gardening journey, I was able to narrow down the key features for Garden Pal. I developed a site map and user flow diagrams to lay out potential user paths within the app. I also conducted a card sort to inform the taxonomy of the plant catalog.
Low Fidelity Sketches
I began designing with low fidelity sketches that evolved into wireframes. Both of these stages involved multiple rounds of iteration and testing that allowed me to define user flows, navigation, and interactions.
- Simplify the design by converting the “dashboard screen” into a navigation bar
- It’s unnecessary to include the forecast bar on every screen. It takes up valuable screen real estate
- Add a tag bar to the plant catalog so users know what filters have been applied
- Explore an option to save plants without adding them to the main garden screen
High Fidelity Prototypes
GardenPal is an ongoing project. Key features and UI elements are still being designed and tested. I’m also working on custom illustrations to improve the visual design. But until the next iteration, Happy Gardening!