Verdigreen is an augmented reality eCommerce mobile app designed specifically for indoor plant parents.
“This is my dream kitchen right here." - Participant testing Verdigreen AR
How might we advise users to visualize and design their living spaces while helping plant parents feel confident in their tending and care of indoor plants?
Verdigreen should enable users to select indoor plants from a catalogue and virtually curate their homes through a smartphone or tablet application. After visualizing plants in AR, users should have the capability to purchase and learn how to tend to their plants utilizing the Verdigreen app.
From research and ideation to UI and implementation, I designed Verdigreen to allow users to view a catalogue of indoor plants and place them in their homes via augmented reality. I also designed Verdigreen to optimize plant growth stages, sunlight expectations, and seasonal suggestions based on the user’s geographic location. The application was designed holistically, with branding, logo exploration and development, and marketing concerns met during the process.
Role: UX/UI Designer
Tools: Sketch, Marvel, InVision, Whimsical, Zeplin
Timeline: 3 weeks (April 2019)
🔬 Research & Synthesis
🏗️ Architecture & UX Design
🎨 Branding & UI Design
💻 Prototyping & Testing
Verdigreen began with ideation, market research, and competitive analysis.
I drafted two research proposals inclusive of the need for both secondary and primary research. My professional experience of organizing battle cards, analyzing market positioning, and evaluating SWOT and competitor analysis helped form the foundation of the secondary research. In-depth in-person interviews and observational inquiry led a pathway through my primary research.
Research Goal: To develop an understanding of the indoor plant market, discover the target audience, identify the target demographic’s behaviour and journey when using plant-tending applications, and, finally, understand the successes and failures of competitor applications.
Key Finding: Overall, there is considerable potential in the AR indoor plant conceptualization market within the sphere of eCommerce. Although, maybe the right questions haven’t been asked and not enough problems solved thus far within this growing market.
I conducted interviews with participants about their experience with gardening, indoor plants and plant care. All participants were between the ages of 25 and 30 and had experience with plant-tending and purchasing.
You don’t really know what you’re getting into when you’re buying a plant.” - Participant from New York City
“Shopping in person can be overwhelming and really time consuming. I need a centralized app that has a catalog of all the plants at home and automates and alerts me when I need to care for them. I don’t want to think about it, but I don’t want them to die. - Participant from San Francisco
“If it meets the requirements for the exact space I’m looking for on the label I’ll buy it. Houseplants are more about design.” - Participant from Denver
Notable trends with the interviewees were:
- Matching plant options to pre-existing aesthetic and interior design style
- Minimal and clean interior design aesthetics with indoor plants as accents
- Finding plant hobby personal and casual, and not needing to share socially
- Favouring smaller plants like succulents and cacti for ease of care and cognitive load
- Centralized hub and catalogue with automated alerts for plant care
- Plants to dimensionally and aesthetically fit perfectly in a given living space
- Ability to order plants online after visually assessing the right fit
- Not having an information hub for basic information on plants
- Having to “hope for the best” or “learn by failure” when it comes to plant care
- Shopping in person is overwhelming and doesn’t focus on pre-existing style and aesthetic
- An indoor living space that is accented aesthetically by indoor plants
- Plant care and scheduling automation with regards to “learning as you go”
- Feel confident and knowledgeable about purchases and plant care
After analyzing the data, I synthesized the findings into manageable reference points, beginning with an empathy map. Created from interviews, secondary research and observational analysis, the empathy map helped contextualize future users' encounters with Verdigreen.
User Persona & Story
Contextualizing the target audience's brushes with plant tending and how a potential technology could meet their needs and goals allows me to mould a palpable representational persona. Formed strictly from my research and interview quotes, I synthesized a user persona applying reference tools like Claritas Prizm, Myers-Briggs, and the ever esteemed Harry Pawtah.
I also created a storyboard, quite similar ones to ones for ads I've written in my past professional life. The user encounters the problem of desiring a plants to decorate and care for and applies technology as a solution. Using storyboards help clients visualize the placement of the solution within the hands of a user contextually. Thus, allowing the ability to brainstorm, how the technology can even be employed, and how it may augment or affect a user's life journey.
Goals & Features
👤 User Goals
- Have a living space and home that feels natural and inviting
- Feel confident in plant care and tending
- Simple learning curve to bypass barrier of entry into hobby
- Know all details of buying a plant, so there’s no risk of failure
- Plant care and scheduling automation
- Estimate dimensions in living space
💼 Business Goals
- Become an industry leader in the plant app category
- Create new logo, branding and UI design to position app in market
- Utilize technology to optimize plant growing for every indoor hobbyist
- Sell products through external vendors
- Keep product information and cataloguing up to date
- Recommend plants to users
🙏 Common Goals
- Have a delightful plant tending and finding experience
- Stoke and develop a new plant tending hobby for users
- Catalog and information of products
- Order and receive new plants for living space
- See plants in live AR
💻 Technical Specifications
- Ability to login and sign up
- Account creation and control
- UI that has ability to work within AR constraints
- UI that works under iOS material design
- Accessible and usable to all groups
Product Feature Priorities
- Explore Catalog that is able to filter and browse different plants and plant categories. You should be able to favorite, add to My Plants and learn more about the plant including care and conditions.
- An AR feature that is able to visualize, choose plants and place them. This page has the ability to also learn more about the plants during the AR visualization, and works in the flow of purchases. This should have the ability to estimate sunlight and place multiple plants as wel
- A My Profile Page that allows the ability to see high level involvement with plants, living spaces, recommendations and purchase history. This page should work to also navigate to in depth pages such as My Plants, My Living Spaces, Care Schedule and Notifications.
- A My Plants Page that has plants categorized in Living Spaces, recommendations, the ability to learn more about each through their plant profiles and the ability to view Plant Care notifications.
- A Plant Profile that has the ability to learn intricate details about individual plants, visualize in AR, purchase the plant, add to My Plants, and set up Plant Care.
- A Care Schedule page that allows the set up, viewing, and details about care for purchased or added plants. This works also with push notifications and ability to integrate iCal and Google Calendar.
- A Order Plant flow that is integrated into the AR Visualization, Recommended Plants, Plant Profile and works to order the plant.
How Might We?
To create the physical product, I first acknowledged business aims and necessary features for user goals and then formulated a main architectural plan. The main architectural goals were developed by positing How Might We statements. These statements allow the ability to meet user needs while considering tasks and mappings of potential technology.
The particularly relevant How Might We statements followed the needs of the Emma persona, with business goals considered.
- How might we help first-time plant owners feel confident in their tending and care?
- How might we create for users a more accessible and usable plant buying experience?
- How might we help plant hobbyists visualize and design their living spaces?
User Flows & Sitemap
Regarding the established architectural goals from the "How Might We" exercise, I identified tasks and user flows that would meet our user persona's needs, desires, and goals within the context of her life journey. I then applied these flows to uncover an application sitemap to provide the most practical route to those goals. Leaving room for iteration, I designed miniature wireframes in FlowMapp to help illustrate and brainstorm some of the potential screen solutions before moving into UX Design.
UX Design 🗒️
After researching and analyzing design patterns that fit the information architecture, business goals, and user needs, I sketched solutions. Using rapid-prototyping and Marvel to move forward thoughts and ideas, I focused mainly on meeting the How Might We in an iterative process. Making sure I met both WCAG 2.0 and Apple Human Interface Guidelines, I from sketches to wireframing solutions and screens via Sketch and Marvel.
📱 UI Design
Final UI Designs
Prototype and Testing
After the high-fidelity prototype was finalized, a Usability Test Guide was written and proposed. Participants from different walks of life were then recruited to take part in a Zoom virtual usability test.
Four usability tests using the hi-fidelity prototype of the VerdiGreen App were conducted.
There were seven tasks created to test the usability and critical objectives of the feature including, creating an account and logging in, finding information about a specific plant, favouriting/adding a plant, utilizing the AR feature to purchase a plant, discovering information about plant care, and learning how to add plants to a living space.
The test goals included the following:
- Identify any critical errors or incomplete task flows within the app
- Evaluate if the user comes across challenges with navigation or design
- Understand successful task flows and identify helpful UI features
- Assess to see that relevant information is in the right place at the right time
Summary of Feedback
“It’s all right there, you shouldn’t have any issues." - Participant on AR Feature
"I like the plant profile it summarizes a lot of the plant and gives you a great description and care details with icons!" - Participant on Plant Profile
"Living Spaces (feature) is great because I didn’t know what would even look good." - Participant on browsing Spaces
Of the seven tasks, all task flows were completed sufficiently and with expediency by all participants. All participants were impressed with the visual design, design patterns and the second-hand nature of the navigation. Each participant mentioned their needs; one participant wanted to utilize the AR feature solely, another would utilize the app in a Pinterest way, another for strictly finding dimensions for their house, and another participant to learn more about indoor plants in general.
Each stated that this application would meet their individual needs and was successful in reaching their end goal.
There were many valid and interesting suggestions:
- Add dimensions to the plant information and AR function
- The ability to reach the care calendar through the plant profiles
- Favoriting on the AR feature
- Extra details about shipping and packaging information, customization of things like pottery and colours
- The ability to hold in a store, pick up from a store or talk to customer service.
The most helpful UI elements were the tutorial functions, the plant profile iconography and information, and the navigation tabs at the top of the fold. Above all, the most mentioned and commented navigation feature was the Filter option, and despite the Search and Care page not being used, both Filter and the Care Calendar were the most recognized as “important and needed.”
“How do you know if it’s to-size? I’d to like to have a dimensions indicator.” - Participant on AR feature
“ I have no idea what I want to search for but I know I need something low sunlight, so I’d use the filter.” - Participant on search
“It’d be cool to know why I want to save a plant to the room, whether to revisit it or what.” - Participant on AR saving feature
An Affinity Map was created to help illustrate the wins, frustrations, pains, and next steps for the next iteration of Verdigreen. These included direct quotes from participants and allowed the features and flows to be analyzed deeper.
Conclusion & Next Steps