What is Plantr?
It is a smart flower pot with displaying the indicators of sunlight level, water level, temperature along with mobile app. Once flower pot flashes red light any of the factors, users should check out the app which suggests ways to take care of the plant effectively.
01 Why do I want to design Plantr?
How might we provide a smart tool to help amateur gardeners better care for their plants?
1.2 Pain points in the daily life
I have always enjoy growing plants. However, all the plants I grew died due to unknown reasons. I was so confused and frustrated about that situation. Meanwhile, I was thinking it must be some people have the same issue like me.
- People always ignored taking care of their plants.
- People is not expert on plants’ preferences.
- People needs a head-up to mention them before plants intend to die.
- People needs a way to help them monitor multiple plants in case that they grow many plants in different places.
02 Design thinking
2.1 Design goals
I was supposed to come out solutions which are the easiest way to help users take care of plant. So some potential features I may have:
- Minimize the first glance on mobile app. Focus on the physical flower pot.
- The operation/functions of flower pot- the effective way to mention users taking care of plants.
- The type of infographic on mobile application- users won’t have any trouble on understanding the current status of plant.
I thought of different types of smart flower pot. First of all, the cost of flower pot should be affordable. Second, users should be able to monitor the condition of plants spontaneously. Third and most importantly- the indicators on the flower pot should reflect the condition of the plant.
03 Research Process
The current flower pot market is still dominated by traditional clay and plastic pots. However, once people lose concerns on their plants, it may cause plants to start gradually dying. Thus, some startups created a smart sensor, which is placed into soil to analyze plants’ status so people can take care of their plants effectively and scientifically.
3.2 Understand how Plantr is different from other products
The matrix doesn’t only compare the plant monitoring field. It also shows the related industry which is potential feature for Plantr.
3.3 UX Research
Before working on this project, I stopped by HomeDepot and plant nurseries to interview some customers and professional gardeners to understand what consumers want. Customers are trying to grow plants more directly by knowing what steps are needed to take care of the plants; they also prefer quantifiable solutions to issues related to the plants.
04 Affinity Diagram
4.1 Card Sorting
Card sorting is a UX design Research technique. I use to understand and evaluate the information architecture of Plantr.
Summarize key points:
- There are two ways to assist users taking care of plants: Smart flower pot with LED and mobile application.
- What the type of plant’s elements are helpful and simple for users- humidity, temperature and brightness.
- The smart flower pot owns LED, switch, and sensors.
4.2 IA map
Target Audience & User Case
5.1 Target Audience
25 – 45 years old
5.2 Journey map
User Testing & Iterations
6.1 User testing
6.2.1 Iteration- Homepage
The original idea of homepage was displaying a specific plant’s health. In the first and second version, most of my testers were curious: “What if I grew multiple plants ” or “Why don’t I check all plants at the first glance”. This is because I neglect a situation which users are growing one more plants. What I changed:
- I designed the homepage which includes general all plants’ healthy condition.
- I add a “Locate” button which can position the plants. This button will send signal to the smart flower pot. Users are able to follow the beep sound to find the plant exactly.
- I switched the profile of illustration style to be a real picture profile.
After implementing those changes, the improvement is significant. Testers now can have a better understanding of overall Plantr.
6.2.2 Iteration- Add new plant
The another main function of Plantr is how to add a new plant into mobile application. It is an important step to link physical pot with mobile. What I changed:
- In the second version, I removed “Scan plant” step because my testers are wondering what if they are going to grow seedings. The system won’t identify the plant exactly.
- After user testing, my testers also told me they are curious about the step to pair pot with mobile. They said:” I want to have an app helping them to take care of their plants.” and” There should also be some consideration to general settings on an app associated with a device.” So in the last version, I add a database to select the plant.
In the last user testing, 90% testers tap this button and give a positive feedback.
6.2.3 Iteration- Lack of water
The infographic is a way to tell users what the current plant’s healthy is. The helpful infographic can help users know plant’s health clearly because users are not expert on plant’s growing trend. So I offered many approaches to test which one is the best.
07 Final Delivery
Task 1: Add a new plant
Choose the type of plant from database → Fill out the form → Turn on the bluetooth → Pair the pot with mobile → Add successfully
Task 2: Water the plant
Receive the notification → Direct to the water page which needs water → Check the right water amount → Water plant → Refresh the page to see the current water level
Task 3: Find the plant
Homepage → Tap the map icon at the plant cart upper right corner → Follow the beep sound to find the Plantr → Get it correctly
This is a project that lasted through around year and half. I learned alot through the process while creating the smart pot! I learned how to effectively interview users to improve the project, what the design trend for the year, how to code the entire task flow and learn more about about UX/UI. Also I appreciate everyone who helped me in the process, including AAU’s directors and classmates. I am still expending more time to better this product.