Plant maintenance made simple.
About Pick Me
Pick Me is a mobile plant maintenance app that keeps users on track in their plant care journey. The goal of the app is to alleviate all the stress of plant care by providing users with a delightful experience that empowers them to continue caring for plants in the future.
User Research, Wireframing, Visual Design, Prototyping & Testing
3 weeks // 2021
Not only do plants enhance the overall appearance of a space, but they've been shown to boost moods, increase creativity, reduce stress, and eliminate air pollutants — making for healthier, happier humans. We have a great passion for plants and nature, so we wanted to find a way to make plant care as simple and pleasurable of an experience as possible.
The high-level goals of this project were:
• To research, prototype, test, and validate an idea for a brand-new mobile application
• To solve a real, clearly identified need in users’ everyday lives
To gain a better understanding of the problem at hand, a thorough interview plan was written out. We wanted to learn more about our users:
1. Motivations and reasons for owning plants
2. Decision making process when buying plants
3. Biggest frustrations when caring for plants
We facilitated 5 user interviews with our target audience to gather qualitative data and help us deliver our product in the most effective way. These are some of the main quotes we pulled:
"I just got a pathos and cannot keep it alive — I am generally a really good plant owner but I just don't know what's wrong with him."
- SARA, 28
"When I would go to the nursery, there was so many different options, it makes me nervous."
- JULIE, 31
"When I'm buying a plant, I don't know what I'm going to get...are there going to be bugs in the soil? Is it going to be half dead?"
- TIM, 25
Users want to learn more about the basics of plant care.
Users feel overwhelmed by the maintenance required to keep plants healthy.
Users need help finding the plants that best fit their living conditions and lifestyle.
We sent out a survey to gather quantitative data about our users. Doing so helped us gain better insight into how our users think about problems surrounding plant care.
We received a response from 31 participants.
What do you like about owning plants?
What is the most difficult part about caring for plants?
Based on the research gathered from our interviews and survey, a user persona was created to represent our target audience. This helped guide our design decisions to be as user-focused as possible. Sandy Davis is a 32 year old graphic designer and her goals and pain points helped lay the foundation of our mobile app design.
How might we offer plant owners assistance with maintaining their plants in a way that will make them feel happy and empowered to continue caring for them in the future?
User Journey Map
We created a user journey map to visually represent the users experience. This helped our team analyze the app from the users point of view and better understand their needs, hesitations and concerns.
I Like, I Wish, What If Brainstorming
We used the I Like I Wish What If Method to look at ideas through the lens of the present, the near future, and the distant future (with the "I" being our user).
We used this brainstorming time to let loose and be creative which allowed us to build up on each others ideas.
Specific features that would have the highest impact on our application were highlighted in a Feature Prioritization Matrix. We categorized each feature by the level of complexity and the amount of impact they would make.
The features with the highest impact and lowest complexity would be used to form the design strategies, services, and experiences we want to deliver to our users.
In order to see where Pick Me stood amongst the competition, a thorough competitor analysis was done to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of each competitor.
There were lots of competitors that were already doing a fantastic job addressing the problem space of plant maintenance. However, we noticed right away that none of them had an element of fun. We wanted to provide users with a way to make a stressful task more pleasant and engaging using games and plant personification.
We cycled through a few different application concepts before moving forward. After referring back to our research results, we ultimately went with a solution that would give users confidence in their plants' well-being while still being fun and game-like.
Online discussion forum and marketplace for plant owners.
A calendar app that reminds users to water their plants.
A "Plant Invaders" game that teaches kids to care for plants.
To cater to the demographic of users who would be interested in using Pick Me, simplicity and fun was our first priority.
We decided to focus our design on the following features:
• An onboarding user flow that generates customized watering schedules
• An avatar customization user flow that connects users with the plant care process
• A plant watering user flow that familiarizes users with the real world
User Flow: Onboarding & Avatar Customization
User Flow: Watering Plants
Prototyping & Testing
Low Fidelity Wireframes
Before diving into UI Design, we created low fidelity wireframes for each user flow.
Designing for practicality and fun
The Pick Me home page is where users can see an overview of their plant collection and check off their plant care tasks each day. The layout of this page is essential to the overall impact of the app since it is such a frequent touch point for users. We aimed to combine the simplicity and practicality of a calendar scheduling system with the fun, delightful aspects of games like Space Invaders and Tamagotchi.
Research showed that plant owners love the process of tending to their plants and think of their plants like pets that need to be cared for. We wanted to create an engaging experience for users that wouldn't take away that feeling of autonomy. The goal of the home page design was to make users feel like their plants were communicating with them.
Home Page V1
Lacks essential features
Home Page V2
Overloads the user with information
Home Page V3
Doesn't have the fun factor we're striving for
Home Page V4
Displays critical information while still remaining fun
We put our initial designs to the test by observing how easily participants were able to navigate through Pick Me with when given the following tasks:
• Adding a plant to their calendar
• Customizing their user avatar
• Watering a plant
We conducted 5 remote usability tests, asking participants to share their screens and think aloud while being recorded going through the prototype.
Usability Test with Cara
Usability Test with Rosanna
Usability Test with David
From the tests, we went back and iterated on the specific pain points that were mentioned.
Users appreciated the welcoming nature of the onboarding flow but felt uncertain about what the process was leading them towards.
Onboarding Flow V1
Couldn't tell that these were mimicing text messages
Confused by the vague wording
Frustrated by how abrupt this step felt
Onboarding Flow V2
Added instruction screens to give more context
Moved account creation to the beginning
Reworked design elements to replicate what users are familiar with
Specified the wording to provide clarity
Introduced success messages to keep users in the loop
Home Page V1
Home Page V2
Navigation could be simplified more
Wasn't confident that the tasks were completed successfully
Thought the shelf layers indicated urgency/difficulty
Users can toggle between calendar view and shelf view
Added a prominent success message that appears when tasks are complete
Gave the shelves hierarchy so the urgent tasks go to the top
Users felt uplifted by the customization features but wanted the engaging experience to be incorporated into the rest of the app.
Save button was difficult to find
Replaced calendar customization with plant avatars to further personify the experience
Relocated the save button and made it more prominent
Plant Care Flow
Users weren’t confident that they were completing the required tasks and needed more design queues to feel a sense of accomplishment.
Buttons weren't consistent with the rest of the app
Confused by the details shown on the screen
Wasn't sure what the progress bar was indicating
Added visual icons to provide more clarity
Adjusted the button design to match the rest of the app
Visual Design & Style Guide
Research showed that our users cared about aesthetics in their home so we wanted to carry that over into their mobile apps as well. We were looking to balance out the bright, lively colors of our plant/user avatars with a clean, minimalistic feel. We also opted for DM Sans, a round playful sans-serif, to be the designs sole typeface.
High Fidelity Prototype
Users are greeted with a text-message style welcome quiz to help clarify where they're at in their plant care journey. Users can use photo identification or search for the plants that they own before getting a customized watering schedule generated for them.
Once they're in the app, users are immersed into a bright, friendly environment where they can customize avatars for both themselves and all their plants. This personification of the plants avatars will make users feel like their plants are communicating directly with them.
When a plant is ready to be watered, Pick Me will send a push notification alerting users. The home page presents a shelf view of all the user's plants, putting the tasks for the day at the top. Once the user waters their plant in real life, they can check it off their list in the app.
Lessons learned and next steps
Going into this project, we were excited to be tackling a problem space that we were all so passionate about. As beginner plant owners, we were under the assumption that more experienced plant owners would feel at ease with their maintenance schedules.
However, through research, we quickly learned that this was not the case. Despite the range in skill level and experience with plants, all our users had a similar struggle: keeping up with a consistent watering schedule for their plants.
The next step for us is to continue testing our high fidelity prototype with users and iterate on our designs. We would also like to build out some more gamification features that will be fun for users to engage with.