LifeSpace Gardens designs condo farms to overcome the constraints of the urban lifestyle, by turning rooftops and condo patio and balcony spaces into productive food gardens. The goal is to design an app that acts as a tool to complement and support clients who have purchased a LifeSpace Garden self-watering planter, with growing their vegetable garden.
User Interview, Persona, Competitive/Comparative Analysis, User Flow, Customer Journey Map, Prototype, Usability Test
Our process begins with understanding users. We conducted seven in-person interviews and an online survey, which allow us to develop a thorough understanding of participants and their perspectives.
When asking about the most challenging part of their gardening experience, most interviewees reported the lack of knowledge, guidance and expert support. The main source of information is internet (67.2%), people were overwhelmed by the massive information online and felt frustrated when finding guideline tailored to their plants.
From survey results, people are willing to receive weekly notification. Also, 20% of responses prefer viewing garden tasks but not to be notified.
One of survey questions is asking about what a Web App can help to improve garden experience. It turned out general gardening tips such as when, where, what and how to plant has the highest frequency, followed by real-time information like watering reminder and weather alert.
My Green Space and Garden Minder have functions like A la carte and self-setup of gardens. However, users cannot fully control of notification settings and receive customized gardening notification like weather warnings and tutorial videos, which will be mainly focused on LifeSpace Gardens Guide.
The primary goal for us is to design a mobile app as an extension of LifeSpace Gardens current website. After few meetings with our stakeholder Wesley Hooper, we realized that he didn’t have preference for either Android or iOS platform. We did our research and consulted with developers of RED Academy. It turned out Web App might be a better option for its less expense and cross-platform compatibility. So we made a suggestion to Wesley about shifting focus to Web App, and he took it.
This Web App is designed for LifeSpace Gardens current customer, who has purchased garden container online and has an account with LifeSpace Gardens. The Account is associated with garden containers they purchased, which detailed information is preset through the purchasing process, including type of plant, size of container and amount of sunlight container receives.Journey starts from a welcoming email – users will receive a link of this Web App. Also Web app can be discovered in LifeSpace Gardens Website.
Based on results from interviews and surveys, we concluded seven types of garden reminder most common for LifeSpace Gardens customers (Wesley also joined our discussion).These reminders are plant, water, harvest, prune, pest, weather, and event.
Through our user interviews and surveys, customized garden reminders are targeted as the most essential and competitive feature of this Web App, which is also agreed by our stakeholder Wesley. The challenge is to provide users accurate and relevant notification at the right time.
Considering that most users have more than one garden containers, while the frequency and type of gardening tasks can vary from one to another. We designed “My Gardens” section to optimize experience for users who purchasing multiple gardens, so they can view garden tasks independently and set up individual notification for each garden.
Notice that users can manage notification setting for each type of notification. As I mentioned before, there are seven types of reminders as “alerts” in total, which are plant, water, harvest, prune, pest, weather, and event. Users who have medium to high level of gardening knowledge may not need reminder of repetitive tasks such as refilling water and checking for pest. By providing detailed setting option, this Web App can notify users what they want to be notified.It took us a while to decide what to include in the “Overview” section. At first, we tried to incorporate all container detail inside a drop-down list. But through usability testing, we found out certain type of information has no real-time value for users. Static information of the garden container, such as types of plants and size of container, is pre-set during purchasing and cannot be changed by users themselves.
So we replaced the banner image with a container detail section, which provides information can’t be managed but can remind users of which garden container page they are in. Also, we created an independent section only including notification setting and garden diagram. We all agreed removing the banner image optimizes the space and tab bar is more discoverable compared to dropdown list.
How many tasks should be appeared in current state? We kept asking this questions through the whole project. Luckily, We looked back to our user research and found the answer. “A good gardener always keeps track of all gardening task, so he/she can identify the source of the problem and know what to expect.” Inspired by that, we made a decision and gave users option to review past and future tasks.Also for users who turn off notification, they wouldn’t miss the task.
Through the designing phrase, we kept it in mind that large part of our target users is new to gardening. We provided an extra explanation at each gardening step, and users have access to gardening resources for future exploration.
Inside each alert box, there is relevant instruction or video to demonstrate how to perform this gardening task. Also, garden alerts are not limited to dry fact – sometimes it can be a real photo Wesley took from his garden. So users can actually compare it with their garden, instead of imaging what blooming tomato looks like.
We also incorporated with content already existed in LifeSpace Gardens Website and created a section called “Glossary”, where users can explode garden knowledge by plant.
In “My Plant” tab, users can narrow the search to plants in their garden containers. They can read basic knowledge about the plant, techniques to maintain it, and common questions they might come across.