© 2019 by Manasee Narvilkar

 BLOSSOM 

Taking the fear out of plant care 

Overview

Blossom is an app and product to help new plant-parents who are unsure about their ability to care for a plant, well, care for a plant. It is a smart sensing device that allows the user to monitor their plant’s status in real-time. By using ambient notifications and its accompanying app, Blossom notifies the user when their plant needs any kind of care - watering reminders, soil change etc.

Project duration

August 2018 - Dec 2018 

Role

UX Designer, Visual Designer

Team

Shoutouts to my awesome team! Do check out their work if you're looking for someone with a background in

Grace Gaspardo: Linguistics and User research 

Temi Moju Igbene: Product Management & Physical prototyping 

Aparna Ramesh: Product Management and UX Research

Process

Design Brief

How might we help inexperienced plant owners buy and maintain plants?

Who are our users?

​• Lack experience in gardening or with plants

• Need assistance with plant maintenance

• Not knowing which houseplant to buy & from where
• Not knowing what factors to consider before buying a plant
• Not knowing what kind of care a plant requires

Problem space analysis & affinity mapping

Through qualitative analysis and the resultant design implications, we identified the prominent issues and themes:

Big Themes

  • Buying decisions

  • Reasons for getting a plant

  • Plant information

  • Emotional value of owning a plant

  • Plant care

Big Issues

  • I have specific criteria that the plant I buy needs to fit into

  • The factors I need to know while buying a plant are not accessible to me in one place

  • Not knowing what plant you have and having to wing it

  • Caring for plants while away

  • Plant care is not obvious and easy to understand

Synthesis

Through the Affinity mapping, we unearthed a lot of themes like emotional attachment to plants, not having access to information on certain kinds of plants, plants being gifted, and caring for plants while being away from home. We then grouped the insights into two main categories according to the stage of the plant caring process, 

  • Plant purchase : Make informed plant buying decisions with ease

  • Plant maintenance : Assist users with various aspects of plant care

Ideation

We came up with the following 3 concepts around the two themes:

Concept 1

Immersive experiences to visualize plant selection and placement in-situ to help make buying decisions

Concept 2

Immersive in-store experiences to help with buying decisions by providing a way to visualize plant maintenance

Concept 3

Physical device and mobile app for plant maintenance

Deciding the design direction

Relative strengths and weaknesses of designs

 

Our strategy was to address all the major themes that emerged from our research across the three design concepts.

One approach could have been to combine all of our ideas into one single massive solution, but we consciously avoided feature creep. Instead, we chunked ideas into logical clusters of practical products that our users might use. Each idea was scoped to ease specific user pain points with complementary features within them.

We chose to prototype Concept 3.

Our Design Objectives

Minimal Plant Care

Users should be able to easily understand what their plant needs and how to provide it. The system should deliver only relevant information necessary to care for their plant.

Accessible Visual Cues

Visual cues through the device and the application should be easy to understand. Ambient light notifications have to be the right color and intensity, striking the right balance between being useful, yet unobtrusive.

Interface Aesthetics

The device should fit the aesthetic of the plant environment and not stand out or look too “techy”. The system should avoid irrelevant information, and present information as needed and when relevant.

Plant Personification

The device should foster a connection between the user and the plant by letting people name their plant, writing the copy of the app in first person to simulate an interface for the plant to talk directly with the user.

Ease of Learning & Use

Device setup should be intuitive and users should easily be able to interpret the notifications. Users should be able to complete key flows successfully with minimal error.

App and Product Design

Blossom is a billy ball that can be inserted in any plant pot to monitor variables like soil moisture, temperature, nutrients and sunlight. It syncs seamlessly with the accompanying app for the users to remotely monitor the health and wellbeing of their new plant.

Product Features and Flows

Flow 1 : First-time use

Linking device to plant

Flow 2 : Plant status notifications

Address any plant issues

Evaluation of the prototype