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Overview

E-commerce app for buying plants, flowers, and everything related to gardening.

Role

UX Researcher, Visual Designer, Interaction Designer

Tools 

Figma, POP by Marvel

Constraints

90 Hours

Platform

iOS

PLANTASIS

"Plant parenthood" has become the new fad amongst millennials. For a long time, gardening was a hobby pursued by our mothers, but nowadays younger generations are expressing a desire to learn more about botany and want to own plant babies of their own. Based on pain points provided by Springboard, a UX Design Bootcamp, I wanted to create a solution for a potential e-commerce app that enables users to purchase plants, flowers, and garden essentials from the comfort of their own homes.

I divided this project into 4 main sections to better communicate my design thinking process
1. Problem
2. Solution
3. Approach
4. Leanings

Problem

In collaboration with Springboard I acquired data for this project. The two biggest concerns that the users addressed were:

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  • 50% of users view 7 items on average and then exit the app without moving any items into their shopping cart because they have difficulty deciphering which plants are best to purchase based on relative features.

  • 75% of users who place an item in their shopping cart do not follow through with the purchase due to the fact that they are required to register for an account to process the transaction.

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Solution

In order to identify a solution to this problem, I needed to perform competitive research and discover the strategies that other brands were using to address the issue. Unfortunately, there are no e-commerce mobile apps for buying plants available on the market, so I performed a competitive analysis for brands that have e-commerce platforms on their website. Based on my Google search, the three biggest stores selling plants online were identified as

  • The Sill

  • Bloomscape

  • Nature Hills

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After having performed research, I collected my thoughts and synthesized my data. I wanted to design an app that is user-friendly and easily accessible to everyone, irrespective of age or gender. The browsing experience of the app needed to be seamless and easy for users to navigate, with the use of natural and organic colors for a clean aesthetic. I also wanted to incorporate a one-page checkout and buying options for guest shopping without having the obligation to create an account.

Approach

Before configuring the visual design and interface, I needed to map out a path for our potential users. From the data I collected, I created a persona named Dolly to take on this path. Knowing your clientele and their motives for subscribing to your service is key to generating value for your customers and ensuring their needs are met.

Meet Dolly

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Goals

To provide a service that generates a satisfactory shopping experience for Dolly by designing a mobile app that enables a user to purchase the plants that are most compatible for them with confidence.

Envisioning Dolly's journey from start to finish helped me establish the flow of the app and gave me insight as to what the user experience would look like.

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User Flow

Sketching ideas, prototyping and testing was the perfect balance of expressing my creativity while ensuring that the project objectives were met. Sketching my designs helped me create many different versions of the mobile app before reaching the final decision.

Due to the time limitations of this project, I tried to expedite the design process by performing a guerilla usability test with my sketches before diving into the digital world of high-fidelity screens.

I conducted an in-person test with 5 of my acquaintances, all of which were plant lovers but did not own any. With the help of the app POP by Marvel, I transformed my design sketches into interactive prototypes and presented the following scenario to the testees:

You recently developed an interest in plants, and you really want to order a new plant for your one-bedroom apartment. The only issue is that you don't have a patio and you can only spend 20 dollars. How would you use "Plantasia" to make this purchase?

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Sketches

Given that the test was a paper prototype, it definitely had some limitations, however, the users were able to perform the given task which fueled my confidence to proceed with the design process.

After having performed the first test, I moved onto the UI phase of the project. Figma is my all-time favorite platform for designing mobile app screens in addition to making prototypes and interactions.

I wanted the whole aesthetic of the app to be natural, with toned-down accent colors and clear imagery. In keeping with this spirit, I created a style guide for this project:

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With 25 hours on the clock, I rapidly designed the high-fidelity screens and made a prototype to be tested, including some micro interactions.

Frustrations

She has struggled to find an online website for purchasing plants because none of them offer a good product description or care instructions with eco-friendly tips.

Persona 

A 34-year-old living in Seattle, WA who works as a manager in a high-class vegan restaurant. When she is not working, she enjoys taking care of her plants. Due to her busy schedule, Dolly can’t dedicate a lot of time tending to her plants, which is why she prefers buying indoor plants that are low maintenance.

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welcome + home page

filter + product page

cart + checkout

Learnings

It was important for me to test the prototype before submitting the project, so I performed a second usability test with 5 new users to overcome personal bias and acknowledge the potential flaws of my design.

I presented the same scenario to the teste's, however, this time around I asked them to comment on the user experience of the app. Based on the feedback that I received, I made the following modifications:

1. Originally, the tab bar had three icons, but 4 out of 5 users pointed out that they would love to have a liked product page so I added that feature for easier accessibility instead of requiring users to go to the profile page to find it
2. I added express checkout options such as Apple Pay and PayPal
3. I also added a back button to the checkout page for easier navigation
4. 3 out of the 5 users noticed that the checkout page didn't have the summary list of the products they had ordered
5. I added more information on the order confirmation page
6. I also added a section to input shipping information that had been missing on the product page
7. Last but not least, I reconfigured the home page to have better category selection and a visual hierarchy because some of the users reported difficulty navigating the app

Designing a prototype with the in-detail product description and adding the guest checkout option, with successful 2 rounds of usability testing made me achieve the goals of this project. Working with waterfall methodology from start to finish and with a 90-hour time constraint definitely challenged me as a designer. However, I was able to develop my time management skills and learned how to work more effectively and efficiently in order to meet tight deadlines.

Due to the time constraints, I couldn't design all aspects of this project that I planned for.  Next, I would like to focus more on the profile page and overall shopping experience. Plus, it would be great to dive deeper into measuring e-commerce success and learning about metrics.

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