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Terra Icon, a line drawing of a monstera leaf
Terra Hero Image

Terra

Terra is a plant care app made for all plant users, new or seasoned. The app sends out reminders, can identify your mystery greens, diagnoses ailments and provides users with all the information they could need!

My Role

UI/UX Designer

Project

Personal

Timeline

December 2023

Tools Used

Figma, Adobe Photoshop

Responsibilities

Conducting interviews, paper and digital wireframing, low and high-fidelity prototyping, conducting a usability study, accounting for accessibility and iterating on designs.

The Problem

Plants can be neglected or forgotten about due to busy lifestyles. Reminders and information are important for all, regardless of their gardening skills.

The Goal

A comprehensive app that is easy to use, can identify plants and their problems, and provides extensive information and personalized care routines while having a seamless navigation system.

Design Process

Design Thinking Process

OVERVIEW

PROBLEM

Aspiring plant parents and experienced gardeners struggle with creating care schedules and accessing information all in one place.

THE SOLUTION(S)

a screenshot from Terra, Add Plant 5
a screenshot from Terra, Expand Down Menus for a plants information
a screenshot from Terra, plants notes & history
Customizable and trackable tasks.
  • Automated care plans are created by completing a questionnaire about the plant and its condition.

  • Users can customize reminders as they see fit by snoozing
    reminders and adjusting schedules through the calender

  • Clicking on tasks gives helpful tips and tricks to see is a task is needed.

Easy to navigate, digestible information.
  • Automated care plans are created by completing a questionnaire about the plant and its condition.

  • Users can customize reminders as they see fit by snoozing
    reminders 

  • Clicking on tasks gives helpful tips and tricks to see is a task is needed.

Save the complete history of your plants.
  • Ability to add written notes, progress photos and track bigger tasks for a plant's complete history. 

  • Save bits of information for future reference.

a screenshot from Terra, Homepage
a screenshot from Terra, Task Details

USER RESEARCH

I started this process by researching plant care apps already available on the market. I learned what services they offer and how informative they are. I checked out reviews and testimonials to see what their users were saying. I wanted to see how they categorized and presented plants, as well as how they offered plant care.

Research Goals

  • Identify what problems users face in diagnosing issues with their houseplants.

  • Examine how users go about researching care for their plants

  • Discover why/ how users go about choosing the plants they want to keep

  • Analyze how the users are utilizing any current systems

  • Identify the strengths/potential of any current system.

Target Users

  • Plant lovers, gardeners, new plant parents, parents with little kids , older folks

Research Methods

  • Online survey (Google form)

  • In-person interviews 

  • Online Research

COMPETITIVE ANALYSIS

The competition isn't accounting for accessibility.

FINDINGS

By creating empathy maps and conducting the first usability study, I got a better understanding of users' wants and needs in a plant care app in terms of visual design, products and services. A crucial user group identified were those new to plants and needed reminders to keep them alive.

I assumed people were looking for personalized care plans and reminders, but it doesn't stop there. From research looking through app feedback, I found users wanted a complete plant care schedule available from the start, the ability to set up custom reminders to adjust as plants can be an unpredictable, accurate diagnosis when looking for solutions and one app to do it all.

USER INTERVIEW

UX user interviews

I conducted 5 user interviews with plant owners to understand their goals and pain points in plant care. The interview was left relatively open by way of a few questions to allow the interviewees to walk me through their struggles. 

My interviewees were more likely to complete tasks with clear prompts and digestible language.

From my research, I found how important clarity and accessibility are and by asking questions during my interviews, I pinpointed where users had trouble understanding prompts and what they were looking for, information-wise.

Research questions:
  • How knowledgeable of plants does the user consider to be?

  • Why do users get new plants? 

  • What are the problems with identifying plants?

  • What are the common issues that arise while diagnosing problems with houseplants?

  • What features do users expect in an app/responsive website that help diagnose issues with houseplants?

  • Which existing apps and websites do users currently use for diagnosing issues with their houseplants and what are the areas of improvement?

Users had a lot to say:

"Trying to figure out whats wrong and how to fix the problem with a plant takes too long."
"I forget to drink water so its makes sense I forget to water my ivy."
"Sometimes I think I do everything right but then end up with a dead plant."

With the research, I synthesized the information into two behavioural archetypes (an experienced gardener and a new plant parent) and an empathy map. Then to kickstart what direction to take Terra, I asked "How Might We" questions.

  • How might we offer an accurate plant ID system in our app?

  • How may we completely change the way plants are organized in our app?

  • How might we create a more seamless user flow?

  • How might we make the user experience less overwhelming?

  • How might we offer more resources and articles?

  • How might we offer more features?

THE MAIN INSIGHT

Users need both organized visual and written cues to get the most out of plant care.

Based on the affinity map I created, when a lot of information was presented, it was best to use the most digestible language along with specific instructions/ guides so that more users understand. 

PAIN POINTS

1

Information
The information presented in apps is often overwhelming and not presented so nicely.

2

Customization
Users can't customize or adjust care plans which could lead to overdoing care or neglect.

3

Accessibility

Users need assistive tech support on platforms, for visual or verbal aid, especially when handling massive information.

User Persona for Alia

STARTING THE DESIGN: PAPER WIREFRAMES

Paper wireframes for Terra

There was a lot of information to include, so I focused on simplifying sections and figuring out how to display information when creating the paper wireframe.

Digital wireframes

DIGITAL WIREFRAMES

After refining and revising ideas, I transferred the paper wireframes into digital wireframes to further work out the details. I prioritized a clean layout and simple navigation. I then created a low-fidelity prototype.

USABILITY FINDINGS

To enhance the user experience and ensure that I was working off of a good structure for the final prototype, I conducted a moderated usability study consisting of 5 people. Using the high-fidelity prototype to gather feedback, the goal was to test to see if there’s a seamless user journey while browsing and identifying plants, adding to your collection, reading information and completing tasks.

a screenshot from Terra, Plant information
a screenshot from Terra, Bigger Buttons
WCAG

Adjusted frame sizes for larger target areas for ease.
 

Made the button sizes bigger to better adhere to WCAG standards for the most optimal size.
 

Edited the information about plants to appear in drop-down menus that can be opened and closed to the user's liking instead of sliding up text boxes.

a screenshot from Terra, Questionnare

Included more options to input plant information for a better personalized plan when identifying and adding plants to My Plants.
 

a screenshot from Terra, more navigation options like Back to Home

Created more navigation options to go ‘back to home' easily and other easier back/ navigation buttons for a nicer user journey.

 

THE FINAL PROTOTYPE

CONCLUSION + WHAT I LEARNED

  1. Simplify as needed - There were moments during this process I had to reel myself back in. Good UX starts and ends with prioritizing the user, and design should reflect that. But that doesn't mean it won't be interesting!

  2. Prioritize Accessibility - Trying to organize big blocks of information was a challenging process. However, referring back to WCAG standards, everything fell into place. Finding the right balance between visual and written cues made the app user-friendly and aesthetically pleasing.

  3. Testing, Testing and More Testing - Throughout my UX journey, I've realized that the design process is ongoing. This project had many revisions when I thought I was done with a section. Being open to improvement is crucial in creating a valuable product.

Thank you for viewing!

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