Mobile App MVP Design, September 2020 - November 2020
three screens of the final version app
The Problem
Starting a home garden, even if it’s as simple as a single planted herb can be a difficult process, especially when taking habits, preferences, housing conditions, and weather into account. Finding a clear direction through all of these variables is an intimidating barrier for many novice growers. Tendril seeks to eliminate that barrier.
My Role
I worked independently to . . .
1. Research the problem and resources that are currently available.
2. Identify the persona and discover their needs, goals, and pain-points.
3. Design a complete mobile app-based solution.
3. Validate the designs in multiple rounds of testing
Graphic showing process: 1 Research, 2 Sketch, 3 Test, 4 Hifi mockup, 5 validate, 6 iterate
User Research
Identifying Pain-points & Needs
After speaking with five interviewees that informed the persona below, I discovered that novice gardeners were most intimidated by not knowing where to begin and fears of forgetting to care for their plants. This informed three major opportunities to help users:

1. Provide recommendations on what to grow, custom to each user’s preferences and growing conditions.
2. Offer a step-by-step guide that offers instruction, one piece at a time, without overwhelming the user.
3. Deliver reminders that empower users to care for their plants regularly as needed.
tendril app user persona: young 20s professional whos motives are to eat healthy and live sustainably, her pain points include living in an apartment with minimal outdoor space and concern for forgetting to care for the plants and killing them.
Tendril user persona
Ideating a Solution
With these user needs in mind, I hit the sketchpad and brainstormed solutions. Ideating the user flows, sitemap, and screens proved to be an interesting challenge thanks to the following constraints:

1. The app needed to allow for a linear process for the first use, but permit nonlinear behavior on subsequent visits.
2. The most frequent actions needed to be front and center, and easily accessible from anywhere in the app navigation.
3. The app needed to maintain user control and support the care of every edible plant under the user’s care.

Keeping these in mind, I decided that separating the functions into three main screens: Tasks, My Plants, and Profile/Settings would keep the most important and frequent tasks front and center while still enabling user control.
tendril app sketches: 7 screens with sketched detail of what main features would live on each screenfindings from guerilla usability tets
Tendril app wireflow developed based on sketches
Guerilla Testing
Validating the Idea
before and after screens detailing changes listed
During guerilla testing of the wireflows, users expressed the desire to have the task module on the “home” screen in addition to My Plant summary information.

Revision: The My Plants screen evolved from a list of plants with their corresponding statuses to a dashboard that now allowed users to view and complete tasks without navigating to another screen.
High Fidelity Mockups
After guerilla testing, I integrated the feedback into a polished, high-fidelity mockup of the wireframes.

As I developed the prototype for the site, I wanted the UI to be warm, delightful, and approachable. The result leveraged the design system shown below.
design system used for tendril app: buttons, cards, color palette, elements, etc.
Tendril app design system
Usability Testing
Validating the Design
before and after screens detailing changes listed
The high fidelity mockups were tested in a series of thirty-minute, online user testing sessions. While there were a few small pieces of feedback regarding UI suggestions, the primary issue was a "confusing transition between on-boarding process and main app navigation."

Revision: I added a stepper that displays where users are in the process. Finish Later buttons, back buttons, and loading screens were also added help to communicate where the app is going next, and give them control throughout the on-boarding process.
usability test results
VIEW Prototype

Final Design & Reflection

Thanks to the extensive research and multiple rounds of testing, the final result is a validated design solution that allows users to easily access growing recommendations custom to their needs. For future iterations, I'd recommend revisiting the on-boarding process to streamline the amount of user actions required before using the app.

three screens of the final version app