VegG


Overview
VegG is an app design concept that empowers budding gardeners to sow their own food so they can reap the culinary benefits.

I attended General Assembly's part-time User Experience Design course and created this product for my class project, applying user centered design processes from start to finish.

Process
User Interviews, Competitive Research, Persona Creation, Feature Prioritization, User Stories, Card Sorting, User Flow, Wireframes, Prototyping, User Testing, Presentation

Results
A concept app designed to help would be gardeners achieve success. The app went through multiple iterations through feedback gleaned from user input and interactions.

View Prototype

Problem/Objective

The original user problem I wanted to address was that people who wanted to grow their own food for culinary reasons didn't because of the time and effort required.

I wanted to reduce this burden by providing a solution that would make gardening more approachable and easier to do successfully by way of a mobile app.


User Interviews

I initially interviewed colleagues and friends that I knew had an affinity for cooking and would be likely interested in growing their won food.

I scheduled short interviews, asked tailored questions, and recorded these conversations.

I took quick notes on insights gained through this process and found that:

  • The interviewees did have interest in gardening and had varying degrees of experience, all leaning on the novice end of the gardening spectrum.

  • They were interested in enhancing their cooking but found that their past gardening experience didn't leave them with any additional direction on what to do with vegetables grown.

  • They would love to track their progress and related tangental analog activities that have been enhanced in their daily routines by the addition of achievement tracking apps.

  • They found challenges mostly exist in form of setting up their gardens to get started and to remember when to take action once they've planted for watering and cultivating.

I initially interviewed colleagues and friends that I knew had an affinity for cooking and would be likely interested in growing their won food.

I scheduled short interviews, asked tailored questions, and recorded these conversations.

I took quick notes on insights gained through this process and found that:

  • The interviewees did have interest in gardening and had varying degrees of experience, all leaning on the novice end of the gardening spectrum.

  • They were interested in enhancing their cooking but found that their past gardening experience didn't leave them with any additional direction on what to do with vegetables grown.

  • They would love to track their progress and related tangental analog activities that have been enhanced in their daily routines by the addition of achievement tracking apps.

  • They found challenges mostly exist in form of setting up their gardens to get started and to remember when to take action once they've planted for watering and cultivating.


Competitive Analysis

I researched the competitive landscape and found that in the mobile app marketplace there weren't any tailored solutions that addressed any of the problems that came up in user interviews, or even anything that was remotely modern in visual design or usability.

I created specific tasks and attributes I thought relevant to a mobile app solution for gardeners and graded the most popular apps in this space and found that none had a truly solid experience for each.

I also looked at these tasks with respect to indirect competition and acknowledged that social media apps like Facebook, Nextdoor served a lot of the want for community knowledge with regards to gardening and that general purpose utility apps like "Reminder" Apps and "Journal" Apps served the purpose of tracking when to water and logging progress.

Lastly, the app is also faced with the competition of local nurseries and gardening books that are cheap and contain endless insight into the process of gardening.


App v1 Solution

While there is steep competition in indirect competition, the user interviews still indicated that there was room for a specific type of product that could address their needs — a companion app that functioned as a "wizard" to help the busy person get going with a low learning curve.

The wizard would focus on three areas -- seeking guidance, tracking progress, and finding cooking recipes.


Personas

I created multiple personas based on the interviews that closely matched their characteristics to guide the process.


Feature Prioritization

Through exercises in class, I prioritized features based on what would make the most effective tool for the persona's created.

User Stories

I then created user stories that helped validate the features as addressing the needs of the users.

I then synthesized the top user stories into groupings to help inform the initial information architecture of the app.


User Card Sorts

I then had some of the original interviewees take the top user stories and features and cart sort them into categories to also inform the app information architecture and user flow.

User Flow

With bubbled up categories of the user stories and the evidence from the user card sorts, I created user flows that tackled the main facets of the app that were originally laid out by the problems identified in the user interviews and further refined through these user inputs.
Wireframes

The next phase of the process was to create wireframes that articulated the necessary screens to support the actions and interactions users would need to accomplish the main tasks in the app.


Prototypes

I created a clickable prototype that connected the wireframes to then have users test the app. I focused primarily on the onboarding experience with the purpose of addressing the first and most important task of getting started with a garden followed by the main dashboard experience to serve the latter two tasks of maintaining a garden and then cultivating the results.


Usability Testing

Beyond the initial user interviews, the usability testing I performed turned out to be the most revealing phase of this process. I learned a lot about how users were expecting to use the app and what wasn't being addressed in the initial wireframe.

I graded the results of specific tasks for how the users were able to accomplish them and generated a heat map from these findings.

I took an interactive approach in my testing to improve with each interaction the screens and flow of the prototype to rapidly improve the viability of my solution.

v2 Revisions

My revisions addressed the usability testing findings head on by incorporating better content for testers and reworking the core interface structure to surface key features easier.

Revisions: Onboarding

The new onboarding experience removed the upfront requests for location and notifications and placed them in more contextually relevant locations where the user would better understand their purpose.

Additionally the intructional content was more realistic and the options presented contained differentiated data.

The linear flow was also shortened so that the user was able to more easily digest the specific sub-sets of information independently.
Revisions: Dashboard

The dashboard was completely overhauled to remove visual complexity from the unclear charts and to incorporate a tab bar controller containing the key features of the app that were previously contained within a "hamburger menu" that weren't discoverable by the initial testers.


Solution / v2 Prototype

The v2 prototype of the app can be viewed at: https://invis.io/A6A852M5E

Get in touch: 
reinhardtsf@gmail.com