As part of the user experience course taken this summer, the class project consisted of designing an App prototype that applied all the fundamental UX methods learned in class. The goal of the project was to create a proof-of-concept mobile app for a smart home flower pot. The app required to satisfy the following key features, adjust watering levels, handle multiple pots, and monitor plant environment.
The in-depth discovery phase is the secret weapon to discovering the real user, it revels the how and why. It allows us to deliver a project that marries the business objectives and the user-centered needs. This phase revealed the real pain points that people are experiencing, along with the thoughts and feelings someone develops as they use this product.
Because my knowledge of smart home products was little to none, I began by searching more into the smart home market and took out as much information that could be used for this new App experience.
If not the most important part of the process was my spent on research prior to sketching out any wireframe or even touching a mouse or track pad. My research consisted of various methodologies including stakeholder interviews, heuristic evaluations, and competitive analysis on smart home plant sensors and watering systems.
One of the first steps I took to help understand my real end user was conducting user interviews. The interviews gave tremendous insight into how people thought around the idea of having smart pot. This was my favorite method as I uncovered general attitudes, reactions, and perceived needs around the problem being solved for.
The “slamdunk” potential user are for the most part of higher economic status, these users have the resources to invest in smart home devices. The overall idea of this product is well received but is inconclusive since the price factor is not provided.
A lot of my interviews asked about further product details than app detail like variety of pot sizes, material and finishes, quality and guarantee.
Followed by major insights we moved into ideation and sketching, we started building user flows that helped us clearly mark the user journey and important touch points of the App building experience. Individually, we sketched out wireframes as a lightweight prototyping method that allowed us to keep an experience-first focus and quickly walk our client through interactions and flows without adding visual design too early in the process.
Once I had an interactive prototype that I could place in users hands, I wanted to get deeper into user behaviors and tested previous crafted user stories like for example when Ela installs the SmartPalnt App for the first time, Ela is eagerer to get started and wants to quickly know if her Pot is synced successfully to the app before going further into the on-boarding process.
When Pablo has already two or more smart pots active in the app and opens the app, Pablo wants to make sure he is notified of the health status of all his plants at a glance so that he 1) does not have to scroll through all of his plants one by one 2) he can quickly access those issues right away
There is nothing like putting the actual mobile device in someone’s hands to test themselves and give you real user input. Many of my findings got me even more motivated to continue to refine and retest for a more satisfactory user experience as I intended.
Designed entirely with an exploration of user experience principles, I effectively researched and discovered the required information, uncover behaviors and patterns associated with ideal users, strategized experiences and built prototype concepts to be tested by end-users, and prepared final prototypes for delivery to business stakeholders.
San Diego Portfolio Studio, 2017
Instructor: Jessica Moon