The Gardenio mobile app is designed, in conjunction with our Growboxes, to support somebody new to growing food across their food growing journey, which is inherently cyclical. It connects people to the information, supplies, and people they need to be successful. 


Roman, the brain behind the company, addressed the class to help us understand what were his expectations from us from the design project. He told us that he wanted us to work on the "Growth Engine" part of the product. By Growth Engine, he meant an active, robust, helpful community, with tools that connect people made for the at-home food grower. Next, he introduced the problem statement which is discussed below.


There is no organized place for new (and experienced) food growers to talk to each other and help each other out. Currently, there are Facebook groups, some online forums, a subreddit etc. The entire space is tribal, fragmented, and inconsistent. How do we leverage people and community - and the data we have about them - to improve people's growing and social experience with Gardenio?


- Motivate people to "Grow their own Food"

- Leverage people and community and the data about them 

- Make gardening a more social experience through Gardenio


- Anyone and everyone

- Urban Farmer: people with limited time and space living in apartments in urban cities

- No particular skill-set required


- Numerous platforms available for community building and events

- Nurturing the spirit of hands-on gardening via a mobile app

- Fun and playful

- Quirky Language


Following are the solution requirements as mentioned by ​Roman in his address. 

  • Identity: Users should have some version of a profile that identifies them, humanizes them, and gives them legitimacy. No avatars or handles.

  • Communicate: Users should be able to communicate with other gardeners in their area in some way

  • Media: Users should be able to share photo/vid media that chronicles their journey, allowing them to encourage each other or support each other. It should encourage user-generated content?

  • Trusted: There needs to be some way to identify credibility on certain issues.

  • Organized: This support should be indexed and catalogues in some meaningful way that makes it better than a forum. How do we take feedback and re-infuse them into our care guides?

  • Self-managed: The community must, as best it can, manage itself, or be low-management for Gardenio team. We should guard against the unruly or incidentally alt-right community.

  • Engaged: Community features should encourage engagement.

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  1. There are many platforms and applications where thousands of communities around all possible subjects are thriving successfully. It will be hard to distinguish Gardenio on the basis of a self-sustaining gardening community

  2. The needs, problems, and preferences differ vastly depending upon the type of customer.

  3. Various customer groups were identified on the basis of age, access to garden space, skill set & level of interest,  etc.

  4. It is going to be particularly difficult for the application to stand out based on the products and pricing. Therefore, it would be interesting to focus on packaging, delivery, support services, accessories, etc.

  5. Focussing on the content (guides, videos, help, etc.) on the application, and the amount of customization available will help the users stay connected with the app. This also provides users with a sense of control which in turn 

  6. Going back to Roman's kick-off who's fixation is on a self-sustaining community, it was clear that for another community-driven application to thrive customers need to feel passionate about the cause and simultaneously amply supported in their vision and mission of gardening by the application and community, no matter what stage of gardening they are in.


I ran a 5 - day sprint to come up with low-fidelity prototypes of the final mobile application. In addition to the low-fidelity prototypes, I also generated various detailed scenarios mapping the user experience of the application from start to end.


Day 1: Long-term goals & How Might We's

  • Sprint Questions

  • Story Map

  • How Might We?


Day 2: Remix, Improve, and Sketch

  • Take inspirations

  • Sketch

  • Critical thinking over artistry

[Idea 1] Product search as per user profile

[Idea 1] Product search options

[Idea 2] Computer Vision assisted help

[Idea 2] Problem Search options

[Idea 2] Problem Analysis


Day 3: Critique and Decide

  • Review Solutions

  • Decide best ones

  • Story-boards, scenarios


Based on the storyboard created, I chalked out scenarios to map user-journeys from point A to point B in the Gardenio mobile app. Some of these scenarios are shown below. 

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Day 4: Fake It till you Make It

  • Lo-fi Prototypes

  • Review Prototype

Out of the 6 scenarios, my Professor and I decided to map out 3. The decision was made based on factors like time, the novelty of the idea, idea overlap with fellow students, etc. Some of the lo-fi prototyped screen are shown below.


Day 5: Interview and Learn

  • Interview customers

  • Learn by watching

I interviewed a total of 3 people. A profile summary of each of the user can be found below:


User A:

- age: 30 years old

- time: few hours a week 

- space: apartment balcony

- level: beginner


User B:

- age: 62 years old

- time: few hours a day

- space: private lawn

- level: skilled


User C:

- age: 21 years old

- time: less than 2 hours a week

- space: shared balcony

- level: beginner

Some key takeaways from the interview:

  • All three users liked using the AI Bot to find a plant-mate.

  • User B was particularly "fascinated" and mentioned liking the bot idea "a lot".

  • User C mentioned liking the "Event Scheduler" feature and was affirmative of using it the most in the app.

  • None of the users were too excited about the details on the product page. One of the suggestions was to declutter it and keep written information on the lighter side.

  • User A and B completed all the tasks given using the prototype in stipulated time with no guidance.

  • User C was prompted with hints and cues twice during the completion of tasks, and they did not complete the task of scheduling an event, timely.


High fidelity prototype was created in Sketch for the Gardenio mobile application that takes the user through three important scenarios: 

1. Landing on a user or guest home page

2. Finding a product

3. Scheduling an event

Clich here to access the prototype