Context

This is an interface design project for an imaginary future product: Grow Pro, which helps people to know and to take care of their plants.

I decided to do another ‘designing the controlling interface for an autonomous vehicle’ brief as I am not quite satisfied with the one I did in my second year. I set myself rules base on the Adobe Awards and have chosen the Digital Products + Experiences from the categories.

Research and Motivation

Plants not only absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen for humans and other animals but keeping a plant at home can also improve people’s health and overall happiness. However, people kill their plants unintentionally, as plants are unable to tell when they are hungry or thirsty as pets do. I also had the personal experience of not knowing how to keep a plant survive.

Therefore there needs to be a smart planting system that tells the users what exactly their plants need, or, even allow the plants to take over some control of home facilities such as lighting and heating when the users are not in.

Images collected from Pinterest
Images collected from Pinterest

Helping the plants is not a brand new idea as people have been thinking about auto watering and lighting system for plants, but my imaginary product will purposely exclude the self-watering function, in order to keep the connection between the users and plants and offering the senses of caring and companionship.

Nowadays People spend a large amount of time on mobile phones and carry their phones everywhere. A smart pot with an App can make people more connected with their plants and also educate plant lovers.

Persona

The main target user for this product would be busy professionals and young people who want to understand their plants better but not yet had enough planting experience for it.

Other Potential users may include

  • Students living alone and cannot have pets in accommodation but need companionship
  • Parents using it as an educational tool for children
  • People not capable to move their plants around the house

The Physical Product & Functions

The smart pot moves around like Rumba. It follows people around, makes a sound when it needs care and when people interact with them, such as changing mode and watering. It will look for the best spot at home and turn around to receive even sunlight. It follows people around when it needs some attention or when it is just being happy.

Potentially the smart system can go further by enabling plants to take over home control (curtain, heating, lighting), and over time more actions can be unlocked, users may even able to take plants out for a walk.

idea_pot

The Digital Product

An App on smart devices that tells what the plants need.

mockup_phone
App Mockup

The Outcome

Demonstration video of the physical product

Demonstration video of the app

Grow Pro app sends notifications when actions are needed, allowing the users to monitor the status of their plants, and to give each plant its own name. There are Active and Silent modes for each plant and different type of plants will have their own bio.

Working Process & Reflection

After doing the research and defining the main target users, I started drawing the user flow and did a quick paper prototyping. Then I transferred them into wireframes and checked all the possible interactions.

proto_paper

Lastly, I chose colours that respond to the topic and made a high fidelity prototype, during this process I also did some simple testing by asking friends to talk about their feeling about the interfaces in different colours.

proto_testing_colour

gif_proto

After tested the interactions and imagined it is used in a real world scenario, I added the registration and login function to allow the users to sync the data across devices. I also considering other functions such as sharing plant data with friends and family.

During the prototyping process, I found that certain interactions and functions are not easy to demonstrate, especially when the app is expected to receive data and use them on other screens, or the app functions include retrieving data from a database. I think prototypes with such kinds of interactions would look much more real with some coding.

proto_hi_interact