Project Overview

  • Platform: Mobile Application
  • My Role: User Researcher, Interaction Designer, Content Strategist
  • Group Members: Katherine Hoffman, Hogeun Seo
  • Project Duration: 3 Months
  • Methods: Contextual Inquiry, Affinity Diagramming, Personas, Wireframing, Prototyping, User Testing
  • Tools: Pen and paper, AxureRP

The Problem

Currently, gardeners interested in supporting declining bee populations must go to multiple sources for their information and planning needs.

Solution

Using BeeCasa, gardeners will learn which plants help pollinators thrive, select plants that fit their needs, and design their garden to benefit both plants and insects. Users can learn about garden design, species of birds and butterflies, and plants while earning badges to mark their accomplishments.

Research Process

We spent hours in Central Texas gardens observing and interviewing gardeners. We talked with home owners new to gardening, apartment dwellers cultivating a box garden, and shoppers in local gardening stores. A local master gardener also led us through her gardening process.

Following our field work, we came together and created a detail affinity diagram, uncovering themes and common pain points for Central Texas gardeners. From there, we developed requirements based on users mental models, and created design-informing diagrams. Our research uncovered four primary roles: new resident, casual shopper, store clerk, and master gardener.

The need to be able to research plants, pollinators, and Central Texas gardening advice on the go led us to our decision to build a mobile app.

Ideation and Sketching

With our research in hand, we began to ideate. We built several user archetypes and ideated based on our research and requirement gathering.

After ideation, we took up paper and pencil and built our first paper wireframes. As part of this process we began to talk about gamification within the app, by creating a system of badge rewards. We built that into our final prototype.

Prototyping

After the ideation and skeching, we initiated an iterative design process. The design cycle began with low-fidelity interactive wireframes in created in Axure RP. We conducted usability research and returned to Axure to implement the changes suggested by our users.