Mobile Gardening Companion

 

Notes: 

  • This is the design of an experience, NOT A MOBILE APP. 
  • Add Customer Journey Map ***maybe use as the thumbnail? 

Overview

Grove makes it easy to grow fresh food at home, with connected indoor gardens that guide you along the way. In 2015, Grove shipped 50 Early Adopter Ecosystems in the Boston area, accompanied by a beta web-app that monitored the climate, controlled the environment and tracked water chemistry.

In the following year, I led the effort to design the native iOS app that would replace the beta web app. I spent hundreds of hours in customer homes (and offices). Through task analysis and observation, I identified what worked and didn’t about the beta product experience.

The Problem

The goal was to identify user needs and design a scalable version two of the product. Much
of my early work included customer discovery and concept validation as we identified the value proposition and price point for the v2 product.

Our first Early Adopter product had two issues: high customer support cost and low user engagement with the software tool. We knew a better software companion could replace the time our team spent addressing customer support issues. 

cormack-user-research-1

User Research

TOOLS

[add icons]

PROCESS

[create graphic] Explorative Research > Low Fi Prototypes > Evaluative User Testing

Early insight revealed that for our users, the technology and ecology fade into the background as the Grove becomes a lifestyle experience.

The Grove became a party of daily life for its owners, and storytelling, social interaction, even storage had to integrate into the habits of families and couples. Light settings were left on default, but gardens were planted and rearranged like artistic masterpieces. As a living, breathing ecosystem in their home, customers cared for it like a pet. People wanted more hand-holding, celebration and validation to create moments of pride in what they grew.

  • INCORPORATE: Gaming lessons in 'emergent mechanics' and the idea that connected devices can wean users OFF the mobile experience, aiming for a drop in engagement but a steady NPS score over time...

Results

The first version of the Grove Growing Assistant on the App Store [INSERT METRICS LIKE RETENTION, DROP IN CUSTOMER SUPPORT ISSUES ETC]. Add the things I want to work on next and how I'd improve it. Or just link to the project.

A Note on Synthesis in Startup Teams

To maximize the impact of user research across the many departments on the team, I experimented with ways to convey learnings continuously, and pass on artifacts that might influence design work on the software team, in the hardware workshop and manufacturing facility, and on the marketing team.

Key Insight
Indoor garden users want an all-knowing, confidence-boosting companion that celebrates their success. 

I iterated on the artifacts and tools used to distribute the insight, including an internal tumblr, printed posters, collaboratively created journey maps, weekly ‘#grovegrown’ gatherings at the office, and visualized user flows. [needs a 'result' (what did I learn by doing this? what worked best?) otherwise remove]

 

Graduated with a B.A. in Communication Design from Emerson College. Studied Product Design in Startup Insitute Boston's inaugural class. Marketing Manager at The Tap Lab, a mobile gaming startup focused on location & augmented reality. Founder of Colab Boston, an AIGA Design for Good partner. Raised overseas, uncomfortable with familiarity, lover of live music, skiing, Bourbon Ales, black coffee and weird food. Current favorite topics: The Internet of Things, serious games, data visualization and epic burgers.