Users living in apartment complexes typically lack access to yards or common areas that they can cultivate. Many users wish to garden but lack the space to do so. On the other hand, other individuals residing in the same community have available space but lack the time, resources or knowledge to grow and maintain a garden. How can we connect users who wish to garden but lack the space to individuals who would like a garden but lack the time or monetary resources?
In order to come up with a system to meet users needs I first focused on alternative brainstorming to discover all potential options of an interactive system that would address my problem statement. This allowed me to explore all options before deciding on a mobile application. Then I developed a brief story board sketch to show how users might interact with the application.
I created a physical story map with post-it notes to visualize and categorize the different potential tasks users of my mobile application would utilize. I also came up with variations illustrated through the blue post- it notes that show how different users may approach a task and potentially break the current narrative. This process helped me to better understand what my potential mobile app may look like and the different features it could have.
I used Balsamiq to create wireframes, which allowed me to layout a few of the interactions of the mobile application. I took some of the broad categories from my story map and included those components in my wireframes. This allowed me to broadly start thinking about visualizing my solution before entering the prototyping phase.
I utilized paper prototyping in order to get a better sense of the individual interactions a user would take. By physically cutting paper and coloring different selected states I was able to see these interactions come to life. This was also my first stage of user testing where I was able to get value feedback from users before starting a digital prototype. I went through two ideations of a paper prototype making small and large scale changes before transitioning to digital prototyping.
After my initial paper prototype I was able to further understand how users would engage with Plot and uncovered a few minor usability issues and areas that could be further developed based on user feedback. Most of my paper prototype focused on the initial signup process through key interactions. However, I need to further develop how the user would engage with the application after the signup process. Through my digital prototype I emphasized refining the relationship between the landowner and the gardener through messaging, notifications and the layout of their profile. For this phase, I went through four ideations and two rounds of user testing.