Your Indoor Gardening Companion

  • Identify your plants with Artificial Intelligence
  • Understand your growing environment
  • Instructions tailored to your needs

Project Brief

Lushly is an indoor gardening app for people who are bad with plants. It takes the guesswork out by providing instructions tailored to the user’s context – such as the types of plants and the local environmental conditions – using Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Augmented Reality (AR). It is also for people who are comfortable with plants but will like to take their practice to the next step.

Lushly is the final project of my study at the BrainStation Toronto – UX Design Diploma program. It was completed part-time over the course of 10 weeks.

Time Frame

April – June 2020


Product Design / UX / UI




Sketch, Invision, Marvel, Affinity Designer

Potential Space

With urbanization and the diminishing green space, the interest for bringing nature indoor, i.e. as houseplants, has been steadily increasing. However, there is a general lack of knowledge on indoor gardening. This gap between knowledge and desire is riped for an intervention.

Research Insights

For research references please see the end of the case study.

“Millennials are using houseplants to replace spouses, children & pets… are 88% more likely to keep plants in their bedrooms than those aged 65 or over.”

“Today’s gardeners are bringing the outdoors in… directly influenced by the wellbeing trend. They are buying many more large houseplants than they did in the past to help them create this calming look and feel in the home.”

“Google searches for ‘air purifying plants’ and ‘aloe vera’ were up 550% YoY in 2017, with searches for air-cleaning ‘snake plants’ up 700%.”

“30% of people feel they do not have the tools or skills to garden.”

“… the late Bloomers… increasingly keen to garden, but see it as complicated and confusing, and are lacking in confidence”

“On average, millennials have killed 7 houseplants… 67% call themselves plant murderers”

How Might We…

make indoor gardening a more straightforward process for amateur enthusiasts?

Project Assumptions

Competitor Analysis

Overall, the current offerings require users to have prior knowledge about the identity of their plants or what they need (i.e. how often to water). Most of them are more about journaling than offering answers.

Indoor Plant Guide

A mini encyclopedia about plants you may grow indoor.

  • Great amount of useful information but the delivery is too dense.
  • Options are presented without clear hierarchy of relevance.
  • Users need to know the identity of the plants and their names.
  • Number and size of images for reference are not enough.


Plant organizer and care scheduling app.

  • Good use of images; clear overview of all the plants.
  • Setting up is simple.
  • Includes nuances that users can find tune.
  • Requires user to know certain information before hand (plant identity, moisture requirement).

Plant North

Companion app for a separate environment monitoring device; tracking moisture, light, and temperature.

  • Clear data that’s straight to the point.
  • Plant identifier is a great feature.
  • Clear charts for tracking.
  • Companion app for a monitoring device; an alternative business model.


Plan organizer and water scheduling app.

  • Great illustrations.
  • Simple and clean design.
  • Limited function (water scheduling only).

User Interviews



  • 5 interviewees; people who liked to have or had indoor plants.
  • Remotely using video chat.
  • Semi structured with 12 questions (warm up, general, specific, wrap up).


  • Lack of diversity; most interviewees were in the same demographic: 25-35, single, young professionals living in Toronto.
  • Only one interviewer to conduct, observe and take notes.
User Interview

Interview Insights (Condensed)

Gardening and indoor plants have a strong association with childhood and especially mothers.

Indoor plants are associated with physical and mental well-beings.

These will inform the tone of voice, social aspect, marketing, and content materials.

Watering is the #1 challenge and it’s also usually the only thing a user knows to care about.

The lack of general knowledge is the most common deterrent.

Information needs to be delivered in a simple and bite-size manner or user may give up.

These will inform the functions of the app and how content should be delivered.

Edible plant is an important sub-category in indoor gardening.

This area deserves its own exploration and can be expanded on in future development.

Persona (Condensed)

Distilled and remixed from the User Interviews (secondary persona – experienced gardener – not shown).

“I am not ready to go into a deep dive on gardening but I want to keep my houseplants alive; they really add characters to my place.”


The Budding Novice

  • 31 years old
  • Designer
  • Single
  • Lives alone in a condo
  • Downtown Toronto

As a 2nd generation Canadian with family root in Southern Asia — a subtropical region — Ash has a affinity to plants but never got into gardening.

Ash is…

  • Energetic
  • Intuitive
  • Impatient

He likes to…

  • Stay active
  • Connect with people
  • Try out new things
  • Stay organized

He is frustrated with…

  • Not knowing what to do with different types of plants
  • Not knowing where to start
  • Killing his plants
  • Not knowing what plants he has

He needs…

  • A way to identify his plants
  • Something that just tells him what to do, when to do it
  • A way to share his success

Ash’s Experience Map

Ash receives three houseplant as a housewarming gifts.

Ash’s User Stories and Epics (Condensed)

Ash is a novice gardener, with this app he wants to…

Primary Task Flow

The primary task flow the app prototype will focus on: adding a new plant and setting up basic care instructions.

Unlike existing solutions on the market, instead of asking users like Ash to input care instructions — which as a novice gardener Ash will have no idea about — the app will instead identify the plant and ask for environmental conditions that Ash can use his phone to collect. With these data the app will then suggest care instructions that Ash can simply follow.

Ideation and Prototyping

Process Overview

Sketch Samples

Medium Fidelity Prototype

Device: Samsung S9

User Testings



  • 2 rounds of 5 testers; people who liked to have or had indoor plants.
  • Remotely using video chat and InVision Prototype.
  • Structured with 5 specific tasks and general impression questions.


  • Lack of diversity; most testers were in the same demographic: 25-35, single, young professionals living in Toronto, digitally savvy.
  • Only one interviewer to conduct, observe and take notes.

User Testing Results (Condensed)

In general, information needed better hierarchy and should have been simplified. Certain navigational issues arose, such as the lack of pagination indicator and CTA. Design should have followed Material Design principle better.

Missing CTA on the first screen.

Information hierarchy was not strong enough; certain key information was easily missed.

Certain types were too small and easily ignored.

Certain information was too wordy and not clear without an image. Information too technical for regular users should have less prominence.


Examples of incremental improvements between prototype versions.

Moodboard and Inspiration

Before approaching the high fidelity prototype.

UI Inspirations

Sample Style Guide

High Fidelity Prototype

Device: Samsung S9


Learning Outcome

As a near end-to-end case study by one person — part time in the span of 1.5 months — there were several limitations.
Several improvements could be made in the process given more time and resource, such as:

  • Better ideations by doing group brainstormings
  • Utilizing multiple primary research methods
  • More robust user testings
  • Further developing business viability
  • Involving business stakeholders

Next Step

To continue this project further from the UX perspective:

  • Fully flush out all functions and task flows in high fidelity
  • Complete the design system
  • Include on-boarding materials
  • Additional user testings
  • Continue to iterate and improve

Thanks for reading. Feel free to contact me to discuss this project further or leave a comment below.

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