UX, WEB DESIGN

Bringing the plant boutique
experience online

 

LinkedIn-cover-min

The importance of online in small businesses.


Public Land is a small business in Sacramento, California that sells unique and rare plants and plant accessories. Public Land is known for their unique and trendy plant boutique store and gets walk by visitors. To bring their unique plants to a larger audience, Public Land brought their products online. However, their existing online store has a little information architecture and doesn’t provide an easy way for users to search for plants and plant accessories.

My Role

For this project I worked as a freelance designer helping a small business with their online presence. I was the solo UX designer including user research, product design, and design fidelity testing in this project.

ROLE
UX Designer, Visual Designer

TIMELINE & OUTPUT
Web design
2 Week Project

TEAM 
UX Designer
Client

The Problem

In order to perserve the uniqueness of Public Land, how can we bring the local plant boutique buying experience online?

Finding the Issues

To get a better understanding of the current Public Land Store and the pros and cons with the site, I conducted some usability testing of how users navigate the current website. I asked 5 people to complete tasks on the current site and followed up with questions with the problems they encountered. Many users were unsure what was offered from the store with navigation header. For example the “Everything Else” tab did not lend users information on what products were in that tab. Users also got overwhelmed by the amount of plants under the plants tab and were interested in ways to filter the plants to find them faster.

Navigation header does not let users know what is being sold (i.e. everything else)

Limited information architecture and no way to filter plants to make for easier shopping.

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Research

Why Plants?

After conducting the 5 user interviews and sending out user surveys via Google Forms, I took the answers from all the interviewees and wrote them on post-it-notes digitally through the Miro online application. The process of affinity mapping helps me visually categorize what the users value by the amount of similar quotes that were given between interviewees.

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Why People Shop and Use Plants

After writing out all the post-its and then categorizing the values I was able to see patterns emerge. I noticed that people value plants for mostly how the look at what they provided to a home.

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Value how easy a plant is to stay alive.

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Buy plants for trendy decor in their house.

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Value how plants look and their trendiness

What Makes Public Land Plant Store Unique? 

Once I found more information on how and why people shop for plants I wanted to bring my focus back to the Public Land plant store. I was interested in finding out what Public Land had to offer that differed from other companies. I chose to compare Public Land to Bloomscape (an online plant store), Home Depot (a large online and retail store that sells plants), Folia Collective (a local plant store that sells some of their plants online), and Amazon (a large online store).

By using competitive analysis I sought to find why Public Land is different than other stores and what it had to off that was different. In doing this research I found that Public Land is a plant boutique that offers unique plants and a knowledgable staff. Since it is a local store it has a staff that knows a lot about its plants and it also differs than Home Depot in the way that its selection of plants is large and unique. Going forward I asked the question: How could I bring this local plant store boutique feel online?

Competitive-Analysis-Copy

Public Land is a plant boutique that offers unique plants and a knowledgable staff. Let's bring that uniqueness online.

Shoppers need a way to shop for plants by difficulty and be inspired by the plants for decor because users value plants as trendy decorations and being able to keep plants alive.

Natural Ways to
Shop for Plants

After developing my problem statement I still needed more information into how users shop for plants.  In order to see how the users naturally filter shopping for plants I conducted a card sorting surgery. On the cards I put pictures of plants and some attributes of the plant like how the much light it needs, and what type of plant it is. I then instructed users to sort the plants and other items that Public Land sells. Below is an example of how users sorted the cards. Users sorted the cards by type and amount of light a plant needs as well where an item will be stored for non plant products.

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Solution

Public Land navigation allows you to filter plants by difficulty and type while also allowing you to connect with the staff online.

The site also features inspirational images of the plants in use and the unique plants the boutique offers so people are inspired to find new decoration for their house.

Site Map

After developing my problem statement I still needed more information into how users shop for plants.  In order to see how the users naturally filter shopping for plants I conducted a card sorting surgery. On the cards I put pictures of plants and some attributes of the plant like how the much light it needs, and what type of plant it is. I then instructed users to sort the plants and other items that Public Land sells. Below is an example of how users sorted the cards. Users sorted the cards by type and amount of light a plant needs as well where an item will be stored for non plant products.

SiteMap-1
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Trendy Users

The needs of my user personas reflect the needs of users from the problem statement that I gathered from the user interviews. I developed my users from the research of the interviews I conducted and my problem statement. First user I created was Trendy Theresa. Theresa is the epitome of trend and the trendiness item is everyone’s house right now is live plants. She doesn’t want to find plants at a big box store because their selection is usually generic and the plant acessories aren’t on trend. She’s moving soon and needs to fill her new apartment with plants and pots quickly to beautify her apartment with the trendiest decoration.

“I love trendy plants and want to decorate my new apartment with them quickly! I want to find unique plants and cute plant accessories!”

Goals
To find trendy and unique plants to decor and to be able to purchase these plant and matching plant accessories

Needs
Theresa needs a way to be inspired by plants as home decor and also a way to search for the plants by type

Trendy Theresa’s needs led me to brainstorm ideas on how she could quickly find some trendy plants and get inspired by them as home decor. I knew I wanted Theresa to have big images of plants in homes as inspiration on each plant page as well as the home page. I also wanted her to be able to search for trendy plants by popularity and type quickly. These ideas led me to develop a user flow for Theresa that would address her needs. 

Amateur Plant Parents

For my second user, I wanted to focus on the other part of the problem statement that I found in my user interviews. I created Amateur Alex. Alex wants to beautify his home. When he researches home decor he keeps seeing plants as a great way to decorate his house but he is weary of buying plants because he doesn’t have the best reputation of keeping them alive! He wants to be able to interact with a knowledgable staff but still have the option of a great and unique library of plants.

"I want to decorate my house with beautiful greenery but I do not have a green thumb!"

Goals
To be able to purchase an easy to take care of plant.

Needs
Alex needs information about plants including plant care and a way to contact the staff for plant help.

Amateur Alex’s needs led me to brainstorm some ideas on how I could get him quick facts and guides for taking care of plants while also being able to quickly chat about plants and how to take care of them with the knowledgable staff. I decided to add to the site a chat button on the home page so if Alex felt overwhelmed right from the beginning he could have someone quickly guide him to a plant. I also decided to add to the site plant guides. These guides are downloadable pdfs attached to each plant that gives Alex the ability to reference how to care for a plant quickly. These guides are a unique way for a site to help spread knowledge to its consumers. I implemented these ideas into Alex’s user flow.

 

Design

Finding Inspiration for
E-commerce Layouts

Before I started sketching out some wireframe ideas I decided to get some layout inspiration for the navigation and page designs. I wanted to find inspiration from sites that had a clean and modern design as I planned on adding a lot of imagery of plants to the design. I wanted to keep the elements on the page simple to show off the beautiful imagery.

LayoutInspiration

Sketches

After I gathered some inspiration I then started to work on some sketches. I sketched each page that my two users in the user task flows would navigate to.

sketches

Mid-Fidelity
Prototype & Testing

After creating the sketches I got to work on creating wireframes. I used the Sketch application to create wireframes.

 

Testing Results

For the first round of user testing I asked users to find a popular, rare, indoor plant and a pot to go with it and add it to your cart and then checkout. I tested and interviewed five users on their process and experience in completing this task. From test and interviews I was able to synthesize that users wanted a way to quick shop items for the site especially accessories. Many users expressed to me that this was an important way to quickly add items to the shop.

Artboard-1

In my second round of user testing I wanted to see how users reacted to the filters on the navigation and if they could find an easy plant to take care of without chat with someone else. All 5 users tested were able to complete the task.  With the information I gathered from testing this user flow I was able to make some edits on the next round of wire framing. Users also expressed to me that they would like to shop for an easy to take care of plant in the navigation. I add difficulty as a second navigation in the navigation bar.

Artboard-Copy-1

Rustic & Inviting

After testing the mid-fidelity prototype, I worked on taking my design to a higher fidelity by adding images and colors to the design. I was inspired by the color of the desert as well as the dark green of plants to create my color scheme. Most of the plants on Public Land feature this color green and the site sells many cactus and succulent plants that relate to the desert. Along with a color scheme, I developed a mood board for the project. Since the site has a lot of complex images of plants I wanted the text and elements to remain simple which is why my mood board features simple images. I also wanted my mood board to be rustic and inviting as that is how you feel when you enter the physical space of the store.

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Hi-Fidelity Design

After gaining some design inspiration from my mood board I set out to design my high-fidelity wireframes. Some of the elements on the home page of the wireframes changed due to image constraints. I made sure that the images chosen for the site were inspirational for the user so that they felt inspired that a certain plant on Public Land could fit in their home as a natural and unique decoration piece

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This website was made with love and many
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