Search and Identify Plants App by Patagonia

Carla Giannina
Sep 26, 2016 · 9 min read

The challenge this time was to explore a new problem / opportunity for an existing brand in a mobile platform that would be chosen by my time, conformed by Kevin Cudahy and Justin Lam.

We wanted to create something meaningful, focusing our design skills to contribute to the world in someway. We needed to define and validate a desirable role for the app and how it would meet the needs of the users. Once we had the chance to talk and share our personal interests, we were thrilled with the idea of creating a product for one of the coolest companies in the world: Patagonia.

The Research

Patagonia, Inc. is an American clothing company founded by Yvon Chouinard in 1973 that sells and showcases mainly sustainable outdoor clothing. Based in Ventura, California, Patagonia is part of several environmental movements and is a certified B Corp, meaning the company is committed to combatting public concerns (in this case environmental) alongside the profit motive.

“Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.” — Patagonia Statement

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Patagonia Brand Facts

Competitive Analysis

This initial part of the discovery phase was executed with the aim of understanding and defining an existing problem that could be generated during a outdoor activity. Our techniques included comprehensive competitive analysis, app layout analysis from direct competitors, heuristic analysis, surveys, interviews and personas among others.

We narrowed our competitors to those focusing directly on apps that helped users recognize wildlife or natural elements like plants and flowers, where there was a ton of incredible opportunities since some of these apps were poorly executed, or they did not achieve a high performance.

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Feature Analysis from other nature-friendly apps
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Screeners & Surveys

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User Interviews

A total of 5 remote interviews were conducted via hangouts and by phone. All of our users were male, educated, and all of them were employed.

Here some notable quotes from our interviewees:

“Explore new things, keep in contact with the nature to run away from the city makes me feel more human. “ — Daniel, Software Engineer

“I like the idea to feel the nature, I feel connection exploring, seeing different things such animals, flowers, etc. Also, I like to teach this to my kids”. — Bo, Interactive Director

“Flowers are beautiful, I would love to know more about them but I guess I would check at home” — John, UX Designer

The Opportunity

Synthesis: What We Discovered

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Affinity Diagram
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Key Insights

Our Problem Statement

With thousands of plants around us, I feel overwhelmed. My environmental literacy is disappointing considering my love of nature and the outdoors. I would love to know more about the flora in my area and be able to identify plants when I see them on my explorations.

Planta is an app that instantly identifies flowers, leaves and plants from photos stored in a built-in database. The first iteration will focus on New York State.

Planta Badges: The Discount Strategy

According with the reputable blog of marketing Convince&Convert, with the rapid development of technology including the invention of the internet, coupons have also changed over time, becoming predominantly distributed through online channels. Online coupons and promotion codes drive incremental spending. Numerous researches reveals that users of consumers coupons respond favorably and enjoy being able to easily search for deals from their favorite brands.

Patagonia has high-end and expensive products, with this initiative we could help to boost their online sales through this ap but the most important, we want turn occasional users and customers into fans. Patagonia is focused on promoting the ideas, passions and beliefs that their customers hold dear, that also relate to the Patagonia brand.

Persona: Meeting Lena

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Lena is awesome!
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The Design

Can We Build It?

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Google Cloud Vision API, a powerful image analysis that enables developers to understand the content of an image by encapsulating powerful machine learning models.

The Google Maps JavaScript API is a powerful, popular mapping API. It’s simple to use to add maps to your website, web or mobile application, and provides a wide range of services and utilities for data visualization, geo-localization, directions, and more.

Feature Prioritization

  • Ability to identify flora through image recognition
  • Ability to identify flora through a search/filter function of the database
  • Ability to unlock Patagonia coupons after completing certain tasks through a game
  • Users will be able to read articles on how to properly forage & protect their environment

User Flow

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Badge collection User Flow

Sketches & Wireframes

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Some of our initial sketches for PLANTA
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One of my first mid-fidelity wireframes for PLANTA in a green scheme palette

In order to maintain the connection between Patagonia and Planta, we applied the Patagonia color scheme to ensure users recognized the brand through our app.

User Testing

I am not sure where should look for this leave. I don’t see the search box — John, Developer

The badge screen is very cool, I want more badges! — Mike, UXDI Student

What is “Protect” and “Forage”? I am not sure… — Lindsay, UXDI Student

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Browser — Home screen
  1. Added standard iOS chevrons to help the user navigate the interface.
  2. Added the leaf icon in the secondary nav to differentiate from the “Browse” icon in the bottom nav.
  3. Added helpful text to suggest search options to user — in line with the Patagonia web search.
  4. Users confused zip code with number of plants. Changed location info to reflect place name rather than zip code.
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Badges Screen

5. Removed chevron because the Badge page is in its own nav section.

6. Changed language for Badge criteria to make it more understandable.

7. Added banner for a Patagonia coupon to let users understand the reason for these badges.

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My Planta Screen

8. Removed extra icons and added a highlight bar to signify your location in the app.

9. Increased font size and put leaves against a white background.

Final Prototype

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What I learned

User Needs And Business Goals Go Hand In Hand

Do Not Break Conventions If You Don’t Need To

Next Steps

Short Term

  • Improve interactions in the top nav.
  • Integrate “First Aid” information.

Long Term

  • Integrate the offline mode to allow user search without internet.
  • Develop a plan to escalate the database (how the results will show with X amount of plants).

Thanks for reading!

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