design a plant care app?
With technology woven into the fabric of our daily lives, mobile applications stand out as indispensable tools. Apps have become the go-to solution for various needs, with many niche-focused apps becoming super popular. Imagine having a personal guide for tending to your plants, ensuring they thrive and flourish.
Enter Charlotte Uddfors, a talented designer at global marketing giant Dentsu Creative. Combining her penchant for creativity with her love for greenery, she crafted the Flori app as a personal passion project. Underscoring the growing trend of personalized, purpose-driven applications, our interview with Charlotte unfolds the fascinating world of app design.
How do you come up with a great app idea?
As a Senior Designer at Dentsu Creative in New York City, Charlotte Uddfors is part of a larger team collaborating on projects for renowned brands such as IMAX, T-Mobile, Guinness, Walmart, and American Express. Now and then, she also takes on interesting projects as a freelance visual designer.
Wanting to challenge herself by managing an entire project from concept to execution, she decided to design an app that showcased her design skills while creating something genuinely helpful. All she needed was to come up with a good concept idea.
She thought of developing a plant care app because people in NYC really love having plants in their homes, but struggle to keep them alive. Another reason was realizing she had so much knowledge about greenery in her family already.
“I always get these beautiful large plants for my house, and they are expensive so I got so tired of killing them. My mother is a landscape architect, and realizing I never picked up any of these skills from her made me so mad at myself. How could I have not learned anything about how to care for plants while having this knowledge in the house? That’s how I decided to combine my passion for design with a passion from my family,” Uddfors explains.
Uddfors knew she would be wearing a lot of hats to develop this app; from conceptualizing its features to the UX design and even the name and logo.
How do you outline the design of an app?
After deciding on the name Flori for the app, she hand-drew a logo inspired by its core functionality; the watering feature. The logo shows the dot on the i in the shape of a waterdrop falling from the letter r as the “aha moment” that is common with strong logos.
To figure out what the flow and user journey would look like for the app, Uddfors just started sketching on paper first, creating wireframes for each feature she wanted to develop.
“Usually I only do the front-end design for projects at Dentsu, so the project outline and strategy with all the wireframes are developed by other team members, and then I come in to add all the beauty to it, working with iconography, colors, illustrations, typography, and animations to make it look good,” Uddfors says.
So for this personal project, she had to figure out where things would be placed in the app herself, like where all the images would need to fit. Going through all these steps was like a creative puzzle at times.
“It was kind of a user experience dance, I figured a lot of things out on the go. First I sketched on paper before creating the wireframes on the computer, adding the design layer with the visual identity on top,” Uddfors explains. “I wanted to make sure that the look felt very earthy like nature, and just kind of soft and easy to absorb.”
This explains the color palette of earth tones and the soft hand-drawn illustrations that really take it to the next level.
How do you develop the features of an app?
Uddfors created the onboarding feature which allows you to make a personal profile and add all your plants by scanning them with the camera on your phone. The app will then put together a guide and schedule for taking care of all the plants in your house.
“You will start receiving notifications that say something like; Hello! It’s time to water your Punta Cactus right now,” Uddfors explains. “But also things like when they need sun exposure or plant food.”
To ensure the app would be smart and intuitive, Uddfors outsourced some of the necessary technology for the features.
“The watering feature tells you exactly how often to water your plants in relation to the amount of sunlight they get, and even when you should move it to a different corner of your house because it's sunny in the northeast for example,” she says.
Other extra features include the possibility to send your plant care schedule to a friend when you are traveling, and even a feature for buying, selling, or trading your plants in NYC. Uddfors came up with this idea as she noticed people using Facebook groups for this very often.
“People in the Brooklyn area have tons of plants and can make money off them, but many people also place messages along the lines of “Hey, I have this gorgeous plant but it’s just not thriving in my home, does anyone want to take over maybe?” Uddfors says.
How do you ensure an app is engaging with a great user experience?
To make sure the Flori app made as much sense to other people as it did to herself, Uddfors ran continuous testing to ensure the app’s user-friendliness. But it also came down to providing an immense amount of information to users, which had to be 100% accurate to be useful.
A whopping 1000+ different plants were added to Flori’s database along with their care instructions. “Had it been possible at the time, it would have been so much easier and faster to do through AI tools,” Uddfors says.
However, as AI tools were not as advanced at the time, she depended on Wikipedia. Fortunately, it has an extensive library of plants of which most already included good photos she could use too.
Millions of different plants exist, so she ended up filtering out the ones suitable to keep indoors and sold within the US market as limitations. This way, users in the NYC area can find all the plants they have.
“The core problem Flori tries to solve is teaching people how to keep their plants alive. But the challenge for me also was, how do I make that journey fun for people?” Uddfors says. “I spent a lot of time on animated images and interactive pages to make the stories behind the plants fun and engaging, so people would really enjoy using the app too.”
The visual experience of the app did not go unnoticed, as Flori was included among The 9 Best Plant Care App Designs That Cultivate Seamless User Experiences by Designrush. Mentioning the quality of the digital art, the website also applauds Flori’s community-driven approach with its in-app marketplace.
Born from the creative mind of Charlotte Uddfors, the Flori app seamlessly blends design aesthetics with practicality. As technology evolves, personal projects like Flori showcase how designers can make a meaningful impact by addressing everyday challenges with creativity and innovation.