A mobile app designed for home gardening and tracking plant growth

Project Brief

Design Challenge: could quantified-self improve a skill-set? How would evidence of skill-building be tracked?

For crafty, earth-minded people who find themselves living in unnatural environments: GreenThumbs can help reconnect with plant life and become enthralled in a successful gardening experience. This project aims to create a quantified-self app which helps improve the user’s knowledge of gardening as they track progress and consult with in-app resources.

The application reinforces an awareness to plant needs and gardening tasks through feature persuasion and preloaded resources. Target users will be of a wide range, but most aspiring garden hobbyists live in urban and suburban areas. The application helps manage limited gardening space with simple step-by-step instructions automatically generated by the app. Simple commands are given to the user for basic tasks such as watering, feeding, or pruning plants.

Skills & Tools Used:

The Prototype

The proof of concept is portrayed in a series of mockups below highlighting areas of functionality throughout the app’s UX/UI design.

Home / Inventory Screen

The app opens to the home page—a digital inventory of registered plants. Each plant is registered by the user and can be organized into a series of spaces such as indoor rooms or front and back yards.

Once the user selects a regimen icon, a splash page will appear and elaborate on plant care needs. As the user is prompted to update their log entries with a photo of the plant, the frames will be tweened together in an animated loop. From this screen, the “photolog” entries can be created and managed.

Users can get a jump start with DIY projects. They can view and activate these from from the “Projects” screen. Users who seek educational resources about particular plants can access helpful tutorials and information from the in-app guidebook.

Each account the user is subscribed to will collect all updates into a single scrolling feed. A great place for inspiration. An example of the user’s profile which can be viewed, liked, and shared among friends.

The Research & Design Process

The areas of project research included the industry of quantified self, competitive analysis of existing gardening apps, and identifying the target users.

A mind-map exploring ideas and industries for potential quantified-self mobile apps.
A mind-map exploring ideas and industries for potential quantified-self mobile apps.
Target User Range & Competitive Landscape

The infographic here portrays target user and non-target user groups for this mobile app. The Landscape Analysis grid evaluates industry competitors along criteria of aesthetic and functionality. The design opportunity space which GreenThumbs would compete with is revealed.

Early sketches of UX/UI wire-framing & page-flow
GreenThumbs by Jacob McAdam, Prototype sketching
Refined sketches of UX/UI wire-framing & page-flow

Tight sketches of the app were necessary to organize page flow and user experience. This allowed a quick working of ideas without getting wrapped up in design details.

Logo, colors, typefaces, and icons used within the app design.
Branded infographic designs.

A series of infographics used for promotional materials. The finalized app logo, color scheme, typefaces, and iconography.


GreenThumbs is a quantified-self app that tracks progress of developing skills through photography and social media updates. The user is prompted when to take certain actions to develop a sense of routine. The user is virtually connected to an online community who is sharing their own progress where collaboration can freely occur. The application is designed to be comprehensive and a valuable resource of information about gardening.

This app was designed for GWAR course taught by Heidi Dunkelgod at SFSU (2017).

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