Project Overview

This  project covered a major portion of the product development lifecycle from business modeling and market analysis to user experience design and prototype development.


The Solution seamlessly combined a mobile application and smart sensor technology with services to simplify the food gardening experience for novice urban gardeners. 

Sassy Sprout is designed with a sassy personality which is intended to provide an engaging and fun way to interact with plants.


Simplify the food gardening experience for the novice urban gardener

The Work

An analysis of market needs for the novice urban gardener was conducted. Key business requirements were prioritized.

Defined a business model, and created PR collateral including a press release.

Prototyped the proposed mobile app, demonstrating interaction with the sensor and the use of the online marketplace.


The need to develop a solution with a low barrier to entry, given the lack of experience and time constraints for novice urban gardeners.

Designing the sensor notifications to reflect a sassy and fun personality of the plants without sounding rude. 


Defined an integrated solution that combined a mobile app, smart sensor, online marketplace and expert services.

Presented the solution for critical review to a peer audience at UW.

Research Question

How can the food gardening experience for novice urban gardeners be simplified, given that:

  1. They have a busy schedule that allows them very little time to monitor their plants, and

  2. Their lack of gardening experience combined with time constraints creates the need for a solution with a very low barrier to entry.


We surveyed a sample of prospective novice urban gardeners to obtain a more granular understanding of their behaviors and motivations related to food gardening. We used the results of this survey to prioritize requirements for feature design.

Can you describe why you have not grown your own plants?

What would motivate you to start growing your own plants?

Why do you like growing your own plants?

What kind of initiatives would encourage you to learn how to garden?

Now imagine that there is a service that makes it easy to grow your own plants...

What is the most you would be willing to play for your service?

Customer Survey
Designing the User Onboarding Experience

On the basis of information collected from literature as well as from insights obtained from the customer survey, the design team compiled and prioritized design requirements. The User On-boarding experience, which was prioritized as one of the top design requirements is presented below.  

Megan hears about Sassy Sprout. She visits the website and observes that the concept aligns with her busy urban lifestyle. 

She proceeds to sign up for an account. The process flow is illustrated below.

Process Flow

She enters her first name, email, and a password to set up an account.

Because it’s her first time on Sassy Sprout, she is presented with a quick survey.

Then Megan is presented with personalized garden kits recommended just for her.

She selects a garden kit, adds it to her basket, and proceeds to checkout.

She checks out and then sees on a map that City People’s Garden Center, one of Sassy Sprout’s partner stores is located near her apartment and can assemble her garden kit.

So she schedules to pick up the garden kit from City People’s tomorrow after work.


The last thing she does is download the Sassy Sprout mobile app to her iPhone.

Megan receives her first notification


Feature 1: User On-boarding Step 1 - Open An Account

Feature 1: User On-boarding Step 2 - Answer Questions

Feature 1: User On-boarding Step 3 - Select Garden Kit

Feature 2: User Customizes their Garden Kit

Feature 3: User Sets Up The Sensor And The Mobile Application