What is it?
Challenged to envision what a Toronto “smart city” could look like, we designed Eden, a smart garden management system that utilizes office spaces of the urban city jungle to grow edible gardens. It combines urban farming green technology, LEED designations and the desire for a healthier, greener, minimal carbon footprint lifestyle. Eden was designed for desktop, mobile and smartwatch.
it began with research
We conducted literature reviews and found studies that connect urban environment, nature and mental health.
We searched the web and did competitive analysis on projects around urban farming and community gardens.
We explored opportunities in shipping container gardens, vertical gardens and green roof technologies.
And found interesting projects like Urban Skyfarm, Young Urban Farmers, Freight Farms that both inspired and pushed our own design with Eden.
More importantly we discovered the lack of apps built to help monitor and support the growth of indoor gardens.
Eden became an opportunity to fill this gap.
Our design process continued with:
1. Conceptual system design. This help visualize a) what the system will collect, b) how it will collect and c) how to transfer the collected data into the hands of the users.
2. Ontological structure. This clarified the ins and outs of Eden and the network of platforms that users would interface with.
3. User persona. This ideal proto-user influenced the main features of Eden allowing us to build our initial assumptions and later test with real users.
Our iteration process is a democratic one using design sprints to brainstorm ideas as fast and as many as possible.
It involved our team of six coming up with six initial design, explaining its logic, the look and its feel. Together we debated and chose what made sense from the proposed design to develop the final sketches. We did this for desktop, mobile, and smartwatch interface.
From initial sketches to the final design until user testing, iterations were made and tweaked.
Eden went through a heuristics evaluation and user testing. Based on tester’s feedback our team learned a few things particularly around accessibility and inclusive design:
Accessibility is a big consideration when dealing with responsive design across platforms
Consideration for accessible design goes beyond colour choices, padding, using simple language for copy text. Watch out for buttons and font sizes too! They may still be too small to read on mobile and smartwatches.
It was our first time using a design guideline. It became a useful document to ensure consistency and smoother collaboration.