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TriGreen

An indoor, compact hydroponics system

TriGreen is a compact, indoor smart hydroponics system that allows users to enjoy the growth and consumption of fresh produce from the comforts of their home. It is offered in modular sets allowing multiple units to be stacked at a time.

The vertical nature of this system solves the issue of increasingly limited space that many urbanities living in Singapore face today. The overall structure also acts as a decorative feature in homes. The app generates alert notifications, tracks the progress of the conditions of the plants and holds an online community for users to share their experiences.



Nanyang Technological University Singapore

DR3006 Product Design III

OVERVIEW

DURATION

September - November 2020 (2 months)  

ROLES

UI/UX Designer, Product Designer, CAD Designer

SOFTWARES

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Hydroponics is a method of growing plants without soil by using mineral nutrient solutions in a water solvent. Many benefits of hydroponics includes water conservation, fewer chemicals, healthier needs and most importantly bigger yields. This coincides with Singapore’s “30-by-30” goal to produce 30% of Singapore’s nutritional needs locally by 2030. With 90% of Singapore’s food imported from neighbouring countries, the idea of growing own produce from the comforts of one’s home seems an ideal scenario. Singapore is vulnerable to the volatility of the global food market.

01 / 
OVERVIEW

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Creating a compact, indoor hydroponics system with a simple and intuitive user experience. 

A compact, indoor hydroponics system that allows users to enjoy the growth and consumption of fresh produce from the comforts of their home, through an pp with step-by-step instructions and a readily available kit of the unit and seeds.

The complexity and constant maintenance of growing hydroponics is the main concern, especially with the hustle and bustle fo Singapore. Poor management of the produce such as inadequate water, lighting, nutrients,  can result in improper growing conditions.

02 / 
CHALLENGE

By incorporating current technology and agriculture methods, this creates a simple and hassle-free hydroponics system that promotes cultivation of vegetables and fruits for household needs, and can accommodate to the user’s lifestyle.

The primary goal is to use technology to help bring back natural elements back into homes of Singapore’s concrete jungle, by allowing users to grow their own vegetables for personal consumption in a clean and efficient way.

03 / 
GOAL

Design Process

1

2

3

4

5

Empathise

Research
 

Define

User Persona

Ideate

User flow, Sketches

Build

Wireframes, Prototype

Test

Final UI Screens

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Primary Research

RESEARCH METHOD

An online survey with 34 participants was conducted to better understand my users. The questions are in regards to users’ attitudes and opinions towards hydroponics.

The survey consists of a range of multiple choice and open ended questions. 

•  Are you interested in eating produce that is                     hydroponically grown?

•  What kind of housing estate do you live in?

•  What is the most important factor when buying               produce?

Questionnaire Results

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75%

Interested in having personal hydroponics system

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88%

Live in Apartment/HDB, compared to a landed property

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68%

Would opt for locally produced vegetables

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81%

Are full-time students or working adults who have "busy schedules"

RESEARCH METHOD

Secondary Research

Narrowing scope

Only green, leafy vegetables with similar growing conditions will be successful. This allows for multiple different vegetable to be grown in a close environment with a mutual source of nutrients and water. 

How does the system work?

 Factors                                        Ideal conditions

Light                                          16 hours a day

Temperature                                Daytime 26 - 28 C
                                

Nighttime 20 - 23 C
                                

                                                     Clone above 80%

Grow stage 60%-80%

Bloom stage 50%-60%

Humidity                                

pH level                                         5.8 to 6.8 
                                

6.3 is considered optimal

IDEATION

Visual Storyboard

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DEFINE

System Breakdown

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Purchase 1 unit of the product including first two months worth of pods = 20 pods

Users will open the box to reveal instructions on how to set up properly  
       
a)   Place seeds inside rockwool cubes         
b)   Soak rockwool cubes and germinate seeds until it grows 2-3 inches tall with 3-4 leaves         
c)   Then, place rockwool cubes into nesting cup         
d)   Measure and pour required amount of water into water reservoir         
e)   Measure and pour ratio of each nutrient solution into water reservoir and stir well

Connect to mobile app using WiFi (indoors)

Users monitor the growth of their plants in real-time using the app

Users will be alerted when plants have failed to grow properly and the system will assess faults and inform users

Users will be alerted when plants are ready to be picked to be used in cooking ingredients

If users choose to grow more plants they may choose to purchase another unit to add to the modular collection

Users can use the app to view range of pods and order individual pods OR subscribe to a monthly subscription service

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USER PROFILE

Target Audience

The three types of target audience for my project will most likely be aimed at people who would use this unit for their profession (teachers and botanists), the other would be house owners who would use it when on vacation, and the last would be strong garden enthusiasts who enjoy it as a hobby.

All of these are aimed at males AND females with interests in gardening or cooking or for commercial uses. From research, I have concluded that the majority of the customers would be specifically be between the 25-34 age group, however I have decided not to limit it to this as my customers may be all ages 25+. 

USER RESEARCH

User Persona

Using the quantitative and qualitative data from the survey results, I created three target profiles to better empathise with the user's needs. 

Note: these are based purely from assumptions and the survey results.

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South East Asia, specifically Singapore; mainly warm seasons, urban or suburban areas– city or suburbs.




Aged 25-55; both genders– male AND female, part-time OR full-time workers OR housewives; marital status– single and/or married; with or without children; middle to high disposable income.




Likes– travelling but not too frequently, relaxing at home, interests in gardening and nature, few interests in fitness and health

Behaviour– tends to stay inside, lack of exercise

Value– does not mind spending a majority of their income on spending it on the care of their plants. 

Geographic

Demographic

Psychographic

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User Goals

After identifying the user personas, and the different types of users that may use the product, I defined the user goals to helps us influence our design decisions to consistently address our key goals. 

1

View plant conditions in real-time

2

View water level in real-time

3

Receive alert notifications for poor plant conditions

4

Receive alert notifications for low water level

IDEATION

Product Features Mapping

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IDEATION

User Flow

Designing our user flow allowed me to better understand the user journey to complete specific tasks, and allows me to view the flow of screens to craft later.

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IDEATION

Initial Sketches

We started sketching screens of top priority to help us brainstorm and refine ways of presenting the information that users could easily understand. We ideated different ways for the functions we had prioritised, and discussed to continuously improve and generate new and innovative features. 

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PROTOTYPING

Low-fidelity mockups

After understanding our wireframe sketches and thinking about the preliminary flow, we proceeded to translate the sketches into digital low-fidelity mockups, crafting the screens using simple shapes for the composition. This allowed us to test the functionality of the product as well as attempt to visualise the whole user experience. 

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PROTOTYPING

Adobe XD
Screens

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DISPLAY

Final Interfaces

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Usability Testing

I asked a group of 5 people aged 21-35 to test the prototype, to identify user pain points and difficulties. I asked them to complete a set of tasks that can help me observe the way they navigate through the app. 

The questions include but are not limited to:

1. Can you scan the unit successfully?
2. Can you add your choice of produce successfully?
3. Can you view the overall visual charts, statistics and history information?
4. Can you upload a photo to the shared community?
5. What is the overall experience like?
6. What improvements can be made?

TESTING

Test Results

Test Completion Rate: 100%
Error-free rate: 85% 

4 out of 5 participants were able to scan the unit successfully 
5 out of 5 participants were able to add their choice of produce successfully
3 out of 5 participants were able to view the overall visual charts, statistics and history information successfully 
5 out of 5 participants were able to upload a photo to the shared community successfully 
4 out of 5 participants felt that the overall experience is simple and easy to navigate

Improvement #1

View most recent history immediately

Users said that having to click on multiple interfaces before reaching the overall statistics and growing conditions of the plat is too time-consuming. 

Be able to view growth conditions upon launching the app and offer the option to sort by filter e.g. most recent, requires attention, etc 

Use of colour red instead of orange to show critical information, shows urgency of situation

Improvement #3

Generate a status summary for each produce

Due to several pots within each unit, a user suggested to generate a status summary of each produce daily/weekly/bi-weekly, and consolidate information of one single unit for the user to access.

This aims to avoid confusion when users have to manoeuvre through a history of activities, unable to immediately identify which activity applies to which unit or pot. 

Improvement #2

Improve photo sharing experience

Consider the scenario of taking another photo after photo has been taken 

Allow users to delete a photo that has been taken 

Offer the feature of uploading photos that are already in your camera roll

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