Stem for Apartment Therapy

Client: Student Project — My Role: UX Designer — Project Duration: 2 Weeks — Platform: native iOS
Tools: Sketch, Invision, OmniGraffle, Adobe CC, Google Forms

Project overview

Considering the resurgent popularity of houseplants, my team and I decided to explore options for a mobile app that would support plant care.


Brand partnership

An integral part of this project was choosing a well-known brand which might be interested in a partnership to launch the app. 

After considering a number of home goods, lifestyle, and gardening brands including Real Simple and Star Nursery, we chose Apartment Therapy. Since its founding in 2004, Apartment Therapy has launched a marketplace app (along the lines of Craigslist.org) and founded a sister site centered on cooking (thekitchn.org). In early 2018, the brand also welcomed an in-house "plant doctor" (@hiltoncarter) on Instagram and announced a separate Instagram account dedicated to the topic (@iplanteven).

Competitive analysis

We found two English-language native apps whose primary focus was caring for houseplants. 

Other apps we considered were iScape, primarily a landscape planning tool, and Garden Plant Pro, which focuses on larger outdoor gardening and planting cycles.


Interviews & synthesis


To investigate the goals and pain points of our target audience, we conducted 10 interviews with plant owners who had experienced varying degrees of success with indoor gardening.

Above, a digitized version of affinity mapping based on interview responses.

Problem statement

Home decor enthusiasts are interested in adding houseplants to their homes as an affordable, beautiful, harmonious addition to any room, but they don’t always have access to trustworthy information and care reminders.

How might we support houseplant owners in their efforts to successfully cultivate green spaces within their homes?


User journey 

research to design

Research to design

How "I statements" point directly to features and design elements

“I don’t know how to care for plants and their casualty rate is the only thing growing”
Notifications that support plant care

“I’m not as skilled as I’d like to be but I know that properly caring for houseplants takes dedication, knowledge and practice”
Information that helps selecting the right plant for the environment

“I understand the importance of windows and sunlight for houseplants”
AR feature to help find the optimal placement for a plan and the ability to preview it in the home

“I am passionate about decorating my home and I like to stay on top of home decor trends”
Connection to Apartment Therapy blog entries from within the app



APIs + 3rd party integrations

To create an interactive and useful experience, we anticipated integrating the following APIs and third party applications

  • iCalendar/Google Calendar API for alerts alerts

  • YouTube API for video knowledge base

  • Apple ARKit for an AR experience

  • PhotoMeter for optimal lighting measurement



Throughout my career as a graphic designer, I specialized in incorporating existing brand standards into new collateral and experiences. For this project, I took my cues the visual styles found on apartmenttherapy.com, kitchn.com, and AT’s own Marketplace app.

Screen Shot 2018-05-16 at 8.09.23 PM.png


Determining the "happy path" and adding options for different user flows; adjustments made after initial user testing.

 TESTING: midfi to hifi

High fidelity design annotations

moving forward

Next steps

…in developing an MVP:

  • AR integration feasibility study

  • Iterations and further testing on Hi-Fi Stem prototype

…in growing the app itself:

  • Advertising/Brand sponsorship through suggested products

  • Diagnostic and houseplant care troubleshooting