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Emma Bolz

DESIGNER, GRAPHIC DESIGNER

Emma Bolz is a multifaceted designer specializing in user interaction and interface, web design, illustration, and branding. Initially beginning her college journey as an art major, she quickly fell in love with the technical application and user-centered nature of design. This background allows Emma to deeply grasp color theory, composition, and materials while also mastering the technical skills required in her design field. Emma is passionate about understanding her clients and users to create impactful, lasting solutions.

While at Lake Washington Technical Institute, Emma studied applied design and found inspiration in Bauhaus principles and teachings. She spent a quarter studying the Bauhaus and greatly enjoyed learning about the nature of creativity and its relation to design. Emma hopes to collaborate with others who share a passion for arts-based research and human-centered design, helping her grow as a design professional.

Get Growin’

An app to help foster a native-plant-centric garden to help boost the local ecosystem.

Project Overview

Get Growin’ is designed to help gardeners understand the environmental impact of their plant choices through UI/UX. The goal was to provide a similar experience to what users were used to with traditional gardening apps but also provide a catalog of native plants, educational resources, and interactive pieces to help engage users and encourage them to utilize native plants. My research suggests that gardeners also have a concurrent appreciation for the environment. Therefore, my application heavily focuses on bridging traditional gardening practices with more ecologically focused practices.

Process Work

RESEARCH

The goal of my project was to get gardeners excited about gardening for the local environment. Going into my research phase, I knew I had two research goals. The first research goal was to understand my users to know what they expected and wanted from a gardening app. The second research goal was to understand which native plants are best in a garden and which native plants are cornerstones in helping local wildlife.

For the first research goal, I began by doing a competitive audit to discover desirable and undesirable features to help shape my design. I sifted through dozens of reviews of my selected garden apps to try and begin to understand some pain points and key features. I furthered my user investigation by conducting a survey centered more around the users’ thought processes regarding gardening, such as how they became interested in gardening and their understanding and connection between gardening and local ecosystem support. I then compiled the data and created a persona to help represent my average user. I aligned my persona on a “says, thinks, feels, does” chart to better understand my user’s needs and wants.

For the second research goal, I performed extensive academic research to collect a small trial database of local plant species and wildlife to run on my prototype. From there, I developed a brand identity and began wireframing and building prototypes.

DESIGN PROCESS

My initial color palette and font selection were chosen to convey a feeling of lightheartedness and fun. However, later in the design process, I wanted to anchor more of the experience in nature, specifically my target example, the Pacific Northwest. I reconstructed my color palette by utilizing the colors found in the deep woods of the Pacific Northwest. As for font, I wanted it to convey the feelings that a nature lover might experience while entering the woods: tranquility, connectedness, etherealness, joy, and wholesomeness. Based on the semiotics of these words, I selected several typographical fonts. Overall, I wanted the app’s experience to feel like one has just entered the lush woods of the Pacific Northwest. In terms of the interactive piece, I constructed several extensively tested prototypes to ensure a smooth user flow and experience. I ultimately decided to condense the menu by adding multiple features per page to simplify the look and prevent informational overload. Lastly, to increase user engagement, I added an interactive piece in which users can collect badges of certain species when they select plants that benefit these species. In this way, it gamifies the experience while educating users on the benefits of their plants and helping them feel that they have an active role in their environment.

Deliverables

My deliverables at the end of this project include a limited version of the application.

Conclusion

Although I am happy with what I have created thus far, I hope to gather more research in the future to keep adding features and continuously improve the product. Additionally, more research can help me reach more target groups, such as beginner gardeners, in addition to seasoned gardeners. I would also like to involve more experts to help collect the knowledge I need to create a truly information-rich app. I believe that easily accessible and engaging education is the cornerstone of helping gardeners understand their larger roles in the local ecosystem.

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