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Plant Chicago Wireframe

Client: Plant Chicago

Website: Visit Site


  • Client Overview: Plant Chicago is a non-profit organization dedicated to connecting the community to urban gardening through indoor gardening initiatives, farmers markets, and educational workshops.
  • Initial Situation: Plant Chicago aimed to expand its operations from housing 3-4 growers to accommodating 20-30 growers. They sought to enhance their community engagement and streamline internal processes to support this growth.

The Challenge:

  • The primary challenge was to create a solution that would facilitate the expansion of Plant Chicago’s operations while enhancing the user experience for both the growers and the staff. They needed an efficient way to manage and disseminate information crucial to their activities.


1. Research and Planning

  • Kickoff Meeting: Our research team met with the Director of Operations to kick off the project and understand the organization’s mission and needs. At this time we brainstormed curiosities and completed design activities as a large group to help us find a pool of insight. We grouped and sorted and broke down complex systems into digestible pieces and the teams broke out to explore different solutions to offer PC.
  • Needs Assessment: We conducted a thorough discovery of how Plant Chicago utilized their space and identified potential problems and opportunities. The assessment included visiting and touring the physical space very much like a new grower would be. My personal experience gardening helped me consider their perspective and get a peek into what a typical day would be like using the space. After digesting the information we framed our curiosities in user-facing questions to dig deeper and clarify any outstanding questions and details.

2. Prototype Development

  • User Interviews: Interviews were arranged with 6 different members and/or staff at Plant Chicago. Preparing for the interviews we generated a discussion guide. I moderated and took notes for three of the interviews digesting and pulling any additional insight possible. It was very important to observe how they want the tool to work moving forward, the proposed solution needs to be simple and easy but powerful.
  • Collaboration Using FigJam: Using FigJam, our team collaborated to weigh out problems and build conclusions about our users (staff and members). This collaborative session helped in identifying the importance of information for the user to determine the placement and presentation of elements in the UI. We saw common trends with the growers wanting a way to track a variety of metrics including harvest amount, growth, goals, and conditions.
Some Key Insights

Knowing that there are pain points in pest mitigation we included historical records of the temp and humidity of the space. This will allow users to identify patterns that may have affected the state.

Growers may not visit PC everyday however monitoring the conditions are very important. Each interviewer showed interest and voiced the need for an internal system. They can quickly view the temp and humidity in the data dashboard as it’s at the top after logging in.

The PC people are a tight knit group, previously they kept communication through group text. We wanted to provide a way for them to shout out to other members, share upcoming events and feel more connected. The What’s Growing On page is designed to foster positivity and connect the community.

3. Visual Design

Data Dashboard Concept: We explored the idea of creating a data dashboard . My partner and I built a wireframe that prioritized information based on its importance. We tried out a few different placements and layouts while prototyping and decided to focus mostly on the grower’s experience. We forsee a dashboard that is flexible and capable of adding and removing elements, which is a common functionality a user may see.

Sketch of the admin flow
  • Team Involvement: Our team of researchers cooperated by evaluating the in progress prototype pointing out areas that needed clarity so we could develop the dashboard further. Using information from the users we determined the priorities of a grower.
  • Lo-Fidelity Dashboard: We started laying our ideas to get a clearer idea of the direction of the layout and where to place elements. Our research team evaluated and made recommendations based on their findings and perspective.
  • Plant Chicago has a strong brand, utilizing this brand consistently will be a need for users. We compiled a style guide to inform the visuals, and design of the dashboard.

4. Development and Refinements

We went through four different iterations building the prototype. Thinking through the growers needs through each one. Our research team evaluated and pinpointed areas that needed more clarity and improvement.

5. Final Implementation

  • User Feedback: The feedback received during user testing guided us in making final adjustments and advancing the wireframe towards completion.
  • Enhanced User Experience: The final dashboard was designed to streamline information management, aiding both growers and staff during and after the expansion.
  • Empowered Community: The tool equipped Plant Chicago with the capability to manage their increased operations effectively.


  • Improved Operations: The new dashboard facilitated better information flow and management, essential for the organization’s expanded activities.
  • Positive Community Feedback: Growers and staff appreciated the efforts and changes, noting improvement this data dashboard would have in their day-to-day operations and communication.


The collaboration with Plant Chicago demonstrated the profound impact of thorough research, innovative prototyping, and community engagement. By enhancing the user experience and providing effective tools, the project contributed significantly to Plant Chicago’s mission of fostering urban gardening and community connection.