Every day, America alone dumps 9 billion gallons of water on landscaping. And roughly half of this is wasted because of inefficient watering practices.
Now if you’re having trouble picturing this, 1 billion gallons of water can be used to fill up 20,000,000 bathtubs with water.
Quite a bit, huh? If the current irrigation system is wasting all this water, I think it’s quite obvious we need a more efficient one.
Plus, when you think about it, this problem can be at least partially solved through the use of modern technology and smarter practices.
For example, while talking to people, I learnt that most of them used automatic sprinklers. The problem with this is that automatic sprinklers tend to follow a rigid system. The sprinkler cycles follow a set pattern and they have to be programmed to your needs.
So say it rains on Tuesday and the sprinkler is set to run on Wednesday, most users won’t think to turn off their sprinklers for Wednesday. Even though it isn’t really helping the plants anymore.
But this is a very typical type of human error. Design helps eliminate human error. So I figured that by redesigning the system we can reduce the possibility of human error and make it so much easier to lead a sustainable lifestyle.
And that’s what I decided to do.
To begin, I started by talking to people to understand the problems they frequently encountered. Based on the information I gathered, I built a persona and here’s what it looks like.
I then mapped out the users journey with the existing system and identified pain points. This helped me identify opportunities and truly understand the users needs and requirements.
The problems I decided to focus on were:
- Simplify the on boarding process: I found that the setup process was often tedious and time consuming.
- Easy control of sprinklers: Users often found it hard to quickly turn off the sprinkler.
A secondary issue I decided to address is:
- Quantitative information on water saved and consumed. Some users were unaware of the amount of water they wasted while those who were aware said that they wanted to be able to ascertain how much water they were consuming and saving
Crafting some structure
Keeping these issues in mind, I built a user flow.
Most of the changes I made to the on boarding process are highlighted here. I’ve made sure to keep it super simple and easy to follow. To do this, I ensured that the user has a guide to fall back on while setting up the device. And since this will be integrated into the app, the process is broken down into simple chunks.
However, half way through the user flow I realized that I had to determine the elements on each page to proceed. Because without the information architecture it’s hard to determine how users can interact with the app and complete their tasks. Here is the Information Architecture map I built:
Decrypting the details
And now onto the wire frames. But here’s where I hit a snag. I wasn’t sure about the way my users prioritized information. I wasn’t entirely sure about what element I’d have to highlight and what was secondary.
So I went back to my research group and asked them to prioritize the information. I asked them questions to understand what they thought was important and what they thought wasn’t quite as important.
And I built the chart below. It helped me keep things in perspective and assign importance to each element.
With this information at hand, I started designing my wireframes. And here’s what it looks like.
Since most users won’t use the app often, except when they want to control sprinklers and assess their water usage, I decided to make sure that the app is centered around that. It makes it easy and effortless to use a smart sprinkler and save water.
Another aim of the entire design was to encourage users to save water. This is one of the main reasons the focus of most pages is to inform the user about the kind of progress they’re making.
And finally — onto the screens
I chose this color scheme because this project primarily revolves around water conservation and sustainability.
If I’m being honest though, I put this off for the longest time. Visuals are fun to make. But UX & product design are just so much more fascinating to me.