Garden 3D asset by Anneka Tran
Growing healthy habits through self-cultivation.
Planbit is a design-led project done in collaboration with General Assembly, working alongside a team of designer and developer to demonstrate a 1 -> 0 product design workflow in formulating evidence-based design outcomes.
I contributed to the overall design process and oversaw aspects related to product scoping, user flows, wireframes, rapid prototyping, and usability testing.

Additionally, I conducted user research, facilitated co-workshops, and contributed in synthesising research findings to produce viable ideas.
A squad of designers, developer and project manager. 4 Weeks (remote)
Figma, Miro, Trello, Zoom, Slack, Illustrator.
Problem Discovery
People are not invested in their habits enough to stay committed.
While conducting early interviews with our potential users (graduates & early professionals), many of them expressed difficulty in maintaining a consistent routine while juggling their academic and professional expectations. Typically, they would start a new routine together only to be abandoned by everyone weeks later. This sparked a question -
HMW help people commit to new routines long enough for it to actually become a habit?
Our Solution - PlanBit
A gamified, personal and reflective take on cultivating self-motivation.
Grow your habit alongside a virtual garden.
Keeping up with your goals
Simple habit creation and goal tracking within a glance.
  • A familiar & simple way of creating your habits.
  • Manage and break down your habits into achievable goals across the day.
  • Get timely and customisable reminders to stay on track and cheer on future-you.
Staying invested and inspired
Visualising good progress, growth and success to keep motivation levels high.
  • Tracking and completing your habits allow your Garden of Habits to bloom.
  • Receive additional rewards for continuously maintaining your habits / gardens.
Support for uninspiring days
Keeping users accountable and determined to bounce back.
Although Planbit makes room for cheat days, continuously missing your habits will start to adversely effect your garden’s progress. Planbit also allow users to regain their footing by boosting rewards after their previous declines.
The Process
Researching Problem Space
Subject-matter research showed the effective use cases of the ‘Hook’ model to increase people's investment in forming habits.
Fairly new in behavioural science, we naturally started with a deep-dive into literature research on habitual frameworks, particularly the Hook model. This model has been widely referred to when developing habit forming products. As a good starting point, we would later validate this finding further via user interviews.
Analysing Market & Competitions
Competitive benchmarking revealed an over-saturated market competing on identical feature sets.
Looking at the popular players within the space, we discovered a similar feature offering across the apps that is centred around Goal Tracking. We hypothesised that this might be a key feature in habit forming and that there is an opportunity to position ourselves differently through approach.
Habit App - Simplest goal tracking
Habitify - goal tracking + add-ons (diary, templates)
Fabulous - goal tracking in a narrative format
With these products already available, why do people still struggle to form and maintain their habits?
Validating Our Assumptions
Interviews with 20+ participants and survey respondents shared the struggle of low motivations and progress.
We conducted semi-structured interviews with target users to validate our initial findings and further understand how people currently form habits, their motivations and challenges.
The biggest theme we discovered was around motivation, or more precisely, the lack thereof. As a habit journey goes on, motivation would decline with little to no means of raising it up again.
Identifying the Pain Points
Low motivation makes it difficult to even maintain sub-routines like habit tracking, much less actually doing the habits.
Although goal tracking helps with the initial part of the journey, it eventually stops being effective once motivation level starts taking a nose-dive. The most impactful solution then is the one that keeps motivation levels up for all the routines related to the habit to continue.
Other key insights found were that...
People are self-centric 👺
Though social accountability helps, people are inherently easier to be motivated by goals that benefits themselves first before others.
Progress is often not visible 😕
Since long term results are often only visible later on, people burn-out fast from putting in high effort but seeing slow / no correlation to progress.
No sense of urgency 💤
People get complacent about their “skips” since losing progress tend to also not be apparent until you’ve hit the bottom - “It’s too late, I give up”
Defining Persona & Goals
Consolidating our key insights into 2 goal-oriented personas.
Katniss Choi
22, penultimate year, hectic
Their goal is to maintain their long-lasting habits. They need to ensure motivation remains high for them to stay inspired in completing their routines.
Travis Yuen
26, early professional, focused
Their goal is to better time manage their daily routines. They need a reliable & simple way to keep up with their to-dos amidst a busy schedule.
User Storyboarding
Placing the persona in an ideal context scenario helps identify the minimum required functions of our MVP.
At this stage, our primary goal is to extract a list of design requirements that we have to support in order for these ideal scenarios to happen. These requirements would then lead our idea generation phase.
Brainstorming storyboard requirements
How do we support for the ideal solution scenario?
To facilitate our generation phase, we further reframed our design requirements into key actionable statements that are broad enough to allow multiple solutions, but narrow enough to set focus.
Approaching a Solution
Emphasising progress through a visual, personal, and reflective experience 🌳
Leveraging our key findings and persona attributes, we understood that the ideal solution must be able to connect users closer to their own actions and consequences such as progress and de-merits.

From that, we arrived at the approach of mirroring one’s own progress through a visual metaphor of cultivation, breaking down the long process of habit building into smaller, more frequent positive reinforcements as a source of motivation.
Design Goals
Build stronger motivation by providing clear visualisation of progress, so our users can remain more accountable and inspired by their own discipline.
Minimise distractions and concentration breaks from our user's routine by supporting the end-to-end journey of building a habit all within Planbit.
Our busy users should need as little time as possible to use Planbit, so that maintaining their habits does not end up as another chore in their daily routine.
a whole garden of (habit)
Feature Prioritisation
Limited resources forced us to re-prioritise our features based on impact and effort.
With a shorter time scope and technical feasibility, we decided to divide our initial feature sets into 3 release stages with the initial MVP only focusing on features that requires low effort but yields high impact. This was facilitated by an initial voting system, several cross-discipline workshops and A LOT of referring back to our persona's pain points and characteristics.
System Architecture
Consideration for our persona's context directed a user flow focusing on minimum steps and time.
We mapped out key path scenarios that gets our users to their most prominent use cases within the least amount of steps. Since our users are also likely to be tracking their habits amongst doing other things, we intentionally hid other secondary functions to limit user's engagement with the app to the bare necessity.
I want to be able to create and track my daily tasks quickly.
I want to be actively reminded of my good progress.
Iterations from Usability Tests
5 rounds of moderated tests informed iterations that helped refocus hierarchy and navigation.
We asked the participants to complete several scenarios and observed their movement patterns, mental models and ability to complete their goals. Through multiple rounds of feedback, we were able to decrease the cognitive load from our users and make key information more accessible at a higher level.
1. Removing bottom navigation
Introducing additional primary navigation distracted users from the main app functions.

Relegated secondary functions to be less prominent in home screen.
2. Bringing actions closer to progress and reward.
Hiding the Habits screen behind Progress makes these 2 elements appear detached.

Putting them on the same page allows for instant gratification upon completing their habit.
3. A clearer focus on my habits
Although people enjoy seeing their progress, habit overview is still the first sought after information.

Increased visual hierarchy of Habits and allowed Habits and Progress to be expanded and viewed separately.
The final MVP product
Onboarding + SignUp
Creating & Tracking Goals
Skipping Habits
Supporting Off-days and Edge Cases
An interactive demo imagining the use of the concept.
Project Takeaways
A deeper understanding of ideas when 
placed within context, and not just in vacuums.
The project naturally started off as a research heavy project into behavioural science. 
We initially spent 80% of our time conducting literature research that were eventually found not relevant towards our MVP requirements after further validation and testing with our users.

It was through contextual insights and user interviews that proved to be equally, if not more valuable, in identifying opportunities and ideas that direct the generation phase.