Optimizing Urbanrake's user experience encourages people to list their gardens on their new platform.


UX and Visual Design


January 2018


How might we encourage our users to list their gardens on our platform so people can rent their space to grow and harvest produce locally? ​

Urbanrake is like an Airbnb for urban gardening.  As a brand new product in the urban gardening space, Urbanrake needed to generate user interest in their MVP.



Urbanrake's founder assumed their web app attracted two types of personas. I agreed with his assumption. 

Persona # 1:

Tom Potato is interested in renting urban garden spaces in the city to grow his produce locally because he wants to experiment with a new way of farming.  He is a “raker.” 

Persona # 2:

Elizabeth Z. is very health conscious and wants to have access to locally grown organic produce.  She is also interested in hosting her garden to make extra money.  She is a “host.” 


Why were users not listing their gardens?

I suspected that the user flow to become a host was a bit confusing but wanted to confirm my assumptions through usability testing.  I interviewed four people who were interested in listing their garden and observed how they navigated the flow.  

The Existing Flow

Existing user flow to become a host

I discovered the following pain points with the existing user flow:

Users were confused about what it meant to become a host. There was also no explanation on how to become a host. 

The user flow to become a host was confusing.  Users didn’t know where to add a listing of their garden. 

The forum to add a garden listing was very long, disorganized and frustrating to complete because there wasn’t an option to save and finish later. 

Users didn’t understand how much to host their garden for.  They also didn’t know whether the cost of water was included.

Users didn’t trust the web app because there were no existing listings. They were wary of being the first user to list and host their garden. 

A landing page that explains what it means to become a host and how to become a host will resolve the confusion and create interest. 

Optimizing the user flow and prompting users to add a listing of their garden will resolve the confusion.

Reorganizing the forum, breaking it into steps and adding a save option will alleviate the frustration and pressure to finish the forum all at once.  

Creating a standard pricing formula will help users and the business. 

This is a marketing problem.  Urbanrake needs to reach out to their community and educate people about their product to spark interest. 


After understanding the user pain points of the flow, I hypothesized possible solutions and prioritized the solutions that were the easiest to address. 

High Priority

- Creating a host landing page

- Optimizing the user flow

- Reaching out to the community

- Creating a standard pricing model

- Reorganizing the forum

- Adding a save for later button



Low Priority

UX feature priority

The Improved User Flow 

I added a save and 

continue later option 

to allow users to pause 

and gather the information 

they need. 


Also, the existing forum was too long to finish in one sitting, causing frustration.   

I added this page to 

introduce what it meant

to become a host.

Users needed to understand why they should become a host, how to become a host, and what benefits it had for them. 

Simplifying the task of adding a listing decreased drop-offs. 

Users also needed to understand the forum's organization to fill 

it out easily. 

The new user flow to become a host


Early Sketches

I sketched different layouts of the landing page for becoming a host to find the best design solution. Users should understand the perks and how it works in three simple steps.  I also sketched different versions of the forum to envision the right amount of steps it should be broken up into. 

Sketches of Becoming a Host Landing Page and Forum 


These sketches later turned into low fidelity wireframes in Sketch.

A low-fidelity wireframe of the landing page to become a host

With low-fidelity wireframes, I created a prototype on Invision to test the new user flow to become a host.  First, I wanted to make sure that users understood the perks of becoming a host and then follow through with adding a garden listening.  I also tested to see if the sections and order of the forum made sense. ​

Mock ups

Then, these wireframes turned into visual mock ups in Sketch.

Mock up of the landing page to become a host


Once I optimized the flow, I turned the low-fidelity prototype to a  high-fidelity prototype.  During this round of testing, I wanted to see if the photos made sense. 

Here was some feedback that I received: ​

’’What an improvement! Love the new workflow on signing up. The sliding rating scale is very clear too.’’

’’The host landing page looks modern, well organized and easy to understand. I want to encourage my parents to list their garden in LA!’’

’’The become a host landing page has good instructions. I would say have more points on "why become a host." I'd like more info on the benefits, especially for those who are skeptical!  Also, the list your garden flow is very simple and easy.’’  




Urbanrake appreciates the value of redesigning their user flows and plans to implement the new changes that I've recommended.  With the new designs, they ought to conduct additional usability testing to see if there is a significant increase in users listing their gardens for rent.


The business model and marketing also needs improvement. Urbanrake needs to research and identify the return on investments for rakers and hosts.  Once rakers grow and harvest their produce, they need a way to sell their produce.  Perhaps Urbanrake can partner with companies such as Imperfect Produce so rakers can directly sell their fresh produce to people and restaurant owners in the neighborhood.


I really enjoyed working on this project and identifying the areas for improvement.  I think it's a great business idea and can definitely be explored on a deeper level.  For example, how many urban gardens exist in each city and how much produce could they collectively yield?  How would this affect agricultural farming?  Could anyone learn to become a farmer?


These questions are definitely worth exploring especially if Urbanrake wants to take their business to the

next level. 

I'm open for coffee, especially matcha lattes if you'd like to collaborate together! Feel free to contact me

Designed by Alice Lei © 2018