2014 US Mobile & App Design Awards

GrowIt! [DRAFT]







Project Overview

GrowIt! is the only social app that helps you find plants for your lifestyle and connect with other gardeners in your area! GrowIt! uses geolocation and user ratings to help you discover flowers, vegetables, and herbs that have been grown locally and rated by your peers. Searching for plants has never been simpler. If you know where you want to plant something and what color you want, GrowIt! can help you out.

Project Commissioner


Project Creator

Eight Bit Studios


Seth Reed - Co-founder
Mason Day - Co-founder
John Ostler - Co-founder
Steve Polacek - Co-founder
Don Bora - Co-Founder
Brett Mackie - Account Director
Heather Brown - Project Manager
Jennifer Gardner - Project Manager
Alison Kuczwara - Designer
Angela Mitchell - Designer
Karli Kujawa - Designer
Mark Winkler - Software Engineer
Andrew Webb - Software Engineer
Brian Lewis - Software Engineer
David Johnston - Software Engineer
Tam Dang - Software Engineer

Project Brief

GrowIt! is a mobile app that connects gardener to gardener like never before. It helps you find plants and ideas that work well in your area by connecting you to photos and comments of gardeners in the same area using geolocation technology. GrowIt! is the only app that allows you to rate plant pictures from your area. By giving a picture a “Leave It”, “Like It”, or “Grow It” you can finally voice your opinion on specific plants.

GrowIt! includes all plants, not just one brand. The goal is to engage the next generation of gardeners, while giving experienced gardeners a chance to share their knowledge! This free mobile app is the first of its kind creating a social platform for users to promote plants they love and help others steer clear of plants that just don’t perform. The app’s geo-locating technology ensures that the users only see local information. This will help the next generation gardener make better decisions, so that their first gardening experience is a success. We want people to share what they are growing so that others can be inspired!

Project Need

GrowIt! is different from gardening apps in that it is the first app to allow users to rate plants.
These ratings are the lifeblood of GrowIt! Plants are an extremely local thing. Flowers that look great in a landscape in Texas are probably not going to look great on a windowsill in Seattle.

In the past, it could take hours to find and understand information on plants that would work well in a given area, or people resorted to trial and error with plants, taking a gamble with their money. Now, people can search for plants on GrowIt! by color, light, etc., and see what a plant has been rated by people nearby.

GrowIt! also supplies Plant Retailers with the data that they need. For the first time, we will have data available that identifies consumer plant preferences like never before. Data like this can make retailers exponentially more efficient. They know who their customers are. GrowIt! can finally tell them what their customers like.

User Experience

GrowIt! lets you garden socially. Whether you want to show off your plants, or find something that will work in your garden; GrowIt! has something for every type of gardener.

Utilizing geolocation, the GrowIt! app connects you with growers in your region, so you can learn and explore what grows in your area.

- Upload pictures of your favorite plants to show your neighbors how great they look, or upload a picture of one of your least favorite to warn people!
- Rate photos of plants from your area! Anonymously tell your neighbors how you feel.
- Use the Explore feature to find the right plants for your garden. Sort plants by color, light needs, and plant type!
- Follow other users for gardening inspiration!
- Use the comment field to ask users for help, or simply to compliment their plants!

Project Marketing

Social Media – GrowIt! is a social app that seeks to also provide a service to people looking for great plants. By utilizing various paid and unpaid social media content we seek to connect with people already talking about plants on different networks and bring them to ours by offering them “just a little bit more” than what they can do currently.

Tech Blogs/Features – We’ve all seen a million “different” automated email companies. The story is getting boring. However, the story behind GrowIt! is not. It’s an idea that seeks to completely revolutionize the consumer plant industry. That makes for great news especially in tech circles seeking for something completely different to report on.

Garden Writers/Bloggers – Every garden writer writes about plants all year long. They’ve been writing about the new color of geranium forever. GrowIt! not only gives them a chance to showcase something new and different, but it also gives them another outlet to showcase their plant knowledge.

Garden Centers/Landscapers – We give garden centers an outlet to reach more customers in their local area, and in return they promote GrowIt! to all of their customers who are already buying plants. Landscapers promote the app by using it with their customers to select a product that will work and that the customer likes.


Project Privacy

GrowIt! began as an iOS application distributed through Apple’s App Store utilizing Parse.com for storage and persistence mechanism. We used the API and iOS framework provided by Parse.com as a means of data delivery to the Parse data stores. Adhering to the Parse terms, the GrowIt! work was protected by the privacy policies set forth by Parse.com. GrowIt! allowed for user accounts and Facebook authentication. We are able to leverage the security built in to both the Parse.com authentication process as well as both the Parse.com and native iOS Facebook integration points.

As we migrated our client off of Parse to a custom Ruby on Rails solution, our backend team developed a suite of APIs and a database schema to ensure the data was protected. Working with our hosting provider, taking this client to the next level of their product required one-way encrypted passwords as well as SSL certification to ensure API payload is secure for some common attacks. As the client needs grow, we will explore more robust privacy solutions. As products grow, the need for thoughtful security and privacy plans becomes more and more important.

This category relates to applications that have been developed for the home and garden, such as DIY, energy and water saving, building, furnishing, home improvements, gardens and outdoor living


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