Kief is an app designed to help the cannabis consumer navigate the vast array of choices in a simple, effective and understandable way. It allows users to get tailored recommendations by saving their preferences, keep track of their experiences and quickly access their favourite products.
“Cannabis is a wildly diverse product, even more so than alcohol. Consumers can experience not only different flavor profiles, but also different cerebral and body effects; they can consume using different methods, from vaporization to combustion to topical application; and they can pick and choose between an ever-growing number of different strains and products.”
- The Leafly Guide to Cannabis: A Handbook for the Modern Consumer
With so much choice the Canadian cannabis market is difficult to navigate. Keeping track of what you’ve already tried can be even harder.
“Navigating the vast array of strains, product and consumption methods that legal markets are offering today can be a dizzying ordeal, as there isn’t a “one size fits all” cannabis experience that’s right for everyone.”
Through my research, I discovered that the cannabis purchase experience needs to improve. Cannabis users gave high ratings for the following.
“We conducted a key driver analysis to determine the most important factors driving the overall cannabis purchase experience. Having a convenient/easy shopping experience is clearly the #1 driver”
To understand the real problems and pain points cannabis consumers encounter, I started with user interviews. I interviewed five people, for 30 min each, ages 19 to 75 and ranging in cannabis experience. I discovered some of the main problems are the following.
Where to begin? With so many product options, a variety of methods and effects, many people find it confusing.
Once you narrow down your selection you still have a plethora of effects to wade through. For most people, one of the biggest challenges is to find the "right" product.
Finding the right product is a challenge. People tend to experiment with new products to discover what works best for them.
There is so much to know about cannabis that even the most experienced user can feel intimidated. People want a simple search method, where they don't require a deep understanding of the plant, products or scientific jargon.
“It’d be nice to be able to search for the different effects and to save yourself some time and energy of having to almost become a doctor of cannabis before I can find what Im looking for.”
- User 4
“There's such a variety of products that are available. So it's a little intimidating”
- User 3
From the interview insights I was able to get a sense of cannabis consumers experience. With this research I crafted the persona and and mapped the user experience.
How might we help the consumer navigate the current system so that they can find the product that best suits their needs?
One of the main challenges I faced is the sheer volume of products available. For proof of concept, I focused on creating a prototype with the most vital categories. The prototype then underwent two rounds of usability testing with 5 participants for each. After each round, I reiterated the design.
After 2 rounds of testing I ended with prototype 3
Once the user testing was complete, it was time to take my prototype to the next level. I set about finding words that I wanted this brand to embody.
"Speech has power. Words do not fade. What starts out as a sound, ends in a deed."
- Abraham Joshua Herschel
After establishing the brand's mood, I conducted further research on the psychology of the chosen colours to ensure I was communicating the brand values.
"The color yellow relates to acquired knowledge. Being the lightest hue of the spectrum, the color psychology of yellow is uplifting and illuminating, offering hope, happiness, cheerfulness and fun. In the meaning of colors, yellow inspires original thought and inquisitiveness."
"Green is the color of growth, the color of spring, of renewal and rebirth. It renews and restores depleted energy. It is the sanctuary away from the stresses of modern living, restoring us back to a sense of well being. This is why there is so much of this relaxing color on the earth."
I chose Neue Haas Grotesk Display Pro for the typography. It is a modern, clean, simple, sans-serif font.
During the testing phase, I discovered that the users thought the app contained too much text. I decided to introduce icons and reduce the text size.
"Use a picture. It's worth a thousand words."
Ideating a name for my product was challenging as I discovered that most first-round ideas are already existing products. Since the main feature of my app is a filter, I started to look at how cannabis is processed and stumbled upon kief.
Kief refers to the resin glands of cannabis (trichomes) that contain the terpenes (aroma/taste) and cannabinoids (THC, CBD) that make cannabis unique. It's often sifted from dried cannabis by using a mesh screen or sieve.
The name is unique, short, contains multiple layers of symbolism, and most importantly, available. I turned my attention to the brand adjectives and magnified photos of trichomes to give me direction on the feel of the logo.
I created a marketing website to promote the app. Since advertising cannabis is restricted, it's only possible to do a limited activation campaign, online and in print.
It's paramount to consider the unintended impact or negative consequences our product may have. Keeping sight of these considerations makes us better UX designers and allows us to take preventative measures to guard against them.
Trust is hard to gain and easy to lose.
People would lose trust by not having clear policies in place and, or keeping them hidden. Communicating policies at every step of the process is a must.
A data breach where a customer's private information is compromised would lose all trust.
Cannabis is still prohibited and illegal in many countries around the world.
A data breach of our application to obtain member information would be disastrous. A foreign government could use the information to deny Canadians entry into their country, or worse, have them arrested.
An employer may use it as grounds for denying employment opportunities or even dismissal.