It is common knowledge that physical exercise has multiple physical and mental benefits, yet many often find it challenging to maintain a consistent exercise habit. How can we design a more motivating exercise experience so more people would exercise? The proposed solution is Planty, an innovative fitness app. Planty aims to change the user’s exercise habits by providing an alternative motivation behind physical exercise by locking a live plant inside a terrarium. Users can only care for the plant through the Planty app through exercise. By linking users’ behavior to the livelihood of a live plant, Planty forces its users to exercise. If the user stops exercising, the plant will die. The plant serves as a reminder and responsibility to push the user to exercise while acting as a mirror to the user: if the plant is thriving, so is the user. Planty replaces the traditional reasons behind exercising, such as weight and health, with an ego-involving motivation: how the plant appears is a visual representation of how others see the user. The design of the Planty app uses the metaphor of the plant, which strengthens the relationship between the plant and the user, and both the user and the plant’s wellness and exercise. The design also provides constant encouragement while exercising by providing continuous rewards every short interval. The fragmented achievement is easier for the user to complete than distant milestones such as “run a mile.” The reward of water and sunlight pushes the user to keep exercising while it furthers the metaphor of a plant’s needs and that physical health is achieved one step at a time. With such a metaphor, the design ties the plant to the user, making the user care for their physical health.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Physical fitness--Software; Mobile apps--Development; Terrariums--Interactive multimedia--Design; House plants--Interactive multimedia--Design

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Visual Communication Design (MFA)

Department, Program, or Center

Visual Communications Studies


College of Art and Design


Mike Strobert

Advisor/Committee Member

Adam Smith


RIT – Main Campus

Plan Codes