If knowledge is power, then Leafly clearly designed their app with the express goal of making you into a straight-up Cannabis Deity by using it.
What started about 10 years ago down in Orange County, CA is now easily considered among the biggest cannabis resources in the world, with a staggering 15 million visitors spread out across its mobile and web-based presence, and it’s not super hard to figure out why: Not content to limit itself to a single functionality or purpose, Leafly has steadily grown into a catch-all compendium for the conscientious cannabis consumer over the last decade, putting more power in your pocket and informing your intake more effectively than ever via its mobile app.
Perhaps most notable about Leafly is the sheer breadth of its functionality. There is just so much you can do with this app that it winds up being a veritable Swiss army knife of cannabis-related utility, waiting there all nice and folded up in your pocket until you realize you have a need for something it does, at which point it’s ready and waiting for you to make use of it.
Immediately greeting the user is a home screen that’s about as simple and straightforward as it gets (and with good reason; this type of design is far from broken and certainly doesn’t need to be fixed). Each main section off the app is represented with a carousel-style sliding display, showcasing content cards that take you to their corresponding screens when tapped.
Not only is each major component of the app’s functionality represented right there on the home screen in a way that avoids sacrificing thoroughness for comprehensibility, but certain ones are smartly expanded upon, giving the user more ways to explore the app’s content and features.
Starting things off is the Strain Directory, which feels distinctly like the crown jewel of the Leafly experience. It’s one of the things that truly sets this app apart, in terms of its relationship to the informational aspect of cannabis consumption. The “strain explorer” component of the Leafly app lets you browse cannabis strains with menus organized according to everything from health benefits to seasonal selections, but it’s the individual strain content cards that really serve up the most impressive experience (even if all the information included is only useful to a relatively select segment of the audience).
Drilling down into an individual strain in the app takes you to a screen that features not only a somewhat staggering amount of factual information about a given flower, but also introduces users to the neat little visual shorthand Leafly has developed. Each different strain is represented by a sort of glyph, whose colors, shape, and arrangement all function as a visual shorthand to indicate a given strain’s qualities.
It’s a truly unique way of talking about individual strains, and it’s bolstered by the ability to browse based on things like sleep aid and other criteria — perhaps more important than anything else is Leafly’s clear focus on giving you the ability to find exactly what you’re looking for, in exactly the way you want to look for it.
Their map functionality is designed with the same goal, offering an impressive set of filters by which you can sort through local offerings. Having found myself unable to get the delivery component of the app to work here in Los Angeles (we reached out to support and will update this post if we hear back), I went with the pickup functionality and it was just about as simple and straightforward as it should be.
No purchase was actually made through the app; instead, the order was simply routed to my nearby dispensary, waiting for me when I showed up to pick it up and pay. I can see this being a bit of a timesaver, even if it doesn’t necessarily go as far as a working delivery component would, in terms of making the app essential.
Still, as a ridiculously robust repository of information that manages to never feel overwhelming or overstuffed, Leafly really gets the job done. It’s clear that this app has more potential than it’s capable of fulfilling at the moment, but so much of that has to do with the evolving state of the industry’s rules and regulations, that the user is given the distinct impression that even more functionality is on the way. And anyway, it’s honestly hard to fault anybody who’s doing this much right.