Seed Management For Farming
Transforming agriculture with connected scale systems and precision farming.
During planting season, seed tenders are a way to efficiently move bulk amounts of seed to a planter waiting in the field. Combined, with a digital scale system, the record of transfer from one machine to another can be accurately recorded for precise control over crop value.
The app (name in progress) works with a bluetooth enabled scale system which allows users to record and operate seed tender machinery as well as manage crop inventory. The client is a well-known provider of weigh bars and scale systems in the agriculture community. They wanted to develop a seed management solution for the planting season that would work with their existing scale indicator product line.
This project has included implementing a set of functional requirements, app wireframing, and usability testing. A complete user interface and development is currently in production.
5 Months, ongoing
To learn about the industry and our client’s role in it, I conducted a stakeholder workshop as a project kick-off. We began with some basic discussion current processes and what makes their product unique. Then, I helped guide the group through some more abstract exercises to help define a set of functional requirements that would best support the user’s need.
Collaboratively, we created a set of proto-personas and discussed their needs, pain-points, and their view of the proposed app features. The group was a little hesitant to participate so, I switched things up and had them write down their thoughts on post-it notes individually before we discussed openly.
This workshop was beneficial in helping our client look at the product more empathetically from their customer’s perspective.
I created personas for each group envisioned from the stakeholder workshops. This was a good way to see the fruition of the client’s efforts and combine my own qualitative and quantitative research. Each persona was representative of a key user group.
The example shows a comparison of the different personas. The information I presented was informed by contextual research and light interviews with readers of an online farming technology news site and feedback on industry forums.
Wireframes & Pre-Development
I started sketching wireframes and collecting feedback on the progress from the client to further iterate on. They really wanted a working demo app to test functionality with their product. I used this desire as a way to also gather usability feedback of the app.
It was determined that the app would be released in a beta version for users to fully experience the bluetooth connectivity to the scale system, I created wire-flows and an interactive prototype to help the client and developer better understand the interactions with the app.
I coordinated with the client to recruit several participants from their existing customer base to try out the app at their own farms and developed a test script and key tasks for users to complete. In total we had three users that were willing to participate in the testing session.
On the day of the test, my team consisted of two customer representatives from the client, my direct manager and myself. I acted as facilitator and the others helped with recording feedback and observations.
Note: Unfortunately, the users in this test were not representative of each of the personas we identified. The findings may be biased as a result. The testers most closely aligned to Mark Matthews, the farmer. Additionally, the client referenced existing customers at test sites for their products so they already had a favorable relationship with the client and were not neutral.
The results of the usability testing highlighted some key areas that the app was not serving the needs of the target user group. The project has since been rescoped and is currently being iterated on to address the unmet needs.
The development of this app is on-going.