Uber for Farmers — from the producer to the consumer
My UX/UI design long journey started at the end of March with an incredible team of five. We were asked to choose a subject among several briefs which basically described a problem to be solved. We decided to choose food sustainibility since all of us are pretty conscious about food and felt very enthusiastic to try to discover how people felt about it.
Let’s start out by introducing our brief:
Local organic food is not accessible to everyone being restricted by availability and cost. Supermarket chains and other big companies benefit from the organic food market and conscious customers, but don’t actually solve the situation.
We want to help communities access the local seasonal produce fuelling fair and honest relationships between producers and customers while ensuring food safety for all.
Following the five-stage Design Thinking Process, we used several tools in order to address our problem and find out a possible solution.
Let's get to know each other: empathising with users
We started to collect some data about people care and interest in food sustainability by using surveys and conducting interviews.
We used Google Forms to submit our survey and gathered interesting results. Surveys are not accurate in providing behavioural data since we are not able to observe users but we firstly needed them in order to validate our problem.
We got some interesting results from the survey and with the information gathered we were able to start looking for an in-depth understanding by conducting interviews. We picked 5 persons between 26–30 yo and asked them some questions, in order to gain a better understanding of their shopping habits and feelings while buying groceries.
How often do you shop for groceries?
On average, how much do you spend on groceries per week?
Where do you shop for your groceries?
If you had the opportunity would you buy directly from the producer?
What motivates you when you buy groceries?
What does organic/sustainable food mean to you?
Are you interested in purchasing local seasonal products?
Our interviewees seemed to be mostly concerned about the lack of availability of local products in the supermarkets or shops they are used to go grocery shopping. Also, we noticed a huge confusion about the meaning of sustainability and organic food.
To analyze the data resulting from the interview we designed an Affinity Diagram that helped us to synthesize our findings. We found out some patterns from duplicated sticky notes on the wall and we decided to vote on realistic goals to work on.
We were finally able to define what were our users feelings and thoughts, and we got closer to what they need to do.
Define our user persona
User persona are not real people, they can actually represent a group of people for which we are designing our product or service. Personas reflects user needs that will translate at a second stage into product decisions.
We especially focused on the pains and gains we learned about after listening to our interviewees and we came up with our user persona: Organic Oliver.
In order to design his journey map, we tried to answer to the following question: What are Organic Oliver’s frustrations?
He feels really frustrated by the lack of clear information on the labels of organic products, the high price of organic food and the fact that local products are often not accessible so he doesn’t always know where to buy them. From this we were able to create a user journey.
We imagined a scenario where our user is having dinner while watching a documentary about food sustainability. He gains an interest in eating and buying more local products but still at the end of his journey, doesn’t manage to buy anything local. As showed in the image above, Organic Oliver has a real interest in organic food and depsite the lack of clear information and availability of local products in the supermarket where he goes grocery shopping, he still wants to conduct an healthier life and want to help his community by reducing his carbon fooprint.
Based on his journey, we came up with some ideas on how to solve his problems and frustrations. We thought about an App and its possible features during our brainstorming and we define our problem statement.
Young conscious professionals need to find a way to be able to access more information about local products because they want to connect with their local producers.
We believe that making information about local products more accessible for young conscious professionals will achieve the goal of connecting shoppers with their local producers. We will know we are right when 30% or more of their grocery budget is for organic, local products.
Ideate and Prototype
With all the ideas of the team on the board, we were able to vote and chose which features would have been included in our app in order to start doing our sketches, separately at the first stage.
We thought about our app as a kind of “Uber for Farmers”
The final concept sketches resulted in an app similar to Uber in its concept but different in its scope, of course. Users would use our app when looking for local products (WHAT), and especially to know where to buy them (WHERE): for example directly from the farmer, or in which local shop/market those products are actually available and so on.
We also added a sort of Linkedin/profile page of the producer (ex. Farmer Joe) in order to address the problem of lack of information about organic, lcoal produce by fuelling, at the same time, fair and honest relationships between producers and customers.
The user finds out more about the producer and his products and eventually can add them in his shopping chart and proceed wtih the purchase, either for collection and for home delivery.
He can also decide to buy products from multiple producers. As you can see on the last page of the sketches, the checkout will still be one, making the experience of buying local products through our app easy, quick and sustainable!
We illustrated our App concept sketches to some potential users and they all agreed that our App makes local products more accessible and that they would be encouraged to buy directly from the farmers, or producers in general. In fact, the possibility to correlate the online and offline experience of shopping groceries seems to be a game changer for many users.
Ultimately, we have learnt that:
- There is not enough information about organic and that people often struggles to determine whether their shopping habits for groceries are sustainable and environmentally conscious or not. Also, labelling of organic is confusing and people often don’t understand it.
- Local products are not easily accessible.
- There is no actual relationship between the user and the producer.
- Rebuild the survey questions more accurately, especially for multiple choices questions.
- More testing of concept
- Ideate the delivery logistics (eg. Uber)
- Research, define and interview a Secondary Persona — The Producer