Manjunath* is an Indian farmer who grows sugarcane on a 10-acre ancestral farm. He is not fully literate and unaware of the government subsidies available to him, the latest price of his crops, or how to get the best price for his produce.
At the start of the season, Manjunath approaches the nearby dealer shop to ask for the necessary inputs to cultivate his farm, who provide a higher-order value of inputs for his farm (around 11-12 acres). Apart from the extra expense, the inputs adulterate the farm, resulting in lower yields for the coming seasons and chemical-laced produce.
For agri-related issues, Manjunath directly approaches the dealer, who typically gives them incorrect advice to maximize their profit. Over time, even minor crop issues seem to spiral out of control.
This is not just Manjunath’s story but a snapshot of the many challenges Indian farmers face every day.
Key Challenges In Indian Agriculture
Challenges faced by 140 million farmers
No Access to Information
Low farmer Income
Agribase is a popular agri-tech product that helps Indian farmers make critical business decisions on their crops and improve overall farm profitability. Their app has over 5 million downloads on the play store
This is purely a hypothetical exercise and was not done in collaboration with any other company.
Agribase <> Manjunath
Having struggled with low crop yields and related profits over the past few years, Manjunath stumbled across the AgriBase app on youtube and decided to give it a try
Even though Manjunath has installed the app, he finds it difficult to fulfill his basic needs in the app, like caring for his crop or finding the price of his produce.
Declining metrics for Agribase
Even though Agribase has great acquisition metrics, their engagement and retention metrics are poor and they have no clue about the root cause of the same. They feel they have built a great product with all the features a farmer would need.
Understanding and Defining the Problem
To make the product better for both Manjunath and Agribase, we must first understand the userbase, market, and ecosystem. This involves understanding users. defining their goals and needs and creating usable artifacts around the same.
Understanding Goals and Market
At the very beginning, it is important to understand the vision of the product, the market and ecosystem and the userbase of the product.
After getting a high level picture of the product, users and the market, it is important to conduct product research to get a deeper understanding of users and their needs.
All research data must then be analysed to derive key insights which can then be turned into usable artifacts. "Jobs To Be Done" is one of the frameworks that can be used to define this.
The result of our understanding needs to be defined in usable artifacts like personas, desired-outcome and job statements and design principles. These artefacts can then be used throughout the product building process.
Persona is a key artifact that represents our understanding of the userbase and market. It is important to outline the needs of users like Manjunath to be able to identify problems in the current product and eventually solve them.
Auditing The Existing App
To understand the problems in the current app, we must audit the app with artifacts like personas in mind. This process helps us identify the problems farmers like Manjunath might face on a daily basis.
Onboarding is a key part of the product journey and often defines whether the user is able to understand the value proposition of the product or not. A bad onboarding often results in lower engagement metrics across the board.
Value proposition is not clear
No clear path to activation
Guidance is absent
The home screen is the most important part of the product and is often the starting point of any other major product story. A good home screen is the main reason users engage with the app and keep coming back to it.
Possibilities Not Clear
Inconsistent, Sub-optimal layout and interface
High Level Approach to the Solution
The following will be some of the high-level solutions we would propose to resolves the current issues faced by AgriBase users.
Clear show possibilities of the app
Clear breakdown of user activation
Clear navigation and direction to the user
Clean and accessible User Interface
A great Onboarding experience
Clear Value Proposition
The primary responsibility of a great onboarding experience is to communicate the value proposition of the product quickly and clearly. In this case, the app should attempt to address Manjunath's needs very early in the onboarding process.
Focus on User Activation
To achieve a long-lasting relationship with the user, the product must activate them as quickly as possible. The first step in that direction is to understand what "Activation" means in the context of the product
Here, having a personalized (and relevant) home-screen experience is core to activating the user. To achieve that, the user is asked about their crops in the onboarding flow.
It is important to simplify the login process because most new internet users find the concept of an "account" complex to use.
Everything you need on the Home Screen
Clear and Efficient Navigation
The primary role of the home screen is to provide access to all core features in the app and showcase the overall possibilities.
Consistent Grid Layout
We recommend creating a layout grid on the home screen to address user needs in a systematic, budgeted, and flexible manner. In this case, each section (like crops, banner, navigation, tasks, and so on) has a certain amount of height and width allocated to it and widgets have to showcase their data in that constrained environment.
The information on the home screen needs to be personalized to the user to ensure that they keep coming back to it, Here the crop and crop plans are tailor-made for Manjunath's use cases and motivate him to keep coming to the app.
User Needs and Goals
Each user has different needs and it is important to analyze and prioritize them
The home screen needs to have prominent access to high priority needs
A proper visual hierarchy needs to be made so that all this information can be scanned and consumed in an easy way
Wherever possible, it would be good to show dynamic information on the home screen itself (without having to navigate anywhere)
Everything on the Home Screen is a Widget
The Home Screen is the heart of the app and every inch of space there is prime real estate that needs to be allocated to prioritized user needs or strategic priorities
Every element on the home screen conforms to this row/column grid.
In this specific example, you can see how a weather widget can be built to cover all 6 columns or just 3. Because horizontal screen real estate is very important here, we ended up going with the 3 column design so we could show more items on the screen.
Impact on Manjunath
With the above changes, the app can make Manjunath feel more confident and help him build a better farm, increase his revenues and lead a better life.
Understand the value proposition of the product quickly and efficiently
Gets Activated on the key features of the product in the first few minutes of using the app
Can address all of his user needs easily from the home screen
Feels confident in using the product
Impact on Real World Metrics
Positive Impact on Key Metrics
Growth in paid subscription base
Higher Subscription Renewal Rate
Increase in Engagement Rates
Some Of Our Recent Work
Here are some case studies showcasing the work we have done in Product Design and Engineering