Agro App - Mobile based Information system for Indian farmers

Processes involved in designing an information system catering to the needs of illiterate & semi literate, small-holder Indian farmers.

Why Information system?

Small-holder Indian farmers commit suicide primarily due to their poor economic condition. Factors such as debts, drought, natural calamity, disease etc accounts for their poor economic condition. In order to improve their economic condition, a qualitative user research was conducted to identify their problems, needs and understand their livelihood. This study identified that an information system to inform the selling price of crops, disease and weather alerts is the prime need of Indian farmers.

Project

My final Master’s thesis

Domain

Agritech

Design Process

Ethnographic research
Interaction Design
Prototyping
Usability Testing

Duration

12 Months

User Research

Qualitative user research (shadowing, contextual enquiry & semi-structured interviews) was conducted with small-holder farmers.

Farming involves heavy physical work and longer working hours

Problem - Information gap

During user study, I identified that farmers lacked access to critical information such as market price of crops, weather alerts, disease alerts, etc which impacted their business. The agricultural department on the other side had all the information required by farmers but had no proper channel to deliver the information to them. Thus an agricultural "information gap" was identified during user study.

Scenario

The agricultural middleman was observed to exploit the farmers ignorance about market price of the commodity. A visible impact of the information gap problem affecting farmers economy.

Observations & Insights

There are multiple factors influence the type of crop grown in a region. Based on the type of crop, the marketplace can be both static and dynamic.

Inferences from the study

1. “Information Gap” exists between the farmers and the agricultural departments
2. Farmers require variety of information at different stages of farming
3. Farmers use Mobile phones for communication
4. Develop system that farmers can use individually & not collectively
5. Solutions offered must be low cost/cost free

Design ideas

The initial design ideas is as follows,

One of the initial ideas was to visually map the different marketplaces and provide price forecast similar to weather forecast
Slowly the idea evolved towards a more location based information system

Overall system design and final concept