Mobile Technology That Understands Farmers by SHERPA

Collaborating with İşbank on solidifying their vision of digitalization in agriculture, SHERPA first validated a brand-new product idea developed for farmers, then designed the user experience.

SHERPA has collaborated with İşbank, giving extensive coverage to agricultural banking among the innovative products offered since 1924 as the Republic of Turkey’s first national bank, to validate a few ideas that had not yet turned into products.

The goal was to both understand the problems these product ideas provide solutions for and validate these problems and the solutions for the target audience. ImeceMobil mobile app is the embodiment of just one of these product ideas, which SHERPA validated with the Idea Validation Framework, a homemade process.

ImeceMobil, quickly adopted and received stellar comments thanks to its emergence from an idea validation process based on user research, is also awarded to Silver Sardis in the Product and Service Innovation/Banks category of the Sardis Awards 2020, which focuses on the most innovative projects and outstanding marketing achievements of financial sector players.

Problems

SHERPA identified five problems to validate by deciphering the product idea on a lean canvas at the beginning of the idea validation project.

  1. Difficulty accessing financial products and services
  2. Difficulty accessing the branch for banking transactions
  3. Difficulty in accessing accurate and up-to-date data, information and experience on farming
  4. Difficulties in financial planning for farming
  5. Difficulty accessing accurate information on agricultural legislation

SHERPA’s Approach

İşbank had a product idea that blended innovative technologies to solve a problem on a global scale by providing digital access to the right information and financial products that farmers need. With its Idea Validation Framework approach, SHERPA worked on deciphering user needs and defining & developing a hypothesis from business goals and user needs, for the target audience to define the product’s feature set and measurement criteria.

Process

SHERPA collaborated with the İşbank team to determine the main strategy in the first step of the project. After having defined the main benefits and features of the new product idea, SHERPA started working on the validation process.

In the contextual interviews SHERPA conducted, it appeared that the problems the new product idea focuses on are valid in the lives of the users.

sherpa-collaborated-with-isbank-to-determine-the-main-strategy

In order to verify whether the solutions provided by the new product idea corresponds to the farmers’ needs, SHERPA carried out a fake-doors emailing campaign with a much wider user pool matching their target audience. Once analyzed, the results according to the criteria defined in the context of the Idea Validation Framework, showed that the new product idea attracted high-interest from the target audience.

The result obtained from the idea validation project sparked excitement for all parties involved. As a next step, SHERPA rolled up its sleeves right away to design the experience of the new product.

In collaboration with the project owner, SHERPA first clarified the feature set for the initial version of the product and drew user flows while building the navigation structure. Then, SHERPA created the content maps and designed the key interactions to build the final user interface. Upon finalizing the designs, SHERPA delivered the assets to İşbank and its technology subsidiary Softtech with the satisfaction of being a stakeholder of a user-centred digital product that improves the lives of farmers.

Problem Validation: Mapping the New Product Idea to the Accurate Problems

In the problem validation phase of the project, SHERPA conducted contextual interviews with farmers all around Turkey, in accordance with the target audience defined on the lean canvas process. After that, SHERPA tested the prevalence of the problems that have been validated in the interviews via face-to-face surveys with farmers who visited agricultural fairs held in Izmir and Aydın, in February 2018.

When analyzed, the answers of the participants to whom SHERPA asked questions in the context of the nature and scale of their agricultural production activities, their use of smartphones and the internet, the channels they use to obtain information about the production activity, and the problems encountered in agricultural activities; SHERPA confirmed that three of the five problems on which the product idea focuses are valid for the target audience.

  1. Difficulty accessing financial products and services
  2. Difficulty accessing the branch for banking transactions
  3. Difficulty in accessing accurate and up-to-date data, information and experience on farming √
  4. Difficulties in financial planning for farming √
  5. Difficulty accessing accurate information on agricultural legislation √

Solution Validation: Evaluating Users’ Interest in the New Product Idea

How do you evaluate interest in a product that is not yet available? By “pretending”.

In the idea validation phase of the project, SHERPA carried out a fake-doors emailing campaign targeting a much wider user pool matching the target audience. By giving out the details of the product idea without disclosing essential information that should be kept confidential, SHERPA quantitatively measured the users’ interest in the product idea at two levels: the click-through rate of opened emails and the rate of email address entry/survey view through the form.

As a result, although the email opening rate reaching 17.1% was close to the lower limit of the standard value range, the click-through rate was well above the standards with 7.2%. When evaluated, the result of the fake doors emailing based on the number of emails opened, SHERPA picked out that 42% of those who viewed the email content where the product idea was announced took action to get more information about the product. This ratio was a good indicator that farmers needed an innovative solution in this area.

Consequently, SHERPA had confirmed through user data that the new product idea, which aims to provide farmers with digital access to reliable information and applicable financial products, has a high-value creation potential.

Designing the User Experience of a Validated Product Idea

Designing the experience of a product addressing a set of validated problems feels like a privilege by itself. Utilizing a decision-making framework has enabled all stakeholders to share common ground when making foundational design decisions and this alignment has resulted in a satisfying product for its end users, both delivering real value and embodying İşbank’s vision of technology-assisted agriculture.


About SHERPA

Founded as the first enterprise of DAM Startup Studio in 2013, SHERPA, with its Istanbul and London offices, designs digital experiences for an ideal human-device interaction with a user-experience-focused approach.

SHERPA has been offering high ROI services for leading multinational and national institutions in a large number of industries from finance to tourism, white appliances to automotive and electronics to retail. With an extensive portfolio of successful projects to its name, SHERPA has been awarded UX Design Awards Honor Award, IF Design and Red Dot award, all of which are considered to be the most prestigious awards in the world.

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