Webjunto

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Mobilizing local farmers to end chronic hunger in Kenya. 

Webjunto

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Mobilizing local farmers to end chronic hunger in Kenya. 

Webjunto

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Mobilizing local farmers to end chronic hunger in Kenya. 

webjunto logo

"Vivianne was amazing at leveraging her growing skills and abilities to perform critical user research and to avoid the pitalls of poor UX while designing the GoShaba project."

Jedidiah Weller, Co-CEO of Webjunto

Ycenter is a Global Experiential Education organization that uses design thinking and experiential learning to impact global issues. They asked Webjunto to design an innovative mobile application that would inspire their Nairobi program participants to solve the top problems related to local farmers and chronic hunger in Kenya.

The Problem

Through Discovery, we were able to clearly articulate the problemDelivering products to the marketplace is a challenge for farmers because of underdeveloped road systems, lack of access to reliable transportation, and high transport fees from middlemen.

Underdeveloped road systems in Kenya significantly contribute to the issue of chronic hunger. If farmers aren't able to bring their products to the marketplace, then their products go to waste and this directly contributes to the overall lack of food security that millions of Kenyans face every day.

The Problem

Through Discovery, we were able to clearly articulate the problemDelivering products to the marketplace is a challenge for farmers because of underdeveloped road systems, lack of access to reliable transportation, and high transport fees from middlemen.

Underdeveloped road systems in Kenya significantly contribute to the issue of chronic hunger. If farmers aren't able to bring their products to the marketplace, then their products go to waste and this directly contributes to the overall lack of food security that millions of Kenyans face every day.

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1 out of 4 children’s growth is stunted due to nutrition related issues in Kenya.

1 out of 4 children’s growth is stunted due to nutrition related issues in Kenya.

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16 million people in Kenya suffer from chronic food insecurity.

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46% of the population lives under the poverty line.

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74% of the population living in rural Kenya.

The Solution

We knew that the solution we implemented had to be simple and intuitive, that trust was key to the success of this product in light of the history of failed solutions from Westerners. GoShaba allows farmers to request motorbike deliverers to quickly and efficiently deliver their products to the marketplace. This service frees farmers from the overpriced fees of middlemen and also encourages younger generations - in particular Millennials - to play an active role in feeding their country.

GoShaba allows farmers to quickly sell their products and decreases the probability of their food going to spoil because of unreliable transportation. More importantly, this product fosters a sense of community and unity as farmers and people across the country partner together to end chronic hunger in Kenya.

The Solution

We knew that the solution we implemented had to be simple and intuitive, that trust was key to the success of this product in light of the history of failed solutions from Westerners. GoShaba allows farmers to request motorbike deliverers to quickly and efficiently deliver their products to the marketplace. This service frees farmers from the overpriced fees of middlemen and also encourages younger generations - in particular Millennials - to play an active role in feeding their country.

GoShaba allows farmers to quickly sell their products and decreases the probability of their food going to spoil because of unreliable transportation. More importantly, this product fosters a sense of community and unity as farmers and people across the country partner together to end chronic hunger in Kenya.

The Solution

We knew that the solution we implemented had to be simple and intuitive, that trust was key to the success of this product in light of the history of failed solutions from Westerners. GoShaba allows farmers to request motorbike deliverers to quickly and efficiently deliver their products to the marketplace. This service frees farmers from the overpriced fees of middlemen and also encourages younger generations - in particular Millennials - to play an active role in feeding their country.

GoShaba allows farmers to quickly sell their products and decreases the probability of their food going to spoil because of unreliable transportation. More importantly, this product fosters a sense of community and unity as farmers and people across the country partner together to end chronic hunger in Kenya.

The Solution

We knew that the solution we implemented had to be simple and intuitive, that trust was key to the success of this product in light of the history of failed solutions from Westerners. GoShaba allows farmers to request motorbike deliverers to quickly and efficiently deliver their products to the marketplace. This service frees farmers from the overpriced fees of middlemen and also encourages younger generations - in particular Millennials - to play an active role in feeding their country.

GoShaba allows farmers to quickly sell their products and decreases the probability of their food going to spoil because of unreliable transportation. More importantly, this product fosters a sense of community and unity as farmers and people across the country partner together to end chronic hunger in Kenya.

The Solution

We knew that the solution we implemented had to be simple and intuitive, that trust was key to the success of this product in light of the history of failed solutions from Westerners. GoShaba allows farmers to request motorbike deliverers to quickly and efficiently deliver their products to the marketplace. This service frees farmers from the overpriced fees of middlemen and also encourages younger generations - in particular Millennials - to play an active role in feeding their country.

GoShaba allows farmers to quickly sell their products and decreases the probability of their food going to spoil because of unreliable transportation. More importantly, this product fosters a sense of community and unity as farmers and people across the country partner together to end chronic hunger in Kenya.

GoShaba Splash Screen

My Role

My Role

My Role

Webjunto designated me as the Lead UX Designer for this project.  I conducted the user research necessary for us to understand the cultural difference in Kenya, the pain points of local farmers, and the journey and experience of shipping food to market. I created all deliverables related to UX strategy and created the site map, userflows, and wireframes needed to build the product. After researching the psychology of color in Kenya, I partnered with another designer to visual design the mobile app and apply the branding identity that I developed.

Primary Contributions:

  • UX Research
  • UX Strategy
  • Information Architecture
  • Branding
  • Visual Design

The Challenge

As Lead UX Researcher & Designer of this project, my challenge was to:

Understand the target market of users that reside in a different country and culture.

Research cultural differences, current Kenyan mobile app trends, and the journey and experience of farmers selling their products at the marketplace. 

Analyze the relationship between chronic hunger and agriculture in Kenya.

Design an empathy-driven, intuitive mobile application that users can trust in a limited amount of time.

I was excited to learn about another culture and hear their stories. When we overlook the humanity of people in design, we are no longer solving problems - we are merely perpetuating assumptions.

First Things First: When Helping Hurts

Before beginning our Discovery phase, I knew that we needed to be careful to not impose an American "solution" without understanding the culture and context of our audience. I didn’t want to make the same mistake with this project: an outsider assuming solutions to problems only Kenyan farmers could speak to, perpetuating the costly error of confusing pity for empathy.

I needed to make sure that we prioritized:

- Solutions that considered the social and emotional needs of our audience
- Solutions that reduced uknown areas of suffering and pain points
- Solutions that empowered women
- Solutions designed for many villages, instead of just one

First Things First: When Helping Hurts

Before beginning our Discovery phase, I knew that we needed to be careful to not impose an American "solution" without understanding the culture and context of our audience.

The Process

DISCOVERY

The client initially presented us with the task of solving a problem that Kenyan farmers face and chronic hunger. As broad as these problems were, we recognized their close relationship to one another and knew that the client needed help clearly defining and articulating the problem this mobile application would solve.

Understanding the World of Agri-Tech

I needed to understand the relationship between Kenyan farmers and mobile applications, in particular ones related to agriculture technology (agri-tech). 

M-Pesa

Mpesa

Allows users to transfer money and provides financing and microfinancing services.

M-Farm

M-Farm

Updates farmers on current prices of goods and connects them directly to suppliers. 

EZ Farm

IBM

Helps small-scale farmers manage and anticipate their water resources.

Some key takeaways that would influence design:

  • The Impact of Accessibility: M-Pesa has lifted 194,000 households out of poverty simply by providing people access to banking options. The question of access is key to solving chronic issues in Kenya and researching M-Pesa provided insight into how and why access needs to be incorporated into our solution.

  • The Importance of Trust: the audiences that use agri-tech trust these mobile applications. Unfortunately, there have been too many Western companies who provide a solution to farmers, only to leave farmers high and dry when their funding runs out. A major challenge we will need to consider is getting farmers to trust the mobile application we create in light of the history of failed Western solutions.

  • The Influence of Technology: there is a growing demand for agri-tech and the use of mobile phones and the use of  Android phones is on the rise. We need to design with Android in mind first and leverage design trends that are widely used in Kenya.

Knowing Our Audience

This was the biggest challenge to the project, because we were an ocean apart from the audience that we desperately needed to understand and know.

I went to the people who are trying to build these products, who have done Ycenter workshops in the past, I went and found their stories. In light of the time constraint and an ocean between us, I had to rely on stories of previous ideas that Kenyans had in previous cohorts. I discovered what native Kenyan farmers viewed as problems and barriers towards solving problems related to agriculture and hunger (e.g. poor advice, exhausted soil, new pests, etc.).

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When I didn’t have direct access to the experiences of Kenyan farmers in the Ycenter program, I read articles, listened to podcasts/interviews, talked to international students in America who have family in Kenya as farmers.

"I refused to let the ocean and time constraint get in the way of understanding my audience, their unique struggles and pain points, and the problem that impacts their livelihoods and families."

When I didn’t have direct access to the experiences of Kenyan farmers in the Ycenter program, I read articles, listened to podcasts/interviews, talked to international students in America who have family in Kenya as farmers.

"I refused to let the ocean and time constraint get in the way of understanding my audience, their unique struggles and pain points, and the problem that impacts their livelihoods and families."

When I didn’t have direct access to the experiences of Kenyan farmers in the Ycenter program, I read articles, listened to podcasts/interviews, talked to international students in America who have family in Kenya as farmers.

"I refused to let the ocean and time constraint get in the way of understanding my audience, their unique struggles and pain points, and the problem that impacts their livelihoods and families."

Staying Problem-Focused: Lean Canvas

The Lean Canvas is a tool I used to keep us focused on solving problems instead of just implementing solutions. It emphasizes understanding the problem of the user, enforcing human-centered design thinking as the solution the problem began taking shape.

The Solution: a mobile application that would allow farmers to order a deliverer on a motor bike (known as a boda boda in Kenya) to deliver their products to marketplaces, merchants, and consumers. 

Staying Problem-Focused: Lean Canvas

The Lean Canvas is a tool I used to keep us focused on solving problems instead of just implementing solutions. It emphasizes understanding the problem of the user, enforcing human-centered design thinking as the solution the problem began taking shape.

The Solution: a mobile application that would allow farmers to order a deliverer on a motor bike (known as a boda boda in Kenya) to deliver their products to marketplaces, merchants, and consumers. 

GoShaba-Lean Canvas

UX STRATEGY

Staying Human-Centered: User Personas & Empathy Maps

Group

The user research I performed earlier was key to developing user personas and empathy maps for this project. I decided to focus on developing personas for the early adopters, as mentioned in the Lean Canvas, because of how crucial their engagement was to the success of this product.

"Whenever possible, I believe that it's key to include the client in creating at least one user persona or empathy map, because it reminds the client that their product is affecting real people and that those people need to be at the center of any discussion related to the design of their product."

"Whenever possible, I believe that it's key to include the client in creating at least one user persona or empathy map, because it reminds the client that their product is affecting real people and that those people need to be at the center of any discussion related to the design of their product."

"Whenever possible, I believe that it's key to include the client in creating at least one user persona or empathy map, because it reminds the client that their product is affecting real people and that those people need to be at the center of any discussion related to the design of their product."

Group 2

Being a counselor has taught me how to connect with my clients, to value their story, and to be in tune with their tone and nonverbal communication. This has proven to be a critical skill when developing empathy maps and re-directing clients to the humanity of their audience.

Let’s say after reading the entrepreneur's empathy map, my client tells me: “Jeesh, it sounds like she’s blaming.”

I'd use their comment as an opportunity to refocus their attention on the humanity in the problem:

"That's a helpful observation. Blame is often described as a discharge of discomfort and pain; what do you think her sources of discomfort and pain are?”

"That's a helpful observation. Blame is often described as a discharge of discomfort and pain; what do you think her sources of discomfort and pain are?”

I'm sure the ensuing conversation would allow space for empathy and other considerations for how we can design this product.

Click to view the User Personas and Empathy Maps.

Building Trust

As mentioned earlier, one challenge we would need to think through that would affect design is how to establish trust between Kenyan farmers and a product design by Westerners. I researched the different Western brands and companies that were trusted in Kenyan and proposed that we look to a well-known company in Nairobi for inspiration: Uber. Considering Uber in our design would help us build trust, especially because of its rising popularity and recognition of concept in Kenya.

Narrowing Our Focus: User Stories & User Flows

After conducting thorough user research and making sure it was validated by user personas and empathy maps, I created the user stories needed to prioritize product features for the MVP of this mobile application. They were then translated into user flows diagrams in order to visualize farmers' interaction with the product. 

New User - Registration

Diagram1

New/Returning User - Main Menu

Diagram2

Shipping Product to Market

Diagram3

Brand Identity

Product Name

Given the feedback from Ycenter staff and user research on stakeholders in the Kenyan agriculture business, it was clear that as a brand this product needed appeal to the unity and support of the farming community. We needed to brand this product in a way that would communicate trust, efficiency, and reliability.

mind maps

"Boda Boda" is the Swahili term for motor bikes and "Shaba" is the Swahili term for farm. We wanted to capture the speed and efficiency of this product and decided to call it GoShaba. 

Colors

The psychology of color is different in America than what it is in East Africa. It was crucial that we picked colors that would strengthen the brand identity and evoke correct emotional and unconscious response in order to build trust with our audience.

Color of Psychology – Kenya
Branding – GoShaba

The primary goal of the logo was to make it the most simple and transparent as possible. We didn't want to hide behind a logo icon, but instead wanted to highlight "Go" - its quickness, efficiency, and frequency - followed by a slimmer "Shaba," highlighting how this will make life within the farming community easier and less stressful. 

The primary goal of the logo was to make it the most simple and transparent as possible. We didn't want to hide behind a logo icon, but instead wanted to highlight "Go" - its quickness, efficiency, and frequency - followed by a slimmer "Shaba," highlighting how this will make life within the farming community easier and less stressful. 

"I was reminded that while I may think that our new product is an innovative marvel, if I ask my audience to modify existing behaviors or adopt new ones, it will fail."

"I was reminded that while I may think that our new product is an innovative marvel, if I ask my audience to modify existing behaviors or adopt new ones, it will fail."

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Vivianne Castillo  © 2018

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