Our client, Airlie Trescowthick from The Farm Table approached us to create an app called Farmer Exchange to be a human knowledge hub for the Australian agriculture industry. The app needed to be a platform for saving and sharing the expertise of older farmers and for young farmers to access and share knowledge amongst their peers. Australian Agriculture is changing and evolving faster than farmers can imagine when working in isolation. Farmer Exchange provides a platform for overcoming this inherent remoteness and a forum for cross pollination of knowledge and ideas. Farmer Exchange is also about preserving knowledge for the next generation of farmers.
The Farmer Exchange app was developed to create the right online culture and user experience to build a collaborative knowledge bank. It is a real game changer for the Australian agricultural industry.
Our brief was to produce an industry leading application, providing an online hub to connect farmers with memberships based on their industry niche. So, we got to work building an app that is now the national knowledge and information network for Australian farmers.
The app had to create an accessible environment; encouraging farmers to share knowledge, experiences and best practice advice via discussion topics and threads which start from a farmer generated question, followed by responses and comments.
The farmer Exchange platform needed to interact seamlessly with the existing Farm Table site.
A searchable knowledge base via a simple to use interface was required.
Given that Farmer Exchange is an extension of the Farm Table, the design had to be independent yet belong. It needed to continue the look of the Farm Table yet be autonomous in appearance. The design had to be simplified to work within the app as it was most likely going to be used on an iPad, tablet or smartphone.
A special tone of blue that represents a blue summer sky, something a farmer sees a lot, was chosen to bind it to the logo of its parent site, the Farm Table.
The branding had to be readable on any device and convey a simple contemporary design, respecting knowledge of the older generation and embrace innovation.
Simplification of communication design focussed on the typography to make an abundant amount of information look aesthetically pleasing. The app has few images, and to avoid a mass of words and information overload, plenty of white space blocks contain the text. This helps the information to flow in a natural way that is readable for the eye.
Graphics such as the icons were repeated to create continuity of themes making separate topics and question categories easily identifiable. Icons were designed for simplicity and recognition.
Images were limited so the app appeals to cross commodity personnel, not just a particular niche or demographic.
The development of the core software involved components such as a customer database, mail server, plugin framework to allow for future expansion of the app, installer for rapid installation of updates and new packages, a monitor to notify admin when the system goes down, scheduler and a virtual private network.
Farmer Exchange customises information for each user profile that reflects their interests and location. Content is managed by syncing databases via categories, tags, topics of discussion and questions asked by a user. Users can manage their login profiles and by indicating their interest areas, location and areas of expertise. Grouping of members takes place and automatic content is generated and matched to a user or groups.
Registered logged in users can contribute to posts, threads, ask and answer questions. Industry experts are invited in to answer farmer questions or introduce items of discussion.
A real time chat window is on the app on all pages, so problems can be solved, and questions can be answered in real time; improving farmer support. Group chats are also facilitated. We incorporated a live chat window using Olark which can be operated remotely by one or more staff and full transcripts of conversations can be saved and printed for admin records.
We have built in features, such as SMS alerts to members on threads and areas of interest.
Farmer Exchange is always developing and growing according to the customer needs so an avenue for feedback via a contact form can be submitted by a member. A reporting system for inappropriate content is available also.
An online support ticket system is built in to categorise client contact or tech support issues, removing as much email as possible and providing transcripts of client contact as needed.
We Push Buttons Expertise
If you need a presentable app with contemporary design features, filtering and organising complicated database systems to engage your customers and get your message out there, why not contact us for a quote? Our development and design team have experience coordinating and creating information into a complex application with a seamless and an easy to use interface for the end user. We provide ongoing business and technical support to our clients, ensuring the product we develop remains highly functional and up to date.