A go-to place to collaborate for the agricultural sector
In collaboration with the Vytautas Magnus University, Corner Case Technologies are leading the research and development of an
“Agricultural Cooperation and Sharing Platform”, supported by the European Regional Development Fund.
The goal is to introduce an innovative sharing solution for agricultural entities to reduce equipment and other operating costs.
This is achieved by giving users access to a platform to search, book and utilise machinery from other users on the platform, as well as share resources and trade harvest.
Before sketching the product we conducted extensive competitor product research.
Whilst we found many indirect competitors such as HarvestPort, FarmEase, Farmers Business Network and others offered basic machinery sharing, there appeared to be no direct competitor offering a complete collaboration platform to include equipment, agricultural services, knowledge share or to trade harvest.
To validate our assumptions on how farmers currently collaborate with each other and identify their pain points,
our partner Vytautas Magnus University conducted a survey with 75 farmers.
We kept our survey short, and contained a mix of closed- and open-ended questions.
The goal of the survey was to assess the requirements and opportunities when selling/trading farm production, offering and/or buying services in agriculture, or renting agro machinery/equipment.
We used an affinity diagram as a method to organize data gathered from our survey into groups and themes based on their relationships.
User Needs: Personas
Personas are a great marketing and UX design tool; they help understand users’ goals and needs; and simulate real
people you could talk to.
Working with farmers on Sejico personas helped us effectively define our use cases and make sure the solution would be equally useful for all user types.
- Owns 82 haGrows mainly buckwheat
Adam is an active farmer who is open to explore new crops. He inherited the farm from his parents. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Agronomics.
Adam is eager to try new technologies and tools that could potentially help him increase efficiency in his daily operations. He often checks local e-portals (e.g. infoplius.lt, skelbiu.lt or agrodeo.lt) to find and buy fertilizers, equipment parts or services online. Sometimes he rents agro machinery from agro machinery rental companies, especially when he’s experimenting with growing new types of cultivations. Vytautas is an active participant in his local farmers community.
Cheaper production (buckwheat) is being imported from Russia and Ukraine which lowers the buckwheat prices locally. Buckwheat can only be grown ecologically so it’s challenging to protect them from weed. He needs equipment to help grow buckwheat and harvest it. It’s a weather sensitive activity. Vytautas usually uses the internet to find useful information on best practices and his personal network to find help and equipment he needs.
Plikių km., Klaipėdos r., LithuaniaOwns 100 haGrows rapeseed
Jonas is a very conservative farmer, he manages the farm together with his brother Petras, who helps him to keep the old traditions kept by their father. The brothers have gained valuable farming knowledge passed down from their father and grandfather. Jonas is a graduate of the Academy of Agriculture and holds a degree in agronomy, as he was interested in agriculture since childhood.
Jonas is a conservative farmer who cherishes the farming traditions of his dad. Through many years of farming, he already knows what works and what doesn't. It is very difficult for him to innovate and to adapt to change. He is very proud of his farm, therefore he shares the good practice with other farmers by organising the visits to his farm. Jonas enjoys buying the needed equipment using newspapers, he checks the ads every morning. Afterwards, he calls to the supplier in order to get a consultation. He uses bank transfer to pay for the large amounts of fertilizers that he buys from the long-term suppliers.
Rapeseed is a very sensitive crop to weather conditions, and in addition requires sufficient fertilizer due to the high susceptibility to pests. In order to gain a good harvest a chopper is needed, which would significantly improve the growth density. Another important factor is the planning of sowing and harvesting times and Jonas struggles to find the additional manpower during the harvesting season. He has just acquired a new Combine Harvester and as a significant investment, he wouldn't trust anyone to use it other than himself.
Liudvinavo km., Marijampolės r., LithuaniaOwns 15 haGrows a variety of vegetables,oats and wheat
10 years ago he moved to his wife's homeland, where she owned 8ha and after few years they have rented another 7ha. Peter is a well-known and respected agronomist within his village.
Peter is a fun, optimistic and curious person. He tends to experiment with innovation and likes to generate new ideas and initiatives. He has a high interest in new cultures of crops and vegetables as well as technical innovations within farming. Peter is also active in the ecological farmers associations, therefore he would not buy pesticides and always carefully considers the pros and cons of fertilizers before buying. He likes to share his experience with neighbours and long term contacts and asks their help when making a decision.
Peter is constantly worried about the weather conditions affecting the yield. The purchasing prices are low, however the continuous investment is required for the farm. What is more, different cultures require different yielding or sowing techniques, which makes the farm costly.
Lenkelių km., Raseinių r., LithuaniaOwns 50 haGrows corn and potatoes
Maria inherited her love for agriculture from her father and knew from childhood that she would continue his work. She did very well in school, graduated with honors from the Agricultural Technical School, and gained the professional degree in environmental management.
Maria is an extrovert, likes to try new things and is keen for innovation, values family traditions, relies on intuition and is driven by feelings. She is very active in organising the traditional dances contests as well as in the ecological farms association of her region. The majority of her production is sold to big buyers, and a small proportion of it Maria sells in a local market. When it comes to agro machinery needs, she usually rents a tractor from other farmers that she knows well. She values long term relationship with them and the fact that she can ask for advice when needed. She pays for rentals in cash.
Maria is continuosly worried about decreasing purchase price of potatoes and maize. Due to the lack of equipment (as the neighbor’s machinery broke down and another one has to help other neighbors with larger farms) the yield is poor due to late harvesting time and bad weather conditions. These are the main reasons why the farm doesn't pay off. At the moment Maria does not know where to find the contacts of other machinery owners who could help her. She has also indicated a need of better planning of machinery and harvesting as she noticed that these factors have a high impact on her harvest.
Agricultural Company “AgroTransport”
Est. 1992 in KėdainiaiOwns 2350 haProduction ranges from wheat to milk and cattle breeding
Company was established in 1992 and is still the main business within the small village in Lithuania. The company has 2350 ha in total and the main production ranges from wheat to milk and cattle breeding. Company has around 100 employees.
As the company was established 27 years ago, it has a lot of old machinery, which continuously needs some parts to be replaced. Therefore, they buy them online. The company also uses the e-shops for buying fertilizers, pesticides etc. As the company has in house expertise in agronomy and chemistry, they feel safe when buying online.
The main frustrations of the company are the lack of skilled workforce, the young generation is not interested in working in regions, the machinery is depreciated and needs continuous repair.
Summary of users’ pain points
- ● Expensive equipment/machinery and maintenance with low industry ROI
- ● Farmers struggle to find new service providers due to limited information about suppliers
- ● No central source in agriculture that allows users to find desired goods or services based on location and availability
- ● Information on crops, services or machinery rentals is fragmented across the industry, making sourcing difficult
A fresh and innovative marketplace called ‘Sejico’ to encourage collaboration and knowledge share within the agricultural community
Storyboards helps to show how users experience a problem when trying to achieve their goals. To summarize one of our user persona’s pain points, we quickly sketched a storyboard.
Approach to solving the problem - a solution to Jonas and Maria’s pain points,
is to build a system that solves the challenges they face.
One of the user flows:
The next step was wireframing. We used Adobe XD, a web based application, to create screens and a prototype to simulate the general user flow, navigation and overall look.
The prototype has been improved throughout several iterations based on the feedback we received during seminars, conferences, meetings with farmers, academics in agriculture etc.
This is a quick and simple way to test the product before visual design and development.
Name and Logo
Naming as well as logo creation has been a bit of a challenge. We had a few naming ideas for the product such as “Harvesy”, “AgroTech”, “AgroShare”, “Agronetas/Agronet” “Agromenas”
“YourAgro” “AgroMagnet” “Smartagris”. After long discussions with stakeholders we chose “Sejico” - it’s simple and memorable.
Since the product will be launched in Lithuania, the name also suggests sowing. Next step was Logo creation.
We wanted to create a simple and clean logo that would also hint agro industry.
Logo elements were inspired by the shape of a grain. Our aim was to have a logo that would convey the main message of the brand, and support its goal.
The next stage was deciding on the colour scheme, choosing readable and visually appealing fonts and creating a set of UI elements.
To wrap up
We shared the prototype with a test group of people working in the industry for years and their feedback was very positive regarding the initial functionalities and UX/UI.
Sejico is currently under development. We have released our first MVP (Minimum Viable Product) - a basic version of a product already. It will help us in testing, further improving usability and delivering the final product.