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Small Farm Central

User Research Interviews, Responsive Website Design

Small Farm Central had recently developed a new suite of tools to assist their customers with  managing, running and marketing their small farm businesses.

Our team was brought in to help SFC transition their brand identity from a developer of disparate products and applications to a company that provides a complete package of digital tools for business-minded farmers. 

Their new site pulls together the tools into one comprehensive, branded website that communicated stronger, more well-rounded capabilities.

www.smallfarmcentral.com

Conducting User Research Interviews

Because Small Farm Central was at a turning point with their business model, we determined that conducting user research was critical to understanding product expectations, questions, and concerns.


Our User Experience team interviewed small farmers including both current clients and those who were unfamiliar with Small Farm Central tools and software. Interviews followed think-aloud protocol, ensuring we could properly document the target market’s thoughts as they viewed low fidelity prototypes and imagined completing web-based tasks.


The consumer insight we collected and analyzed helped us to move from initial prototypes into high-fidelity wireframes that framed the conversation for site-users appropriately.

Goal-Oriented Prototyping

The website needed to facilitate the visualization of their brand for new prospective clients, yield specific website journeys based on disparate needs of varying types of farmers, and increase email opt-ins, free trials and ultimately sales.

With user research to guide our decisions, this project’s design discovery phase transitioned smoothly from initial prototypes to high fidelity wireframes and homepage sketches. Our final wireframes were hyper-focused on audience needs, allowing visitors to self identify their pain points before ultimately being guided to the solutions and products that solve their specific challenges.

Initial Design Exploration

It was important to the SFC team that the website design convey trust to their consumers by highlighting both their farm industry and marketing knowledge.

Therefore, our designers explored two “farm-professional” directions based on our solidified wireframes and strategy. The initial concept combined agricultural photography with calculated illustrative iconography. The second design focused entirely on illustration and utilized strong background textures to bring text sections to life.

Refining the Look & Feel

After meeting with the SFC team, we decided to move forward with the first design direction, but we used inspiration from option two to update the background textures, icons, and stronger headings.

Most of our design revisions took place above the fold, the bottom of screen prior to scrolling. It was important to SFC that the product icons display prominently upon homepage entrance. So, for the final design we removed the initial masthead image and let the tool icons take center stage so they were the first content presented to users.

Creating User-Centered Content

Our user research interviews showed us that most site users would search based on their particular challenges as a farmer juggling marketing, CSA management, farmers' markets and more. To respond to these users, we created what we called pain point pages that provided solutions for certain obstacles facing busy farmers.

On the other hand, other users would explore the full toolkit to determine what available solutions resonate with them. We developed product pages to include tool details, abbreviated pricing information, and strong call-to-actions to view demos.

Additionally, the development of an onsite blog and case study portfolio provides site users with additional insight and real-world examples of how SFC tools have benefited farmers just like them. The simple content management system makes it easy for SFC team to update new success stories independently after launch.

Improving Pricing Understanding with Dynamic Tables

Because SFC provides multiple pricing plans for each tool based on farm membership size, we needed to create a visual pricing layout that would communicate pricing details clearly.

Our team developed pricing tables complete with dynamic tabs that include both pricing information as well as tool FAQs. When a user tabs through the plans, the FAQ content changes to reflect the plan and price the user is currently viewing. This eliminates the need for site visitors to search through multiple pages to find their answers and streamlines the user experience.

We completed each tab content area with two contextual call-to-actions to drive free trials and additional exploration.

Conclusion

The new rebranded website repositions Small Farm Central from a provider of various tools to a comprehensive one-stop-shop for farm marketing. The user research interviews we conducted paved the way for a user-centric design and information architecture, and provides SFC with necessary target market knowledge they can use to make changes and additions to their business in the future. Using the flexible CMS, Small Farm Central can add new blog posts and success stories to their site regularly to keep content fresh for their users.

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