Research, Analysis, Wireframes
1 Week February 2017
Pick Locally & Share Locally
This app seeks to instill a sense of community and sharing by connecting those neighbors who have excess produce, like oranges or tomatoes, with those neighbors who would love to take them off their hands. Bringing communities together to share in the wealth of the land that may be just a few doors down.
A difference you can taste!
Imagine, walking past a tree in a neighbor’s front yard, overladen with fruit, the ground littered with fallen and decomposing fruit.
The passerby is thinking…
“Is the fruit good to eat?”
“What a waste!”
“Does the owner do anything with the fruit?”
The owner of the fruit tree is thinking…
“Who can I give fruit to?”
“More chores to do picking up after the tree!”
“Will anyone want this fruit?”
The challenge is to create a platform which answers the questions on these two user’s minds and provides a solution to their thoughts. The challenge is also to address that these two users are sometimes the same person, a person with surplus produce who would also be happy to help pick fruit from a neighbor's trees.
As a bonus, how do we create a sense of community, familiarity and trust, reminiscent of small towns with old family friends where it is common practice to share and exchange produce?
I researched direct competitor apps and platforms. The only existing mobile app is Grab a Fruit, which had confusing navigation and distracting visual design, but did integrate produce from public and private lands. There is a good website example, RipeNear.Me which focused on produce on private land with good visual design overall.
A third related platform is Falling Fruit an website that started as a map of fruit trees on public land and became focused much more on collaborative art projects and happenings. The same organization is in the process of creating Endless Orchard, a focused website for mapping public fruit, continuing their original inspiration.
For context and inspiration, I also looked at analogous platforms like Airbnb, Couchsurfing, and Nextdoor, which integrate location specific private service offerings with interactions between users whose roles are potentially interchangeable. I additionally referenced Yelp for their customizable filter searches and bookmarks, Podcasts for Subscriptions navigation, and Facebook Messenger for facilitating communication exchanges.
After creating user flows and happy paths for both user roles, the Grower and the Picker, I synthesized these sequences with observations from my research to create a suggested feature list for different actions user roles would need; from searching for produce available, posting their own produce, to subscribing to growers and arranging the exchange.
Airbnb implemented view switches from hosting to traveling, I am curious if a similar model would be useful for switching between user roles, growing and picking, and how it would impact other navigation elements.
One solution for visual mapping of the produce available was with different sized pins to indicate that there are multiple types of produce available at one location. Usability testing will reveal if this design approach is intuitive.
Giving the grower the option to list their offerings in a clear segmented manner, like the Airbnb platform, would give clarity to those searching for produce as well as make listing the produce more streamlined. Users in either role are given all the information needed to bring them both onto the same page logistically for the exchange.
Organizing the posts as well as subscriptions into similar collections seems like a good solution for navigational familiarity. Usability testing will reveal if it is actually necessary or if it is confusing to have similar organizational frameworks accessed by different roles.
Adding the suggestion for a taking produce from a neighbor now in exchange for produce in return at a later time simulates the trust present in a relationship that is long term and steady just as the seasons pass. When produce comes into season in their garden later in the year, then perhaps the user will think of their neighbor and how it would be nice to stop by.