360 SoilScan created an innovative new device for the soil-testing market. However, the control panel was not intuitive, and was not well-received by their users. The device needed a modern interface that would be self-explanatory and put farmers and agronomists at ease.
CLIENT Encore 360 Yield Center
Creating an Intuitive Interface
360 SoilScan created an innovative new device for the soil-testing market. However, the control panel was not intuitive, and was not well received by their users. The device needed a modern interface that would be self-explanatory and put farmers and agronomists at ease. If designed correctly, the device and interface would enable adoption by farmers and agronomists at every level. The goal was to save users time, reduce their risk, and increase their profits by allowing them to target the application of nitrogen in their fields.
Streamlining the User Experience
To accurately design an interface that would be fully embraced by SoilScan’s users, we had to join them in the fields. We needed to understand workflows, to watch early adopters use the device, and understand the context this new device would be operating within.
For example, our discovery work uncovered that farmers were working on multiple machines simultaneously to speed up field evaluation. This realization led to key design decisions that allow users to step away from the application mid-process, yet see their progress and next steps when they returned.
The interface application was built using Swift to send commands and receive measurement data from the device via Bluetooth Low Energy. Once sampled, the results are stored to an in-app database that replicates its data to a private cloud database, allowing the data to be shared among many devices and applications in the 360 Yield ecosystem. The application supports automatic export of CSV and PDF reports through various cloud services such as Google Drive and Dropbox, as well as directly to a computer via iTunes.
The new interface is modern and easy-to-use and walks the user, step-by-step, through preparing the soil sample to getting an accurate nitrate ion count. The sleek workflow enables farmers and agronomists to make quicker decisions about using fertilizer effectively. The key to success with this product was fully understanding the users and the operating constraints before designing the user experience and making platform decisions.