Designing an Agricultural Loan and Investment App — A UI/UX Case Study

Roles — UI/UX Designer & User Researcher

Tools — Figma

Timeline — 4 weeks

Overview

Food is an essential part of life and farmers are very important in that circle too, but what happens when farmers can’t perform at their best because they can’t access affordable loans and proper funding, everybody goes hungry is what happens.

This project was for the SauceCode Hackathon which was held in November 2020. This was a team project and I was the UI/UX designer on the team of a front-end developer, a back-end developer, and a mobile developer.

The Challenge

A lot of people would like to go into agricultural farming but money is always a hindrance especially as they can’t access loans without any form of collateral. Access to proper funding can be a hassle most times as firms or banks need some form of collateral but the small business owners and farmers can’t always provide this collateral making them lose out on an opportunity to get funded and grow their businesses.

The Solution

I and my team set out to build a product that catered to farmers primarily and ensured they got proper access to funds and sufficient ones too, ensuring they perform at peak levels all year round.

We also allowed regular consumers the opportunity to invest their money in various farm outlets registered on our platform and make a profit after a stipulated period, this was another way of raising funds for our registered farmers.

Design Goals

At the end of this project, the following objectives should have been met to conclude my design process

  1. To design a product that helps farmers get access to proper and hassle-free funding as easily and quickly as possible to ensure they scale their businesses
  2. To help regular consumers have a low-risk environment they could invest their money for a profit after a stipulated time period
  3. To create a simple and organized interface to make sure even users that are not so tech-savvy could easily use the app

My Process

My design process for this project revolved around understanding the problem (discovery & research), ideating, and deciding (exploring solutions), prototyping, testing, and iterating.

My design process

User research

The form of user research I employed for this project was competitive analysis, since this was a hackathon I needed to move as fast as possible.

I started with a competitive analysis to see who our direct and indirect competitors were, this was to weigh the weakness and the strength of the agricultural loan and investment market and then I moved to make user personas based on the data from the research. This was to make sure every feature on our product was functional in ensuring users got their problems solved.

Competitive Analysis

With my competitive analysis out of the way, it was time to debrief and translate what I had learned from the qualitative data I had gathered. To achieve this I created user personas for both farmers and regular consumers too. This allowed me to empathize with prospective users of the product and ensured I knew their pain points, goals, and challenges.

user persona for a farmer
user persona for a farmer
User Persona for Farmers
User Persona for Consumers

User Flows

As soon as my user research was concluded I started mapping out how I intended users would interact with the product, this was where user flow came in handy. I mapped out the journey both the farmers and regular consumers would take to achieve their different goals. My process is outlined below.

App User Flow

Sketches and Wireframes

Now it was time to move to wireframing so I could iterate my various ideas as quickly as possible, I didn’t need them to be so clean and finished, I just wanted to concentrate on the functionality at this point, trying as many ideas as possible and scrapping a lot of them in the process too.

Wireframes

UI Design

Moving on from wireframing, I went on to create a style guide to help keep my design elements uniform, ensuring my design process was as seamless as possible. This also ensured me and my developers were on the same page throughout the entire process.

Style Guide

Color guide
Type scale

The major screens from the app are shown below

Splash and Onboarding screens
Log In and Sign Up screens
Other screens
Other screens
Other screens

Conclusion

Next Steps

Since this was for a hackathon and because of the short time frame, I only designed the various screens for mobile-only. The next step would be to design the website too where users could visit, request loans, refund loans, and eventually download the app too.

Also with usability testing, I would be able to gather insights to improve the product before handing off the design to web and mobile developers.

Reflections

This was my first hackathon and it was intriguing! This project allowed me to design different screens and at a pace that I had never done prior. Also, I can confidently say it improved my problem-solving skill and helped my team spirit.

Throughout the process, I learned many techniques from UX best-practices to UI design, prototyping, and everything in between, including how to be more empathetic towards my users and to conduct user research.

Although this was a fictional application, I followed the same process that I would for any other UX project. Also, I really appreciate the work that was put in by my teammates, their combined efforts made sure we emerged as Top 20 finalists in the hackathon and I’m super proud of how far we came.

Thank You so much for reading!. If you’d like to reach out, follow me on Twitter and send me a message, I’d really love to hear from you. You can also check out more of my work on Behance and Medium too.

Let me know if you have any questions or comments on my design. If you’d like to have a chat about anything design related, I’d love to hear from you!

Product Designer • Minimalist

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