This month we are refreshing the look and feel of the mobile app. Everything that you know and love is still there, but we have given it a shiny new coat of paint as well as much more to get excited about!
This is an important place to start.
We have received lots of feedback on the mobile app over the last few years, through onboarding sessions, farm visits, field days and user group meet-ups. We have witnessed first-hand the challenging environments in which the app gets used and this has greatly influenced the design of the app.
We also feel it is really important to have a consistent look and feel across all of the AgriWebb apps. Through this project, we have made a concerted effort to build consistent patterns of usage and common reference points on both the desktop and mobile apps. For example, we use the same icons for navigation and records items.
Our goal was simple…
We had it in our mind that we could simply update the colours to match the portal app and we would be done. Though, as we stepped through the many pain points customers had shared with us, it was obvious that more had to be done. From the basic idea that buttons, tabs and labels should be larger and easier to tap, through to the visual replacement of all icons to make them clear and obvious, we assessed every single page of the app to review its core purpose, layout and structure to make it easier and more intuitive.
One restriction we placed on the project was that no existing feature could be removed or greatly altered. The way you navigate around the app, create records and manage inventory would not be changed significantly. We wanted to ensure that users who were familiar with moving mobs and applying treatments in the older user interface (UI) would know how to do it in the new look and feel.
What did we do?
The first step was to strip back the mobile app’s styling and apply the more modern desktop look and feel. Our Designer, Emily, then created mock-ups of the major areas of the app with that new style. That was nearly 100 screens! We then took those mock-ups, loaded them onto phones and tablets and went outside, in the full sun. We reviewed the screens, argued about them, moved things around, tried variations and worked to define a common set of screen elements, layouts and behaviours.
Parts of the new design philosophy were incorporated into feature development we had in progress and released early. Open gate, the updated weather forecast widget and the landmark dialog were all released with aspects of the new look and feel weaved through them.
Releasing these new design elements early allowed us to test them in the field and gain early feedback. This helped shape the look and feel for the project and led us to refine many of the designs.
We received great feedback on the design for those features, so the next step was to implement them across the rest of the app. Shipping great products is hard, and taking something as complicated as farming and keeping it easy to use and intuitive can be amazingly difficult. For every update, we would scrutinise the final app changes and tweak them. For example, we moved buttons around to make them easier to reach with one hand and placed the field labels inside the new number pad to make it easier to know what was being edited.
All 110 icons were replaced with brighter and clearer images to make it more obvious what they are. The help screens were revamped to make them easier to read, and a consistent layout to records, mob, paddock and tasks pages were created to make the app feel familiar regardless of where you are.
At its most basic, every page is laid out the same way:
- The top navigation bar tells you where you are.
- You close or go back a page from the top left-hand corner of the screen when applicable.
- In-page help is launched from the top right-hand corner, and you can message our Farm Success team from any help page by tapping on the “CHAT” action in the top right-hand corner of the screen.
- The actions that can be performed on the current page are always displayed on the bottom of the screen and if there are a lot of actions that can be performed, pressing the “More” button on the right will show all of the options.
- Drop-down fields all have arrows pointing down Navigation to new pages is shown with bold blue links or with arrows pointing to the right.
- With these common behaviours, we hope to make it easier to get around the app and use the many features contained within it. Hopefully, we have squashed all of the inconsistencies, but if you find any please send us a message and let us know.
Changes that are more than surface deep
While our goal was to keep the same core behaviour we didn’t ignore opportunities to improve the app. Here are just a few stand out changes..
Adding notes to a record, mob or landmark is a commonly used feature of the app. The new note dialog looks great on phone or tablet and will now open the keyboard immediately so that adding them is quick and easy. We also have room for future enhancements like adding photos.
All mob events in one place (Mob Activity)
With the Mob Activity Log it’s easy to keep track of everything that has been happening on farm. You can see everything that has been recorded from one central place and go directly to the mob or record from the event list. Filter the list by event grouping to see just the records you’re interested in.
Tasks received a facelift as well. All the important information is presented in a clearer layout and you can see at a glance who the task is assigned to without having to open it.
This is the easiest question to answer of all. In many ways, it is up to you.
Big, visible changes like these give us a good excuse to reach out and remind everyone that we want to hear from you. What do you love and hate? What would you like to see added to the app and what do you wish was easier?
Your feedback is vital and can make a positive difference to the thousands of farmers using AgriWebb every day and help us to realise our goal to deliver the digital future of agriculture!