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FRUITROUTE

To assist an older demographic by understanding their mobile-first interactions with low-contrast interfaces and limited internet speed

SKILLS

User Research, Contexual Enquiry, Wireframes and Mockups

DURATION

2 weeks

STATUS

In-progress

TEAM

Nethra Gomatheswaran

SETTING THE SCENE

The day is hot and sunny. I see vendors with their fruit carts calling out to people to buy their products. I see people talking to each other in different languages trying to understand each other and communicate. On the sides of the bustling streets in South India, seeing fruit and vegetable vendors is not an uncommon sight. However, being a street vendor is not easy as people haven't found a convenient way to buy good quality produce from street vendors, which leads to food wastage.

TARGET AUDIENCE

What are their unique traits?

Street vendors in Bangalore who sell fruit, vegetables and flowers, and working professionals living in the vicinity. The common trait among my target audience is the fact that they are mobile-first users, which means their basic instinct with interactions are different from people who have used a PC first and then transitioned to mobile phones.

RESEARCH

What does my audience have to say?

I spoke to street vendors and spent some time observing how they interacted with the customers. Most of the customers they have are not regular and people passing by their carts. They usually walk around residential streets, calling out names of the products they're selling, hoping to get more customers. Talking with these street vendors, a few things that they said that (and were translated) were:
"It's exhausting to have to walk around, hoping you might find people to buy your products. It's so unpredictable - one day you have so many customers in a certain area, the next day you have none."
Dinesh, 68 years
"I don't mind walking the extra distance to give people the produce they need. As long I'm guaranteed that there are customers who will buy what I have"
Shekar, 55 years
"If someone buys produce from me regularly, I am very happy. I ask them what fruit they need and I make sure I have it ready for them so they can pick it up on their way back from work"
Pandian, 57 years

NARROWING THE PROBLEM

What are the multiple layers to this problem?

I spoke to street vendors and spent some time observing how they interacted with the customers. Most of the customers they have are not regular and people passing by their carts. They usually walk around residential streets, calling out names of the products they're selling, hoping to get more customers. Talking with these street vendors, a few things that they said that (and were translated) were:
Where does consumer demand lie?
Vendors spend hours walking down streets looking for people to buy their products because they do not know where the demand lies.
What language(s) do they speak?
Vendors speak the local language and 1-2 additional regional languages. Most of the vendors are not fluent with English.
How do they recognize fruit/vegetables?
Vendors can identify the fruit or vegetable from its pictures. In case they don't see a picture, the name in the local language helps them identify the produce.

STORYBOARD

A day in the life of a fruit vendor

After speaking to the street vendors, I noticed a pattern in their everyday lives, their frustrations and habits. I mapped out a storyboard to understand the different phases during the day where they encounter pains and gains.

INSIGHTS 

What were the 'Aha!' moments ?

I spoke to street vendors and spent some time observing how they interacted with the customers. Most of the customers they have are not regular and people passing by their carts. They usually walk around residential streets, calling out names of the products they're selling, hoping to get more customers. Talking with these street vendors, a few things that they said that (and were translated) were:
Willingness to take extra effort
Vendors spend hours walking down streets looking for people to buy their products because they do not know where the demand lies. All vendors who were interviewed have gone to people's houses to drop off their order.
Regional Territories
Vendors have a designated neighborhood/area that they are in charge of. These areas are about 3kms x 3kms.
Priority for loyal customers
Vendors are willing to pick up fresh produce for their regular customers. Their produce is  as fresh  as the produce from supermarkets, and it's cheaper as well.

AREAS OF OPPORTUNITY

How can street vendors and customers help each other

Mapped out below, are the touch points where vendors and customers can be a good fit through the app, Fruitroute.

What do customers want?

What can vendors offer?

WIREFRAMES

Taking into consideration the multilingual audience for this application, I included the flow of the app in different languages. The application is very simple for now, with big buttons, and "skeumorphic" i(to the older, Indian audience ) icons.
CRACKED SCREENS
These screens are often cracked - something I observed in the vendors' phones. These cracks are taped together, which reduces the visibility of the digital elements on the interface and influences touch sensitivity.
LIMITED + SLOW INTERNET CONNECTIVITY
Designs were created keeping in mind the slow data connection which vendors frequently experience. The result of this are images being unclear and blurry as they haven't been fully downloaded.

RETROSPECT

How can this case study be improved moving forward?

As each city and its people are unique,  research for this project can only be done one city at a time. Remote work is not possible for the project as it affects the research and insights. User Testing of the application with the vendors and using high-fidelity mockups have to be iterated more frequently.

MOCKUPS

Designing for edge cases

The street vendors who are my target audience are not used to the frequent use of internet data. Internet data that they use is much slower and therefore a lot more important. The following use cases are unique to this project and these users and heavily influences the design of the product.
FAMILIAR ICONS
The icons used for the mockups are familiar with street vendors. The 'scales' icon for weight is a copy of the scales they use to measure their fruits and vegetables.
IMAGE + TEXT
70% of the street vendors interviewed could read the names of fruits and vegetables in the local language. For instances where the image does not load due to poor internet connectivity, having the names of the products in a language they can comprehend is helpful.

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Nethra Gomatheswaran 2020