What does the customer want from your website - Farm web design part 2

Sep 19, 2007
Posted by: Small Farm Central

A powerful exercise in web design is "scenario design" or "personas" -- these techniques help determine who visits your site and how you can serve them. To start, make a list of the type of people who will visit your farm website. Here are some examples to get you started on your own list:

  • Farmer's Market customers
  • Prospective employees
  • CSA members
  • Family members, friends, or neighbors
  • The general internet population
  • Local media learning about your farm
  • Skeptical community members

Once you have created your list of possible visitor types, now write bullet points of particular tasks each persona may want to complete. To be really complete you could talk to a few people from each important group to see what they want from your website, but you will usually have a good general idea of what your visitors want from interacting with them in person over the years. An example list might look like this:

  • CSA Members
  • Contact the farm for alternate pick-up
  • Choose what vegetables they will receive this week
  • Read the latest newsletter
  • View photos
  • Find out what to expect in this week's box and for the rest of the season
  • How to use that weird vegetable (what the heck is a Daikon Radish and how do I cook it?)
  • Connect to other CSA members
  • Other small-scale farmers

You may not be able to satisfy all the needs or wants of type of user depending on your commitment of time and resources to your web project, but it is an important baseline so you can select which type of visitor you serve and how they move through your site.

Now that you know what tasks need to be completed, list the features of your website and match up persona:task pairs as this simple example shows:

Blog

  • All personas: get recent information about the farm
  • CSA members: connect to other CSA members (through comments)
  • CSA members: read the latest newsletter
  • Prospective employees: learn about the daily tasks on the farm

Recipes

  • CSA members: how to use that weird vegetable
  • The general internet population: take information that they use in their area
  • Other small-scale farmers: get recipes for their newsletters

Now you have a very structured way of prioritizing work on your website. Maybe you want to eventually list every variety of vegetable that you grow to show your customers the diversity of your farm, this is probably of lower priority than a photo gallery which connects customers to your farm in the first place. Prioritizing is especially important if you plan to do the web design work yourself because it takes an overwhelming task and makes each part a bite-size piece you can chew as time allows.

I don't have a specific set of features that I recommend for farm websites, but I believe the Small Farm Central feature set is expansive and suits the needs of most farmers. That list may be a good place for you start as you think of features that you would like on your website. We are constantly adding more! For example, at the behest of a member, we want to expand the "current products" section of the farm websites to allow farmers to add notes ("Garlic only available until Wednesday"), expiration dates, and explicitly link available varieties (we only have "Rosa Bianca" eggplant available this week).

Get started on your website this fall by starting a persona list and working up your features from there. You will probably think of visitors that you never considered before.

Twitter

  • If I had a diet plan, it would be: 1) cook for yourself 2) eat whatever you want at mealtimes, but cut the snacks 3) cut the desserts&sugars
    1 year 24 weeks ago
  • @AmyinOregon oh, neat. Glad you like them.. more coming soon!
    1 year 25 weeks ago