Vodafone Farmers’ Club

Vodafone Farmers’ Club was launched to deliver useful information such as weather, farm tips and market prices to smallholder farmers all over Ghana via their mobile phones. My team of two Researcher/ Designers served as the local UX Experts. The project was sponsored by the GSMA and was supported by and executed in collaboration with a team from frog Design. Check out GSMA’s case study for a more in-depth look at the project.

Vodafone Ghana
Lead UX Expert
October 2014 – September 2016


1Defining user and business goals
The project kicked off with a workshop that brought the many internal and external project stakeholders together to decide on objectives for the project.
2Customer journey mapping
We made the Farmers’ Club customer journey the central reference point for collecting and synthesizing feedback from the field. Clustering feedback around the corresponding points of the customer journey allowed the team to quickly understand what the problem areas were.
3Product Iteration Workshop
Quarterly workshops gave the team the opportunity to review what was and wasn’t working with the service, and devise ways to fix it.

Research & Synthesis

4Field Research
Over the course of the project we observed and conducted interviews with farmers in 6 out of the 10 regions of Ghana. Some of the stories we heard centered around a lack of pride, lack of negotiation power with traders; low literacy and heavy post-harvest losses.
5Initial research synthesis
Based on an initial 6-weeks of research and stakeholder engagement, we developed archetypes and a Minimum Viable Product for further testing.
6Spend calendar
A fun and interactive tool to visualize and discuss farmers’ spending on phone credit.
7Content testing
A simple paper and cardboard prototype of a feature phone allowed us to test content quickly and easily.

Research and synthesis resulted in 5 primary farmer archetypes. In summary:

Tech Literacy
Business Sense

Reactive to external circumstances and often feels cheated. Struggles to make ends meet.

Tech Literacy
Business Sense

Has started a side business, especially after experiencing difficulties.

Tech Literacy
Business Sense

Needs assistance maintaining a profitable farm, follows best practices.

Competent Optimist
Tech Literacy
Business Sense

Runs a productive farm; keeps books and stays up to date.

Tech Literacy
Business Sense

Has matured to managing a farming business at scale.

Design Interventions

8Phone charm
The phone charm served to: increase the brand visibility of Farmers’ Club; improve farmer pride; and provide a convenient place for farmers to reference their own phone numbers — a major pain point.
9Cheat sheet
We found that technological illiteracy was underpinned by one dominant factor: a lack of confidence. We designed a strip of paper imprinted with the function keys of a typical feature phone to empower farmers to check and delete messages.
10SMS prefixes
Most farmers were adept at recognizing simple codes even though they couldn't read, so we prefixed system messages with alphanumeric codes such as R02 ("Renew with 2 cedis").
11Voice SMS
Voice-recorded farm tips were trialled in multiple languages.

Sales Agent tools

In addition to addressing the needs of the farmers themselves, we also had to address the difficult challenge of how to distribute the product to rural communities all around Ghana. We helped to implement a Sales Agent and Ambassador model, which included specially-designed tools and training.

12Sales agent app
Devised as a way of giving agents a set of digital tools to help onboard users and to streamline the registration process for new customers.
13Training sales agents
Training potential sales agents on how to use the sales tool to explain the service to farmers.
14Role playing
Agricultural extension agents practice how to explain the service to farmers by role playing, with the aid of a printed sales tool.
15Sales agent business card
As part of the SIM card packaging, we incorporated a sales agent “business card” which made it easier for sales agent to give their contact information to new customers and get additional referrals from them.