“What might be our audiences’ needs?” – Designing Food Maps the Human Centered Way

Five of us from Kathmandu Living Labs are going to Bajrabarahi tomorrow to work on our new mapping project on Agriculture and Food Security. We are planning to train local youth and map out both the farms and farming practices, with the aim of helping farmers showcase their products as well as inspire youth to work on agriculture. This will be the first trip for a lot of us, so we hope also to be getting a detailed perspective from the farmers about their existing practices, and how our mapping work will help them.

Ideas On Board

To better do this, we received a primer on Human Centered Design from our fellow Prabhas Pokharel. After working through a description of the HCD process, we worked on a basic exercise: mapping planned products to the needs they serve. That is, we tried to take some of the things we are planning to build, find our anticipated audiences, and identify concrete needs that each audience might solve by using our products. By grouping some of these needs, we now have a better roadmap to conduct need-finding.

So, we’re building a map visualization. What purpose does this visualization serve? What are the needs of our audience? To make a meaningful product, we need to know what the users’ needs are. To do that, we need to know our audience, think from their angle, and ask them the right questions.

Today’s exercise was about helping us find the right questions to ask. We first identified our audiences for the map visualizations: primarily farmers and youth, and secondarily customers and policy makers.  After sticking many notes to the whiteboard, we came up with needs such as: farmers finding customers in the city via this map, or learning from success stories in nearby villages. The main objective of the exercise was to develop clarity about who our audience are and what we’re presenting to them, so that we can ask the right questions about their needs that the map visualization should fulfil. We then grouped these needs to prepare thematic questions around them.

The Design Team

After this exercise, we now will be more aware of the questions to ask different sets of people we will be working with. We now have an initial set of hypotheses of the problems our work will solve. Through interviews on the trip, we will be able to validate these hypotheses and refine our understanding of the needs of farmers, local youth, the co-operative and the local government.


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