24 September 2019

Inclusive Design

Agworld Farm Management Software practices inclusive design

Smartphone and tablet applications, or apps as we all know them, have become an integral part of most people’s lives. Whether it pertains to entertainment, banking, news or anything else we might do in either our jobs or private lives; apps can play a big role. On the Agworld platform, data can be entered either via a laptop / desktop computer or through the Agworld app, which is available for both iPad as well as iPhone, with over 90% of all in-field data getting entered via the app. It is for this reason that it is very important for us to make sure that our apps or designed so that everyone is able to interact with them through so-called “Inclusive Design”.

Inclusive design revolves around the understanding that not everyone can use the product in the same way. This can be an inability to read small text or requiring an alternative method of interacting with a device for example. It is very hard to make an app usable for 100% of our target audience, but we always strive to get as close as possible to this number by constantly improving our design.

At Agworld we organise regular training days for the development team. Training days can be about learning a new technology, improving our current skill sets or something else development related. For our most recent training day I decided to organise an inclusive design session so that we could up-skill on inclusive design as a team and make sure that the theme of inclusive design stays at the forefront of our mind, whatever we might be currently working on.

The goal of our training day was to lay down the foundations of designs that offer more usability affordance to our growing customer base. I believe that the more inclusive we can make a design, the better the experience is for people with or without any permanent or temporary impairments. In order to achieve this; we decided on two tests to help improve upon our designs:

  1. Can everyone read this?
  2. Can everyone operate this efficiently?

These tests are deliberately broad and, due to obvious constraints, we may not be able to cover every customer with our inclusive designs. However, running these tests does enable us to start that critical thought process to create a product that offers the best experience for every user.

As our apps mainly get used in the field, where everyday factors such as bright sunlight and dirty fingers play a role as well, and our user base is very diverse with people of all ages and ability levels using the Agworld app, being inclusive is very important to us. As we keep developing our product, you’ll keep seeing an increased focus on inclusive design from us. If you encounter any inclusive design related issues with our apps, or if you have any other suggestions, please don’t hesitate to contact me on josh.lay@agworld.com

Josh Lay

Josh Lay

Mobile Software Engineer

Josh Lay joined Agworld in 2012 and has been part of the mobile team ever since. Prior to joining Agworld, he worked at iiNet, one of the largest ISP's in Australia. His passion in mobile development centres around constantly improving user experience for a product people use and rely on daily. Josh holds a Bachelor of Science (Information Technology) from Curtin University.

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