Introduction: Our product
Greenlands — We make your environment bloom! This is our slogan for the Greenlands company. Greenlands’ mission is to improve the environment and the biodiversity. We rely mainly on regional partners. We want to promote biodiversity specifically by planting flower meadows. This benefits especially insects, which feed on the flowers. But the biodiversity does not only end with the insects, the flower meadows promote themselves even more profoundly. The various insects in turn attract other animals, such as birds, which in turn also attract other animals. Thus, Greenlands starts at the beginning of the food chain to provide food naturally to the further following animal species.
Our product is therefore flower meadows that beautify the landscape and at the same time promote biodiversity. The flower meadows are planted on available land by farmers. The farmers receive compensation for their efforts, which is roughly equivalent to the income they would receive if normal crops had been planted there. Our product can be purchased in various predefined sizes. Across all sizes, the price is 50 ct per square meter.
The Killer Feature
In order to make it as easy as possible for our customers to contribute to biodiversity, we have designed our prototype precisely with this in mind. In addition, we would like to offer the customer the possibility to include the regionality in the purchase decision. Therefore, it was important for us to have a Google Maps integration. This allows customers to simply select the field they want near them and then only have to adjust the size and can then pay directly.
In the picture above you can see the exact implementation. On the map are marked different points, which represent the individual fields. In addition, all fields are shown on the list on the right.
When an area is selected, the corresponding field in the list is selected and the customer can click on the “Next” button to select the size.
The selection via Google Maps is also used by the farmers who provide the areas. Since fields usually do not have a house number, positioning based on the data is very difficult and inaccurate. Therefore, coordinates are needed to determine the field exactly. Farmers can search for the field on the map and click on it, so that the coordinates are automatically recorded by the system.
In this picture you can see the selection of the field. The farmer clicks on the right place on the map and the application recognizes the coordinates and, if necessary, the address.
The validation of the MVP
For the validation of the MVP, we first divided the MVP into two parts. One is the landing page, which contains basic information about us and our product, and the other is the webapp, which handles the actual process of selling and offering. There are also still two different ways of looking at the validation. On the one hand, we validated the appearance of the two parts, but also, especially in the case of the webapp, the process of buying. This way we can make sure that already after two rounds of evaluation enough data has been collected to create a very good prototype.
In order to carry out such an evaluation, we have various methods and possibilities at our disposal. However, the effort and scope varies. When choosing the best method, we have chosen the following methods:
- Observation: Here, the test person is let loose on a website or web app all by himself with a few tasks and brief instructions, and is monitored as he works through them.
- Think aloud: This method is similar to Observation, but the subject is to express any thoughts during the discovery process.
- Semi-structured interviews: These are interviews that are conducted, for example, with screenshots or a short demonstration of the website/webapp. The respondents are asked a few very open questions on the individual topics, which the respondent then answers as meaningfully as possible.
- Diary study: In this study, a test person is asked to use the website/web app repeatedly for a week, for example, and to write down the thoughts that come to mind in a diary.
We wanted to generate as much data as possible as quickly as possible. We can then use this to further develop the MVP and evaluate it again shortly afterwards. This requirement alone means that some methods fall through the cracks. For a diary study, the subjects must be willing to participate, and the evaluation of the diaries is a lengthy process. For an observation or a thinkalout, tasks have to be defined in advance, which also takes a lot of time together with the actual implementation. We therefore decided to use semi-structured interviews for both evaluation stages, since good data can be collected in a manageable amount of time, which can then be incorporated into the prototype in a timely manner. With the help of this method, we were able to specifically address some aspects and thus find out the exact ideas and wishes of the test persons.
We conducted the first evaluation at a fairly early stage of the prototype. Not all functionalities were ready yet, but the general process flow and the design were recognizable. At this stage, it was important for us to find out what features potential users still expected from the platform and what could generally be improved. We therefore relied on a very open structured interview, which did not contain any directly defined questions, but asked various spontaneous questions on the topics “landing page”, “color choice”, “choice of meadow”, “payment method”, “goodies/optional” and “miscellaneous”. At the time of the evaluation, the prototype looked like this:
Here you can see the landing page. We used the web builder Wix.com for this to be able to create a quick prototype. There are already a selection of images and some texts available. Likewise, the link to the webapp already exists.
The webapp already has the basic functions, such as selecting a field as well as the possibility to purchase it.
For the survey, we interviewed 9 subjects, some of whom had already participated in a previous evaluation. They were then shown screenshots of the webapp and the landing page as well as an explanation of the purchase process. In addition, there was a general explanation of what the goal of Greenlands is and which features were already being planned. For the “Landing Page” section, there were some good contributions from the subjects. For example, the form of the landing page, the design as a One Page, was praised. Many respondents noted that important information was still missing, such as the purchase price or terms and conditions. The navigation to the web app was also noted, as it was not intuitive enough. From this, we can already see some points that need to be improved.
In the area of “color selection”, the topic of the same colors came up frequently. As could be seen in the pictures, the green tones, for example, are not uniform and there is no regulated color image. Similarly, advice was given not to use large white areas with no content. These are good hints for the design and they were adopted that way.
For our killer feature “selection of the meadow” there was mainly good criticism. The selection with the map was found to be pleasant and, according to the test persons, also saved time. For some it has been important that the list remains, but the information there should be changed.
In the area of “payment methods”, the test persons considered that there was still room for improvement. The subjects lacked a choice of payment options, at the time only by credit card, and the transition to the payment service provider was not perceived as good. However, this clarified good work packages that need to be improved for the next round.
The “Goodies/Optionales” were found to be a very good idea. The goodies should be selected directly with the purchase process and should also be visible as much as possible. For this it was suggested to take pictures of the goodies. It was also emphasized that the optionality of the goodies makes sense, since not everyone wants the targeted goodies.
Through this initial evaluation, we were already able to gather important insights into which things need to be changed on the webapp or landing page.
The second evaluation
For the second evaluation, many of the comments from the first evaluation were implemented. We replaced the landing page with a specially designed one and added different images. We also replaced the texts with different ones and focused on the link to the web app.
We have kept the design as One Page. To make the color consistent, we created a corporate design that includes a new logo and the new colors. We then adapted this to both the landing page and the webapp. The webapp has also changed a lot after the last evaluation.
The selection of the meadow is now clearer and got a new design. The information in the list has been exchanged for better ones and the purchase process has been split. The goodies can now be selected from a dropdown list. Additionally, the payment options with the payment provider have been increased and the transition has been improved. With this, we have implemented the basic comments and could start the second evaluation. Since we have now already made many rough modifications, it is now important for us to learn as small details as possible, which can bring an improvement. Therefore, we again used semi-structured interviews, but this time we asked questions and entered them into a questionnaire. In this evaluation we had 5 test persons at our disposal. Some of them had participated in the previous evaluation and some were completely new.
First, questions were asked about the landing page. There it turned out that the test persons found the selection of texts and images to be good. Some still see a potential for better texts. The subjects were then asked to rate the general design on a scale of 1–7.
Here you can also see that the test persons like the design very much. This shows that the design change to a specially programmed website was worthwhile.
The next part was again about the selection/purchase process in the webapp. There was consistently positive feedback on the design of the webapp with the customized colors.
For the “Buy flower meadow” page there were still two points of criticism or comments. On the one hand, a test person would like to buy a flower meadow already without a registration. Likewise the purchase process should be simplified a little. This means the four steps until you can buy the area. This could be limited by merging steps 2 and 3 to e.g. 3 steps. 80% of the test persons are satisfied with the selection of payment options and find them sufficient. The most positive result for us, however, was by far the most important question. We asked the test persons whether they would actually buy a piece of flower meadow over Greenlands. All of the test persons answered in the affirmative. For general suggestions, we also asked the test persons an additional question about other things. Here we received a few ideas for goodies, e.g. a gift certificate or the marking on social media channels.
The MVP started as a simple prototype and has evolved through evaluations into an almost finished product. The initial ideas for the MVP were based on our vision and have continued to evolve. On this journey, the evaluation has made a significant contribution. The first evaluation revealed some weaknesses in the prototype, which then had to be removed. We also learned from the test persons that there are still some features we haven’t thought about yet. Therefore, the first evaluation was very helpful and improved the prototype a lot. This can also be seen in the second evaluation. There were hardly any points of criticism and much more positive feedback. Individual comments from the test persons were noted and were then implemented. The second evaluation was confirmation for us that we had already done some things right with the idea for Greenlands and also with the prototype.