Ironhack’s Challenge : Design a forest estimation tool_Kloros
To ensure the relevance of the projects brought by the partner companies, our wonderful T.A.s met with them and selected the most interesting companies. Aren’t they adorable?
They pitched us about ten companies, many of them start-ups. They were all driven by a furious desire to revolutionise their industry and to never stop being innovative in their field.
It was complicated to select one. We had to think about the consequences of this choice for our portfolio, but above all about the level of technical complexity to be tackled.
Indeed, the further we moved away from our comfort zone, the more we were aware that we would have to work a lot harder to better grasp the project’s challenges.
We are two idealists, two workaholics, but above all two UX enthusiasts. We naturally chose Kloros because the product’s vision and mission convinced us that together we could improve the management of forestry assets on our own scale.
Isn’t that wonderful? I can’t hide the fact that we were slightly disappointed when we realised how complex the field was and how difficult it would be to talk to our main persona.
Despite this, we remained united in the face of adversity and showed resilience at every crucial moment. Isn’t that also what improving the user experience of our customers is all about? To take the time to put ourselves in the shoes of our customers and users?
For this ultimate Ironhack Challenge, we had 10 days, during which we were going to work in close collaboration with the two founders of Kloros. We didn’t know much about this company. A brief search allowed us to roughly capture the complexity of the business and the various issues at stake.
We started this incredible journey by organising the Kick-off, which was a great help. To make this exchange as efficient as possible, we prepared a whole bunch of questions, and potentially interesting tools to use to get to the point: What were we going to create and/or improve?
During this Kickoff, we got to know an inspiring founder who is deeply inspired by his core business: forestry asset management.
We quickly became aware of the quantitative and qualitative data available to the duo. Following this, we quickly drafted a survey and the semi-structured interview guides that we would conduct with current and potential users.
After this stage, we had our first meeting with the Kloros team. During this meeting, we had the opportunity to present the main insights gathered during the research phase and the first deliverables. The Affinity Diagram and User Persona were complex to complete but the analysis was still very nice to complete, given the results obtained.
The rest of the research phase quickly led us to the following: Information Architecture and Concept Sketching steps. During this phase, we asked ourselves about the relevance of the current and potential user journey imagined by the founders.
After several meetings, we moved on to the famous Prototyping & Testing phase.
Our scope was small enough to challenge us and free enough to allow us to use our creativity. A perfect combo, isn’t it?
To recap, we had 10 days, a relative idea of the business model, a more or less defined problem, and, not least, a compelling desire to make this estimation tool as relevant as possible!
Indeed, the founders wanted to create a tool for estimating forestry assets, to make it easier for forestry owners to learn how to position or value their various assets, in just a few clicks. They wish to share their knowledge with as many enthusiasts as possible who wish to improve their knowledge on the field. What a challenge, isn’t it? This is only the beginning! It may not look like much but we were really thrilled :)
Here is our problematic:
“How might we improve the positioning of forest heritage owners on the market and enable them to better understand the overall management of their assets?”
In order to get relevant answers that made sense to us and to our respondents, we wrote the funnel survey.
It was important, from the beginning, to ask what type of land the respondent had and in a second step, we had to qualify its nature (agricultural, leisure etc.), in order to exclude profiles that do not fall within the scope of the project.
Indeed, the founders informed us that it was important to focus on owners of forestry assets of more than 5,000 m2 (forest not wood). They would represent a definite interest for the Kloros product, as this estimation tool would allow the owner to share the value of the property and Kloros to build up its database of prospects, a real win-win.
This is why all the following questions allow us to define the type of land (in more detail), the mode of acquisition and management of the property.
All these insights allowed us to know how our respondents acquired their plots and how they learned to manage their transactions later on. We wanted to confirm the assumptions of the user profiles shared by the founders.
Given the specific nature of the project, we spoke with forestry professionals to better understand the requirements of the profession and the knowledge needed to value a property. But also with private individuals with more or less extensive assets.
In order to avoid collecting any potentially induced data, we first spoke to individuals and then to professionals.
The first interviews allowed us to identify the main objectives and frustrations of our subjects very quickly. It was from the fourth interview onwards that we began to enter into the complexity of the field. That’s when it became interesting.
We met a total of 8 people. Each of these people managed different assets, in many aspects, and in many different ways. The majority of them had inherited their assets and were not necessarily looking to maximise their returns but to enjoy them for leisure purposes.
They have a deep aversion to professionals and try by all means to be independent in the management of their assets. Many of them understand and master the tax optimisation that ownership of this type of property allows them to develop.
On the other hand, most of them live as recluses of society and are not particularly fond of the use of digital products. What a challenge! To sum up, we need to create a simple and quick tool that collects key data that would allow an algo to estimate the property in the best possible way… Just that ;)
Personas & User Journey Map
At this stage, we had collected enough data to move on to the next step: the creation of user personas and their user journey map.
We realised that there were 3 distinct groups of profiles.
The first group is totally disinterested in the field, has no interest at all at the moment and wants to value its property in order to know how to manage its recent heritage.
The second is mixed, he owns several plots of land, but they do not provide him with any income. He manages his costs more or less, and learns on the job. He would like to estimate his property, in order to be confident in his current management.
The third is passionate about the subject, and was trained very early on. He has never stopped expanding his assets. He does not hesitate from time to time to have his assets evaluated to optimise them.
So we have an uneducated profile, a moderately interested profile and an expert profile on the subject. We have chosen to focus on the young heiress profile and the expert profile.
Knowing that our main target owns more than 5000 m2 of land, has no reluctance to use digital tools and does not necessarily master the subject, we therefore turned to the profile of the heiress and the expert.
She is dynamic and interested in knowing what she could do with the property. The valuation would enable her to make an important decision, both for her family and for herself. He is constantly on the lookout for information and has an incredible amount of monitoring.
A few days after our Kickoff, we understood our Problem Statement:
“People who own forestry assets, without much knowledge of the field, wished to be able to obtain, in a few clicks, an estimation of their assets, in order to reach a relevant decision, either to dispose of them or to better position themselves on the market.”
We nicely tackled the UX Strategy part with some fairly standard research. We wanted to know, what was the state and type of the market? Who was the competition? Who were the potential partners and who were we addressing?
We quickly learned that 75% of forestry properties in France are privately owned. While the European average is slightly more nuanced, with 47% privately owned.
We then discovered that :
- France was ranked as the 4th country with the most forest holdings.
- The densest forest holdings are in the south/north east.
- 65% of forest owners are inherited.
To sum up, we have a large and varied audience. The majority of these people have inherited and therefore for the most part do not know the value of their assets.
Visual Competitor Analysis
As far as the competitive analysis is concerned, in view of the users’ needs, which I remind you are :
- Evaluate your property in a few clicks
- To position oneself autonomously on a specific market
- Contact a professional if necessary
As we have very few direct competitors, we decided to select property valuation companies.
The path and the need is very similar to that of our personas.
We noticed some similarities. Some are more interesting than others.
UI & Prototype
Site Map & User Flow
The question arose at the beginning of the project.
Would we implement the tool in the existing landing page, create a new one with another subdomain or add a page?
It was only after a conversation with the co-founders that we realised we had to create a page with a subdomain.
Let me explain.
They immediately informed us that the tool would allow them to improve their reach and impression, and therefore their notoriety and incidentally their acquisition.
This tool was going to become a “reputation booster”.
They had been thinking of investing in an SEA, so when we suggested that they create a separate page, it immediately made sense.
For the user flow, we wanted the user to have access to their evaluation at all times without it being intrusive for them.
Here is a brief Happy path:
Low-Fidelity & Mid-Fidelity
The Low-Fidelity and Mid-Fidelity were a real challenge in themselves.
We visualised a fluid and pragmatic path. All the while keeping in mind that we had to provide a lot of information to users.
We attached a lot of importance to the hierarchy of information, spacing and contrast. Due to obvious constraints, we had to be very perceptive, which is why we used object optimisation in the interfaces.
Moodboard & Style Guide
We wanted something clean.
The moodboard had to remind us of the authenticity of the content and the values of the French terroir.
To this we added a pinch of mystery, strength and boldness.
We challenged our brand attributes and came out pretty well.
As far as the Style Guide is concerned, it was quite simple to develop. We were constrained, both by time and technical constraints.
The big one and the only one !
We took the time to work on the micro-interactions, because we knew we wouldn’t be working directly with the devs.
We tried to make their job easier by being as concise as possible.
The overall rendering is quite representative of all the work done beforehand.
In the context of this bootcamp, this was, unfortunately, my last project with my faithful wing woman Ségolène. I really enjoyed working with her on this powerful project. As we took part in different projects throughout the bootcamp, as we took part in different projects internally, we learned from each other, both professionally and personally, and that’s great!
Due to time constraints, we were unable to work on the main Kloros landing page to improve the overall user experience. It could be interesting to look at the user’s behaviour, via a heat map like Hotjar, or to analyse user navigation data to better improve its content. The use of tags would probably be appropriate.
If I had a free hand, I would contact all the forestry associations in Europe to create a relevant tool for both individuals and professionals. This would optimise the overall management of our forests and considerably reduce the waste of our resources.
Everything is still possible, you just have to try ;)