A helping hand to Orchard Hand

Streamlining T&G's orchard management app to deliver fresh, sustainable produce across the globe.
Young girl in an orchard holding fresh apples over her eyes

A better way to work

Fruit and vegetables are an essential part of healthy eating for Kiwis. T&G (formerly Turners and Growers) is a global business, that produces some of the world’s best fresh fruit and vegetables. The company is one of the largest exporters of apples to the world and one of the largest growers in New Zealand. As market leaders, they are constantly exploring ways to make their products more sustainable, fresh and delicious.

The challenge

In mid 2018, Digital Arts Network were approached by T&G to help redesign OrchardHand, a mobile and web-based app. OrchardHand enables growers to manage their orchards more effectively and capture data in real-time. DAN’s primary focus was to identify usability issues and pain points across a number of key use-case scenarios and reimagine what these digital journeys might look like.

People in a meeting
Photo collage of hand-drawn wireframes

Collaboratively defining opportunities

The design for the OrchardHand mobile app and web portal were split into two separate week-long sprints. Using a collaborative, lean approach, we kicked-off each project with an intensive, three-day co-design workshop, bringing together sector managers, technical managers, team leaders, developers and designers. Through this collaboration, we were able to quickly and effectively gain insight into growers’ current experiences, revise and prototype key user journeys, and develop a new set of design concepts to inform the next development iteration.

App pages, including defects, summary and timesheet application page designs
Key tasks are faster and easier to complete, data visuals are clearer & simpler to understand and more features can be now done remotely in the field.
group of people in a workshop

A practical design approach

Key tasks within the app such as harvest scheduling, bin checks and pruning assessments were mapped out and examined in order to identify pain points, areas that were already working well and to find opportunities for further improvement. In addition to key tasks, OrchardHand presented a number of unique constraints specific to field work. For example, the interface needed to be visible and easily readable in bright, outdoor environments and the app needed to work both online and offline due to connectivity issues when staff were out in the orchards. As well as redesigning key task flows, we created a more accessible design system and helped develop a prompt notification strategy to remind staff to sync their app data at least once a day.

chart of names and dates with task reminders
chart with names and days of the week with tasks

The final task designs were simpler, significantly faster to complete and more intuitive for first-time users. These improvements were particularly evident in OrchardHand’s harvest scheduler for web. Scheduling and managing picking jobs went from an overly manual, time consuming forms, to a faster, more visual, drag-and-drop calendar layout. This interaction allowed staff to schedule jobs faster, resource staff more effectively and visualise working weeks at a glance.

"The web-based schedule is great and easy to use. Meeting expectations and the updates with the new changes just make it even better. A credit to all the team working on this.”
orchard hand 1.0 jobs page
harvest planner page
harvest scheduler drag and drop
Orchard hand users can now easily drag-and-drop jobs from the harvest planner directly onto the seasonal jobs calendar.

T&G’s open attitude and willingness to embrace a fast-paced, collaborative approach, played a big part in this project’s success. The T&G team were a pleasure to work with and we’re looking forward to working together again.