Did you know farming is the second most dangerous occupation in the world?
Did you know farming is the second most dangerous occupation in the world? Between 2015-2020, farming accounted for 15.6% of work-related deaths.
This number is far too high. The last thing farmers need is more confusion and distractions. That’s why at CropSafe, we are serious about accessibility.
“Web accessibility is the practice of ensuring there are no barriers that prevent interaction between the World Wide Web and people with physical disabilities, situational disabilities, and socio-economic restrictions on bandwidth and speed.”
Below, we have outlined a couple things we have done to make the app as straightforward as possible.
Using your phone outside in the sun can be challenging, even if you have a high-end smartphone with a good screen. It can feel like you’re looking at the screen through sunglasses, even when your phone is at full brightness. This becomes particularly frustrating when you are a farmer using your phone for work.
To increase contrast, we use black text and imagery against white backgrounds. This allows us to create the highest contrast possible. The text has to be large, and any imagery has to be clear with enough detail, but not too much. We use 12 colors (more on this later) with A.A.A. accessibility ratings. A.A.A. is the gold standard level of accessibility. It provides all the bells and whistles which make the difference between a good experience and an excellent one.
Yet, we recognize that farmers need to unwind - as difficult as that may be in their line of work. Through user research, we learned that many farmers use our app at night or before sunrise to plan out the upcoming day. That’s why we included a dark mode. This means that we use a dark navy background and white text. Lower contrast is especially important if your eyes need a rest. It can also be helpful when blue light is keeping you from falling asleep.
Our co-founders, John & Micheal, both come from farming backgrounds. They were very quick to inform the design team that farmers have big fingers. Much of a farmer’s job is gripping, grabbing, pulling, hauling, and holding. It is no surprise that muscle and thick skin build-up through use and damage. So what is it they say about farmers with big hands? “They need an accessible app to help them predict the weather!”
Our solution was to make elements like buttons and links in the CropSafe app very large. We’ve ensured that any area we want a farmer to press stands out from the rest of the app through size, color, and shadow. This way, such areas remain conspicuous and easy to access for any farmer, ensuring they can perform tasks quickly and easily.
When you have to juggle several jobs on the farm, it’s easy to misinterpret information you glance at. This is also common for people who live with neurodiversity, such as A.D.D. or dyslexia. To avoid meteorological Chinese whispers, we reviewed our app, adding structure and clarifying relationships between items.
We group most information into bounding boxes like cards. This helps solidify the relationship between images and text, or primary and secondary text. If we determine through user testing that this is not enough, we also add text descriptions to outline relationships.
We pay close attention to the kind of language we use. We ensure our wording and sentence structure are simple so that it’s easy to understand for people with varying levels of English.
Last month we did an overhaul of the colors we’d been using up to this point. The CropSafe brand was made up of 5 key colors; blue, yellow, green, red, and purple. We realized these colors were too bright. They were inconspicuous in outdoor settings and for those living with color blindness.
We introduced 12 high-contrast colors to increase visibility outdoors, doubling the number of colors we use. This creates stronger mental mapping models of the app’s features. In turn, farmers can navigate through the app with less cognitive friction.
At CropSafe, we live by Socrates’ motto, “All I know is that I know nothing.” In the coming months, we will continue searching for the best accessibility practices by interviewing as many of our early adopters as possible.
If you want to get involved and let us know about your experience with CropSafe, don’t hesitate to reach out! Drop us a line on social media or email email@example.com
May 1, 2022