Sat 26 Sep 2015 10:47AM

Guide Creation Flow V2

RA Rory Aronson Public Seen by 237

If you've ever tried to make a Growing Guide on OpenFarm, you probably know that some parts of the process don't work, and in general it is a bit confusing and frustrating. This is the reason why there is not very much content on OpenFarm, and why it varies in quality so much.

We hear you :)

Over the last few months we've been working on a design for what we call "Guide Creation Flow V2", and we'd like your feedback! (and help building it!)

Here is our latest mockup showing the different screens one would see when creating a Guide with the V2 flow: https://docs.google.com/uc?id=0B-wExYzQcnp3Sk1LSUZZbXBRQWs&export=download Note: You'll need to zoom in!

What do you think of the design?

PS, if you are a software developer (or anyone else for that matter) and want to help us build the V2 flow, please join our Slack chatroom: http://slack.openfarm.cc (link takes a while to load)


Florent Bouchy Sat 26 Sep 2015 12:52PM

Nice! A question and a suggestion:

  • How do you translate the timeline to other users around the world? Based on average light and temperature thresholds?

  • How about offering the possibility of choice within ordered actions? For instance, in a given stage, if you have ordered actions A-B-C, maybe you would want to say that either ABC is one way to do it, and ADC is another equally fine way (depending on parameters you could specify in the description). Or maybe even ABEC, E being optional.


Rory Aronson Sun 27 Sep 2015 12:21AM

Hey Florent, thanks for the good question. Initially it will be very basic. We'll simply adjust the seasons for northern/southern hemispheres.

Eventually though, we have ideas for it to be be quite complex as follows: We'll have a timeline that was written for one location - the location of the guide author. Based on that location's historical average daily temperatures, we can see how many growing degree days (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Growing_degree-day) happen for that crop during each life stage in that location. We can then take the number of growing degree days of each life stage, and construct a new timeline for a new location based on a starting window and how long it would take to have that many growing degree days in that location for the crop. Hope that makes sense :)

Different routes for ordered actions is an interesting idea. I think it might be hard to implement, though probably do-able with some good thought behind it. We'd probably implement the single route first, and add in multi-routes later. I think a feature for marking an Action as 'optional' would be very simple to implement and very useful. Thanks!


Marco Acuña Sat 26 Sep 2015 10:13PM

Commenting on what Florent added
as a tropical user, who has been with open farm since the beggining, I've really seen that need.
Add a button to choose whether to choose a USDA zone, Region of the world, or climate, and then the times for planting, speeds of growth and requirements will change on the growing guide page according to the information the helpers have written to that specific zones.
I see that it is included in the mockup, but how is it done while making the guide?


Rory Aronson Sun 27 Sep 2015 12:25AM

Hey Marco, this is a great point and you're leading me to a good idea I think.

In the mockup, the guide author creates the Timeline for their location. Generally that would be their city. Though they should be able to easily change that to be whatever region or conditions they want. Eg: Timeline for growing tomatoes in 'Europe', or 'USDA Zone 8', or 'San Luis Obispo', or 'Tropical Climates' would all be useful.


simonv3 Mon 28 Sep 2015 7:02PM

Hey all,

I want to be a voice of caution. I think one of the things that the developers (me) are struggling with is that things are getting overly complex. I'm hesitant to build all these complex "regional translation things" without testing smaller aspects of the system. Instead of translating things I think it makes more sense to make sure we have guides in regional areas.

I think that this is a good goal, but I think our mock-ups now should be more realistic about what we can build right now. I think we can pinpoint location, and further down the line that can be translated to new environmental zones, but I think - as a minimum product situation - just storing the location is enough.

I say this because we have to consider the mock-up that we have to build right now and that people will be interacting with. We can design "ideal" flows, but if they won't be implemented for the next two years because of limited resources, I'd prefer to have rational mockups.


Rory Aronson Wed 30 Sep 2015 7:15AM

Thanks for chiming in Simon. It is definitely easy to generate complex, "fully featured" ideas/mockups that are not realistic to develop in a short amount of time. It is important I think to strike a balance between the long term thinking/roadmapping/dreaming and the short term realistic development goals. And perhaps most importantly, make sure to convey what category the ideas (such as those above) fall into so that expectations are set right.


Florent Bouchy Wed 30 Sep 2015 1:56PM

Ok I understand; then I think the following bee's message that triggered my question should be rephrased: "When people round the world read your Guide, we’ll automatically adjust the Timeline for where they live!".
If you just shift half a year to adjust Northern/Southern hemisphere, it won't be enough, even for people on the "mirror coordinates" on the other side of the equator. Climate is so different even on the same latitudes, because of ocean currents (e.g., Gulf stream vs Labrador's), altitude, distance from sea, vegetation, soil, distance from large city, etc.
So I guess that for this version, there should simply be a note mentioning that each guide is given for a specific location, and that people must try and translate it to their own location, by looking at average temperatures and daylight, and shifts in these.
Here are a few simpler ideas for helping people do that:
* Ask the guide writer to provide a link to their location's weather forecast website, so that people can browse history.
* Offer them a link to a database of temperatures and daylight (for the specific location, or maybe even a global one).
* Ask the guide writer to provide the following info in the timeline: average temperature and daylight for each event's start and end; and type of soil, altitude, etc. This one might require a little more elaborate data structure for timeline events, but no additional behaviour -- except for the UI.


simonv3 Wed 30 Sep 2015 6:23PM

Florent, I really like what you're suggesting.


simonv3 Wed 28 Oct 2015 7:16PM

Another thing I'm curious about - How does this relate to the guide editing flow?


Florent Bouchy Wed 28 Oct 2015 7:24PM

This is all about the bee's message I quoted from the second screen of second row: "When people round the world read your Guide, we’ll automatically adjust the Timeline for where they live!”.

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