Over 161 farmers and advisers from Finland, Greece, Italy, Sweden, The Netherlands and the United Kingdom have provided their feedback on what functionality they would like to see within the IPM Decisions dashboards. The key messages are that the information must be meaningful to the individual, providing a simple, easily understood message that allows a decision to be made.
As part of the workshops run by the project, farmers and advisers were asked to rank the importance of a set of user stories. Each user story outlined a component of the functionality that could be provided within the platform and dashboards. Once all the returns had been collated, they were weighted according to the number of responses per country to remove any potential biasing of the results by having a greater number of respondents from a single country. The percentage of respondents ranking each story as either important, very important or not important could then be calculated and the values for each of the stories compare to identify those which were most important.
The top five most important functionalities required by farmers and advisers are:
- Being able to specify the location of the farm to facilitate use of the most appropriate weather data
- Being able to specify multiple crop locations
- Being able to have multiple farms
- Being able to see instantly which crops are at risk
- Having email or text alerts of risk to crops
The ranking of the user stories was used to provide a priority for the development and inclusion of various functionalities within the platform and dashboards that has been included in the dashboard specification document (Deliverable 3.1). These priorities will be used during the development of the dashboards to assign whether a feature is essential, useful or not relevant so that we can ensure that we deliver all the essential features and as many of the useful features that project resources will allow.
The ranking of the user stories provided by the farmers and advisors at the workshop were in line with the expectations of the project team. There were no major surprises in the rankings, and it was clear that farmers and advisors would like to have DSS output that is specific to their farm and provides them with an instant indication of whether they need to take action on any given day. This fits exactly with our vision for how the platform and dashboards will work.
A similar exercise was carried out for scientific researchers and developers of decision support systems (DSS). Based on the 53 responses received from across the 6 countries, the top five most important functionalities for researchers and developers were:
- Being able to compare different DSS
- Being able to modify the parameters of a DSS (to make it relevant to a new country)
- Being able to export the DSS results for analysis
- Being able to set up multiple farms in multiple locations to allow testing of a DSS
- Being able to access information on the provenance of the DSS
As with the farmer and advisor results, these have been converted to priorities for the different functionalities in the specification of the comparison and adaptation dashboards.
Overall, the ideas of the project team for the dashboards appear to be strongly aligned with the needs and requirements of users, and as we progress through the development of the over the coming months we will be increasingly liaising with stakeholders via workshops and in a more ad hoc fashion as a means of gaining feedback on the look and feel of dashboards and the platform web pages to ensure that we are providing something that farmers, advisors, researchers and developers will all use.