Product design lead

Brio 2015 - 2020
Phytech products assembly

About the Project

Phytech is a leading precision Ag-tech company connecting growers to their plants' real-time status, allowing them to make better informed operating decisions. The company seeks to provide value to different stakeholders from irrigators, through ranch & irrigation managers to senior executives.

My Role

I was part of the Phytech design team at Brio interaction Design ltd. for five years, leading it for the last three years. I took part in all stages of the project: research, ideation, sketching, prototyping, design, delivering the handoffs to developers, and working closely with the development team to ensure the final project aligns with the design.
the goal
Help growers reduce uncertainty and make informed decisions that fit within their current practices.
The challenge
Create a simple interface that allows quick information processing, and translate it into clear action items.
The fact that the product appeals to diverse users who seek to complete various tasks requires an elegant and accurate architecture that breaks the data into digestible pieces.
the plan
men touring in almond field
Understanding the users
User interviews, Creating personas, Learning about agriculture practices and terminology.
Mapping the ecosystem
Competitors and similar products research
Designing the desktop version
Allowing multiple user types to draw value from the product from day 1
Designing more compact mobile apps
To support specific use cases
Getting to know the users
This stage included user interviews as well as online research regarding the agriculture industry. The research revealed the complexities of the agriculture business and the challenges growers face every day.
Growers are deeply affected by unpredictable nature elements. They live in constant uncertainty regarding how to optimize their yield.
Complex Operations
Ranch managers need to consider varied conditions when making decisions, like work schedules, water restrictions, growing practices, and more.
Low-tech Industry
Farmers are not office workers - they tour their fields. It takes time for them to agree to integrate new technology into their decision-making process.

Mapping the ecosystem

I reviewed similar products that farmers use daily. The study revealed how undeveloped the user interfaces in this sector were. Most products included complex graphs and lots of raw data.

I completed the research by looking at products developed for the home gardener. These apps were more straightforward & easier-to-digest solutions that could be projected onto large-scale growers' complex reality.
Phytech competitors research 3Phytech competitors research 2Phytech competitors research 5Phytech competitors research 1Phytech competitors research 4
Designing the desktop version

Mobile-first? Not always

The business decision was to start with a desktop version that will provide value to various user types and roles from day one. Mobile apps tailored to specific use cases were designed only after creating the desktop app.
Phytech map fashboard first wireframePhytech plot list first wireframe
As part of this first step, the main concept and design principles were formulated. The wireframes included visual elements like color, type, metaphors, and icons to solve different usability issues.

User centered architecture

The product's architecture was divided into monitoring, research, and planning to support growers' daily practices.
Phytech desktop summaryPhytech irrigation planning screenPhytech minimized plot card

Keeping it simple and scannable

The complex analytical information about the plant status was translated into a simple color scale, allowing growers to identify problems at a glance.
Phtech stress levels

Combining a two-level view with drill-down capabilities

The interface consisted of both a map view, for quick assessment of the crop's current situation, alongside a list view that allows both in-depth research and future planning.
Phytech plot card two level information animation
Now mobile
Since farmers do not spend their time in the office, mobile was the next step in the product evolution. The desktop product was divided into several mobile applications, catering to different types of users or needs.
A mobile version of the desktop overview.
Customized  for pivot irrigated plots
A tool dedicated to creating weekly irrigation plans
An app that helps growers manage frost events
Digesting information on the go
It became clear that farmers would be much more comfortable checking the crop status while on the ground - That's where they are most of the day. The goal was to ensure that even though all the information was available to them, the issues that required attention would stand out.

The mobile plant app was designed to maintain the same principles that guided the desktop version with adjustments to the conditions in the field. I created an interface that highlights areas with stressed plots alongside an indication of irrigation quality, allowing farmers to identify fields that needed treatment and make sure their irrigation practices conformed to industry standards (misalignment between the two can explain why a plot is stressed).

Furthermore, the farmer can dive into the area list to investigate the various plots and drill down to examine problematic fields to ensure that they are getting the necessary treatment.
Phytech mobile dashbaordPhytech plant movile plot list
The Product Really Took Root
Thanks to the simple interface and high value the information gave farmers, many of the company's clients started using the Phytech products as a central tool in their decision-making process. Large-scale farms even measure their efficiency and success based on the app's information, leading to a change in growing practices, water use reduction, and an increase in yields.
What I’ve learned
Working on this product has taught me that combining user-focused design with the company's business goals facilitates designing products that will fit and serve customers and evolve with them. Phytech is an excellent example of how a product is ever-evolving and affected by the environment in which it exists: business considerations, technology, customers, and the market in general.
Trucknet mockup assembly
Start-Up-Nation Central mockup assembly

Setting the tone


Data driven design process

Start-Up Nation Finder