User Research

The Client:

Harrisonburg’s Downtown Farmer’s Market

The Design Question:

How might we improve the experience of JMU students at Harrisonburg’s Downtown Farmer’s Market?


I chose my interviewees by selecting students that attend James Madison University. Most of these students are familiar with the downtown area of Harrisonburg and have heard about the Farmer’s Market because it comes to campus once a week during the fall and spring seasons. I asked the interviewees a series of questions to provoke what they look for at a farmer’s market, their frustrations, and how it could be improved.

Research Questions:

  1. What options [such as food, fruits, vegetables, crafts, plants, etc.] might you look for at a farmer’s market?
  2. How often do you find yourself at the downtown farmer’s market?
  3. What do you look for in a quality farmer’s market?
  4. Describe what could make your experience at the farmer’s market better.
  5. What frustrated you the most about the farmer’s market?
  6. If going to the farmer’s market, what might you want to know beforehand?

After gathering information from the interviewees, I came up with design requirements to create an app for the public to use freely to address some issues people were having with Harrisonburg’s Downtown Farmer’s Market.

My findings are discussed and solutions are provided below.

Design Requirements:

  • Platform
    • 1. The application should be accessible on mobile devices via the internet. The layout should be clear and easy to function.
      • All users have cell phones and are up to date with technology. An app will provide easily accessible information at the touch of a finger.
  • Features
    • 2. The app should have the capability to use location services, allowing the user to find nearby parking.
      • This will solve the users’ problem with difficultly finding nearby parking and be able to arrive at the farmer’s market in downtown Harrisonburg.
    • 3. The app should provide up to date information about which vendors will be at the farmer’s market, what each vendor will provide each week with accurate prices and quantities, and provide information about where the items were produced and how.
      • This will provide all necessary information to users who have busy schedules and/or want to plan out their meals and grocery lists to find exactly wha they want and need and even how the products were produced.
    • 4. The app should provide hours to the users.
      • Some users were concerned about hours of the farmer’s market because it is sometimes hard to make it there during their busy schedule, but having access whenever they want this information will make it easier to plan for trips in the future.
    • 5. The app needs to be compatible with the vendors at the farmer’s market where they can keep information up to date for consumers.
      • To have up to date information, vendors will need to have access to the app as well to inform users of their products. This feature can also allow vendors to give a background about themselves, as it is important for the users to get to know the local farmers they are purchasing from to build trust.
    • 6. The app will show if there are any other vendors, such as food trucks on site at the Turner Pavilion.
      • As some users take time out of their busy lifestyles to make it to the farmer’s market, they would like know ahead of time about food options so they can plan to eat or not downtown.