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Why Ag Apps Must Be Offline-Friendly

How are apps used by farmers?

Nowadays, 9 out of 10 farmers are packing a smartphone in their combine, tractor, or truck. Having access to digital tools can make field monitoring and other farming tasks more efficient. Unfortunately, not all ag apps are designed with farmers in mind.

In particular, ag apps miss the mark when it comes to offline-friendly design. As smart farming becomes more popular, it’s essential that ag apps keep their UX focus on real farmers, who may not have good internet connection in the fields.

Let’s go through what an offline-friendly ag app looks like, as well as key features that farmers need in any top digital tool:

Why are offline-friendly apps so important?

Offline-friendly apps just make sense for farmers. First and foremost, farmers in the field may have little to no internet connectivity. Yet, they still need to input data and upload photos of their crops. Offline apps can make it easy for farmers to take measurements even without the internet.

At the same time, using offline-friendly apps can save their battery to keep using their device throughout the day. This type of efficiency may be important for a farmer’s workday as well.

In addition, farmers need offline-friendly apps that are designed for quick, simple actions. In the fields, they’re likely juggling multiple tasks, which means the app should be intuitive and have user-friendly buttons for easy note taking and data entry. Farmers are often on-the-go, so they don’t have time to be clicking around to find what they need.

Nowadays, offline-friendly apps aren’t just about the weather. Farmers use ag apps for collecting data, monitoring fields, identifying weeds and pests, managing agro machines and even ordering products online. Ag apps should make it easy to reliably complete tasks directly from the fields, so that these complex tasks stay streamlined.

In turn, offline-friendly apps boost user loyalty, as farmers understand the value of being able to complete their work from the fields. Apps with offline-friendly features will stand out from the competition and offer greater utility to farmers.

What key features are essential for offline-friendly apps?

An offline-friendly app is more than being available without internet connection. To be considered offline-friendly, an app should have these key features:

  • Simplified synchronization process: Farmers should be able to add data or notes offline. But when they reconnect to the internet, the synchronization of this new information should be seamless – and reliable. They shouldn’t have to wait ages to sync data or worry about losing data in the process.
  • Smart notifications: The app should notify users when they’re no longer connected to the internet. It should also support all key features offline. There shouldn’t be any loading issues or essential features that are unavailable in offline mode.
  • History recall: Farmers may want to check out their past notes or data. The app should provide a way to see this history so that they don’t miss out on key information as they work.
  • Search feature: Offline searches can be tricky to code. However, they’re important for farmers to find anything they need. Having a search feature that reliability gives results offline has high value to farmers.

As you can see, offline-friendly apps may be more involved than you think. These four features are particularly important to get right.

Examples of top offline-friendly ag apps

Offline ag apps are starting to gain traction, especially as smart farming is widely adopted. Some examples of great ag apps include:

  • Agworld lets growers and agronomists capture data, use farm maps, plan budgets, etc. – even when in the field without an internet connection. Once back in range, all info will sync to a cloud account.
  • Farm Dog stores field observations – no internet needed – including for scouting, weather, pesticide lookups, and data collection.
  • Sirrus helps collect and share field data, even when offline. With it, farmers can scout crops, create recommendations, generate reports, take soil samples, view fertilizer recommendations, and get rainfall estimates.

These offline-friendly ag apps are just the start of providing UX-focused services for farmers. Other agtech innovations include:

Final takeaway

Ag apps are an essential part of collecting field data and making recommendations for farmers today. It’s important that these apps are designed for farmers by including an offline mode. With it, farmers can scout their fields easily and upload any new information once they’re back in range of the internet. As smart farming becomes commonplace, UX design for farmers will be even more critical.

Smart farming, agtech, ag apps… these new movements in farming are transforming the industry. Download our 8 Key Statistics about Smart Farming to better understand this new agtech movement.

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