Harvest promotes seasonal shopping for local customers at the farmer’s market.




There’s a lack of customer’s commitment to purchasing and their awareness of seasonal produce at the farmer’s market.


How might we encourage customers to purchase and increase their awareness on seasonal produce at the farmer’s market?


This project explores the customer’s purchasing experience at the farmer’s market. By studying how the farmer’s market works, asking vendors, farmers and ocal about their purchasing and selling experience, and developing experience diagrams prototypes, I re-designed 1) the market season guide by making it into a poster, 2) the market map by adding market favorites and where to buy them, and introducing 3) market harvest markers.



To re-design a better experience of an existing business, market, service or product.


User Experience, User Research, Design Strategy


3 Weeks, Spring 2019


IxD Studio: Experience — Alexander Baumgardt



The Farmer’s Market

I chose to redesign an experience for the Farmer’s Market because I have always been interested in learning about its system. I saw this project as a way to understand more about how the farmer’s market works to cultivate a healthy food system and how it becomes an avenue for a thriving community.

For this project in particular, I explored and researched the farmer’s market operated by CUESA at The Embarcadero. It happens every Tuesday and Saturday from 8AM—2PM.

Center for Urban Education About Sustainable Agriculture (CUESA)   A tax-exempt nonprofit organization that is dedicated to cultivating a sustainable food system through the operation of farmers markets and educational programs.

Center for Urban Education About Sustainable Agriculture (CUESA)

A tax-exempt nonprofit organization that is dedicated to cultivating a sustainable food system through the operation of farmers markets and educational programs.




Specifying The Focus Group

The Farmer’s Market consists of a big system where it had a lot of things going on. By creating a Stakeholder Map, it allowed me to know the people in the system and be more specific with my focus group: customers and vendors.

Research Approach

For three weeks, I went to the Farmer’s Market which happened every Tuesday and Saturday at the Embarcadero Plaza. Throughout that timeframe, I was able to conduct intercept interviews with 29 people which consisted of 1) vendors (farmers and business owners), 2) customers (locals and visitors), and 3) staff members from the CUESA Farmer’s Market. I tried to get insight on potential problem areas that I could solve for that is experienced by all groups.


When I was synthesizing my findings, I learned about the behavioral trends that happened in the market, the things what worked well and didn’t work well, and the different types of customers.

What Makes CUESA’s Farmer’s Market Different

There are several things that make this particular farmer’s market different from others:

#1 It’s a high quality farmer’s market compared to others in The Bay Area.

Customers said this is the best place they can get high quality produce, food and items. This allows farmers, vendors and business owners to sell at a justified higher price point than other places.

#2 It’s a tourist location which attracts a wider and diverse range of customers — both locals and tourists.

Customers said that they usually bring their visiting relatives or friends here to try new things. This creates more discoverability for both farmers, vendors and business owners.

#3 It’s location gives it a better customer experience by having it close to the bay and the Ferry Building.

Customers said that it’s a good place to walk around. This makes atmosphere of the Ferry Building and Marketplace a richer visting experience for market-goers.

#4 It is managed by good organization who aims to keep things thriving and active.

Customers and Vendors said that the there’s a strong sense of community at the farmers market, especially between farmers and food vendors where they constantly exchange their goods with one another.

Vendors said they receive active promotion on social media platform and during workshops, talks and educational programs hosted by the organization. This allows a space to continue growing and learning in the community.


Key Insights

However all the good things I heard about this particular farmer’s market, I also started to observe things that didn’t work that well in the market. These three insights allowed me to frame an opportunity that guided the result of my proposed solution.

#1 The market operates by season.

Customers said that they usually aren’t aware that what’s sold at the farmer’s market is seasonal despite the information posted on CUESA’s Website and Info Booth. This forms certain expectations amongst customers who go to the market with a plan in mind to buy (a particular item or food) but end up empty handed because they didn’t know.


Furthermore, it’s not just the food that varies by season but the customers too.

Every season is different and so are the customers — both locals and tourists — who visit the market. Spring to Summer is usually the peak time because more tourists come and farmers have more available produce to sell.

#2 The market's layout influences how the customers explore.

Customers choose to line up and purchase at the food stands compared to the produce stands. Food stands are located right by the entrance of the market and this opens up the problem of congestion in the market and influences the way customers choose to spend.

This map shows areas of congestion and foot traffic at the farmer’s market.

This map shows areas of congestion and foot traffic at the farmer’s market.

#3 The market only sells premium quality for higher price.

Customers also said that this is the most expensive market in the Bay Area and that you don’t go here to shop but to try and explore. This creates a space for customers to discover new things but also creates a gap in customer’s commitment to purchasing.



Problem & Opportunity

Looking Into The Current User Journey

I mapped the customer’s journey when purchasing at the farmer’s market. This allowed me to identify areas of opportunity I could improve in the experience.

Current Journey Map 02.png

Purchasing & Selling Decision Points


The Experience of Sampling

I observed that one of the ways to get customers to purchase is through the experience of trying or sampling. Once customers have experienced something from the market, they have a higher tendency to purchase it.

Problems When Committing To Purchase

From the Current State Map, I mapped out the higher level journey in the purchasing experience. This diagram helped me understand and identify the behavioral aspect that makes people go from browsing to purchasing.


I also tied in quantitative data to the diagram to know how many people actually commit to purchasing at the produce stands from the farmer’s market. I noticed that only 45% would make it to the point of purchase and it was an opportunity that I could enhance.

In my problem and opportunity framework, I identified three things I wanted to explore and solve for that touched every touchpoint in the purchasing experience.*


There’s a lack of customer’s commitment to purchasing and their awareness of seasonal produce at the farmer’s market.


How might we encourage customers to purchase and increase their awareness on seasonal produce at the farmer’s market?




Who Are My Target Customers


I developed a User Archetype to determine who I’m designing my proposed solution for. I decided to be specific and go with local customers than approach all types of customers that go to the farmer’s market. By doing this, it allowed me to bring more intent to my design.

  • Local customers who come every now and then but don’t purchase regularly.

  • Local customers who browse but don’t intend to purchase.

  • Local customers who only come for the prepared foods.

Why Local Customers?

I wanted to design for local customers as opposed to tourists because they are the ones who have more access to the farmer’s market and are able to experience the change in season.

Based on my user research, there are locals who are also regulars at the market. They are the ones who usually go every now and then just to check what’s new. By having a market fit, my design decisions becomes more user-centric.



Proposed Solution

Concept Sketches

I developed a few concepts to develop my final designs, ranging from educational demos, booklets, and guides.


Final Touchpoints

Eventually, I settled on three touchpoints for my design. My design goal is to orient and inform customers in the market when they seek to discover and make purchases at the produce stands.

Value Proposition


Market Season Guide

A way to inform customers about what’s in season and how to shop using the market harvest markers.

I created a market guide where it displays information about produce that are in season. I found that the current solution only exists in the website, which customers are most likely to miss because it’s displayed at the very bottom of the page.

I intend for these printed guides to go with the market map and be displayed at the Information Booth. It allows people to easily know what about seasonal produce and where to get them in the market.

Current Season Picks on CUESA’s Website   Reference:

Current Season Picks on CUESA’s Website


Re-designed Market Season Guide

Re-designed Market Season Guide


Market Favorites Map

A way to orient and encourage customers to explore the produce stands at the market.

I re-designed the current market map to have a favorites section for food vendor’s who does market trade or exchange goods with farmers. It allows customers to know where the food vendors get their ingredients from and at the same time have more exposure to what other farmer’s are selling in the market.

Current Market Map   Reference:

Current Market Map


Re-designed Market Map

Re-designed Market Map


Market Harvest Markers

A way to let customers know which produce is at their harvest time.

I prototyped marker labels that go with the produce to inform customers which ones will go out of season soon. I made it more personalized by adding different ways they can try a certain produce and what other things in the market they can best pair it with. It allows customers to be more interested in trying new produce and purchasing them.

Current Produce Labels

Current Produce Labels

Prototype — Showing how the labels could be used in context.

Prototype — Showing how the labels could be used in context.




Experience Cycle

Throughout the entire project, I kept in mind Hugh Dubberly's 'Experience Cycle' as a governing framework to guide my work. This diagram illustrates how my design solution is structured to create a better experience for users.



“It’s a great idea! I think it would help people be more familiar with what’s here because the stalls are disperse it’s not like there’s one side where it’s all just produce and it gets congested in certain areas. People don’t usually know what’s here until they walk around.”



Future State Journey Map

I created this map to envision how the my design solutions will improve the current user experience.




This project allowed me to do a deep dive on researching about the Farmer’s Market, which is something that I’ve always been interested in doing. Two challenges manifested in this project: 1) looking for problem areas and 2) coming up with solutions and prototypes that was deeply rooted in the research I’ve done. I found it extremely difficult to create a “better” experience in a situation where there weren’t any obvious problems.

As a three week project, I had a lot of constraints especially with time since I chose a topic where I can only go twice a week to conduct research and testing. But it allowed me to look beyond the surface and let go of my initial observations. I had to uncover insights by reframing the questions I asked and doing a different approach to my research. My main motto for this project was: If people weren’t giving me the answers I sought for then I wasn’t asking the right questions. I asked peers and my professor on how I can do this and one of the feedback I got that stuck with me is to: “Look for overlaps and look for opportunities. Provoke yourself to think differently about it in different ways.” My professor told me the best way to do this is 1) to ask about the best moments because that’s when people start to tell you interesting things and things they might wish for; and 2) to sketch different diagrams and frameworks of the insights I currently have so that I can the data I gathered in a different perspective. It’s also why I made a lot of Venn Diagrams during my synthesis phase.