Designing a Farm Loan Discovery Tool & Application Quick Guides
America’s farmers and ranchers rely on vital Direct Farm Loans from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in order to start and grow their operations. However, the loan process can be long, complicated, and stressful – especially for first-time producers who are often the least aware of the time and opportunity costs involved.
Working as the Customer Experience Center of Excellence (CX CoE), my team spoke to over 50 producers and loan staff to identify the human challenges faced along the loan journey. Through our human-centered approach, the team was able to determine the biggest frustrations that people were experiencing and was able to prototype two new tools to ease applicants’ burdens and reduce the workload on loan staff:
- A digital wizard-like Farm Loan Discovery Tool that guides producers to their best loan options
- Printable Application Quick Guides tailored to each loan type
Through rapid prototype testing and iteration with producers and loan staff in the field the team was able to quickly validate, refine, and deploy these valuable tools.
The tools we developed were so useful to users that they were quickly approved and made available on the front page of USDA’s Farmers.gov website.