Understanding user requirements for the SOCS platform


In early February, DEMETER carried out two workshops: one with a farmer user group and the second with technical providers, to better understand the requirements from each user group regarding the SOCS platform. SOCS, the DEMETER Stakeholder Open Collaboration Space, is an online platform dedicated to all stakeholders (farmers, advisors, and suppliers) where they can collaborate, share best practices, and participate in the co-creation processes. SOCS aims to reverse the relationship with suppliers, through an innovative model in which suppliers are responsible for ensuring that a final solution is optimal to the farmer’s existing context.


The objective of the workshops was to gather feedback from potential end users so that SOCS can be refined to better suit all stakeholders. The feedback related to features on the platform, feedback on usability and to generate ideas for new and improved features. The workshops were conducted on Zoom using Miro, a visual collaboration platform.


DEMETER SOCS User Requirements workshop output

Figure 1: DEMETER SOCS User Requirements workshop

In the beginning of the workshop, the participants were presented with the SOCS platform. The workshop moderator gave a broad overview over the platform and presented the participants with the objectives that the platform wants to achieve. Next, the workshop moderator went through each of the sections of the platform, showing participants the features and workflows. After the presentation of each section, participants were asked to move their attention to the Miro board, which contained screenshots of the respective sections. As a first step, participants were asked to rate the section for its usefulness. They did that by placing dots on a scale from one to ten. Secondly, participants were given five minutes to give their feedback for the respective sections by placing sticky notes on the screenshots. For this matter, the sticky notes were colour-coded: The green sticky notes indicated something that they liked, yellow indicated things that they generally liked but they think could be improved, and red showed participants disapproval. By captioning the sticky notes, participants were asked to give a few details about their feedback.


A key aspect to the multi-actor approach in DEMETER is a constant feedback loop with all stakeholders. The multi-actor approach to DEMETER has been an iterative process and can be seen throughout the design and development process of the SOCS platform.

In these workshops, the 2 groups of stakeholders are seeing the platform in action for the first time, after previously providing valuable feedback in the design phase.

What has changed since the design, is the addition of content and this gives a better view of how the real system will look and feel once officially released so it is important to get feedback at this pivotal stage.

Overall, the results are very positive from both groups of stakeholders and follow a very common trend. When marking each feature or section on usefulness, the results are as shown:

Feature Farmers (Average score) Technology Providers (Average Score)
Home Page 7.75 8
Blog 7.8 8.2
Events 9 9.5
Knowledge Base 8.5 9.5
Organisations / Farms 9 8.5
Agri Trials 8.6 9.2

Although the results are close in most sections, it is evident that some areas hold a greater interest to technology providers, specifically the Knowledge Base and the Events sections.

For both groups of stakeholders, the ‘Agri Trials’ sections is one of the most interesting aspects of the SOCS platform, with the ability to search and contact farmers and organisations also being an important aspect for both also.

Together with the usefulness rating, feedback was gathered on each section in 3 categories as explained previously. This included feedback on layout improvements, feature enhancements and changes for usability and accessibility.

This information will be used to further enhance the SOCS platform for all users.

Next steps

With all the information gathered, the recommendations from each stakeholder group will be analysed by the development team and prioritised as new features in the upcoming public release of SOCS.