Now that implementation of the Mifos web application front-end is underway, I’ve been concentrating on Mifos mobile. We want to make the mobile interface very similar, but optimized for the mobile screen sizes (Android phone shown here.) It’s also important to consider the use cases for mobile – most likely a phone or tablet would be used by a loan officer in the field, therefore the back office tasks such as accounting, administration, and reporting are much less important on the mobile platform.
To start, I am concentrating on the Loan Officer’s tasks in the field which would be:
- attending meetings (To-Do List)
- entering collections
- updating or creating new clients and/or loans.
I was invited by SocialCoding4Good to speak at OSCON (open source convention) about my Take 3 project last week in Portland! SocialCoding4Good is an organization trying to match up employees of technology companies with volunteer opportunities to utilize their tech skills for social good. It turns out that VMware was one of their pilot corporate partners and my Take 3 project was the first of it’s kind!
One of the things I discovered working with Mifos is that technology has finally become cheap enough to be accessible to the poor. There are many people in the developing world living with no toilets, but they have a smartphone. What an opportune time it is to tap tech talent for the social good – hence the creation of “SocialCoding4Good.”
But my personal experience also taught me that many opportunities are biased towards developers, perhaps because nonprofits need help first and foremost with the code, whereas they might see design and other “non-code” skills as icing on the cake. But there are opportunities for all kinds of technical skills in these tech nonprofits – from developers to UX design, tech writing, and program management. There is so much tech talent now in the world and people want to get involved. Check out SocialCoding4Good for how you can help!
What a fun, exciting, and rewarding three months it has been! I had the opportunity to work with some wonderful folks on the Mifos team, visit several interesting MFIs in Bangalore, India and Nairobi, Kenya, and work through some very intriguing design problems- both trying to take advantage of cutting edge technology and design while also being cognizant of the impact and cost of relearning. But it was a large project and the design is not done.
I presented my design ideas to the user community during the Mifos User Meet-up call. These folks are from around the world – India, Kenya, Uganda, Philippines, and others. They reiterated a concern that had been voiced to me before (see Design and Workflow and Cross-pollination) – our loan officers and not well-educated or tech-savvy, please don’t make them relearn too much.
After asking the engineers to review alternative designs for the Client Page, I got the following feedback:
- prefer the the one that utilizes all the space
- not sure the graphs are adding anything useful
My first reaction was: typical engineering response. But it made me think hard about the purpose of my design choices, which is exactly the point of soliciting feedback.
In the last post, we looked at the Dashboard/Home page design changes. In this post, I’ll discuss the client home page. This is all the data the system keeps about a particular client – their personal information and who their loan officer is, which branch/group they belong to, and the details about the loans and savings accounts they have.
This is the original client page in Mifos…
For the past few weeks, I’ve been delving deeply into design. (And realizing there is so much more I want to do than I have time for with just two weeks left on this project!) I also haven’t been blogging much about the design because it’s hard to explain with just a few select screenshots, but I’ll give it a go.
Dashboard (Home Page) Design
First, the original home page…