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.
The client page on the web application has quite a lot of information on it and we want to maintain the important parts on the phone screen:
- basic client info including their PPI (progress out of poverty list)
- list of outstanding loans and their status.
This allows the loan officer to get a lot of information at a glance. The loans can be clicked on to get more information and to make payments.
From the client page, the loan officer can edit the client info, create a new loan, and view the Questions and Notes regions that normally fit on the web application, but not on the phone screen.
Entering collections is one of the more important tasks the loan officer has. The collections sheet on the web application contains all the information about payments and fees collected as well as loans paid out all on a single screen. (One reason for this is that often the desktop computers these MFIs are dealing with are old with slow internet connections, so it’s important to be able to enter as much information from a single screen as possible, although that makes it rather busy and more difficult to understand.)
For the mobile platform, it might make sense for these collections to be added per meeting instead of all at once. If the loan officer is using a mobile device, we can probably assume he is not at the office, therefore a typical use case might be to enter the collections while he is at a given meeting and as clients are giving him money. (In locations where clients have access to mobile money accounts, such as in Kenya, they may have already made their payments with their phone and the loan officer would see these payments as having been already made.)
More to come on mobile!