The Ushahidi community survey results are in! We’ve been fortunate to have people share their input and feedback to help us improve. The key themes were:

  • Ushahidi needs stronger, unified documentation (a master wiki)
  • Provide an accountable customer service work-flow
  • Create an open development process, and
  • Increase community programming to support mentorship and training.

Who is our community?

Ushahidi is used by five primary groups: international/local development, crisismappers/community capacity/civil society, media/communications, non-governmental/non-profit and governmental organizations. Types of community members can be researchers, academics, policy analysts, software developers, system administrators, logistics, event planners, deployment partners, activists, translators, coordinators, project managers, technical writers, translators, graphic designers, community outreach, videographer, volunteer coordinators, curious and everything! Whew! What an amazing swath of knowledge deployments convene. We are in awe.

What can we improve on?

Ushahidi needs support:

You told us that our support process is confusing and, at times, hard to reach. Support questions seem to be directed to the Developer Skype Chat, Forums, Wiki, mailing lists, individual team members, and etc. So, we are investigating streamlining our communications for technical support channels. We use Tender for all the general contact questions. We use Github, Forums (Vanilla) and Redmine for technical content. We’ve put together a list of requirements for the best fit solution to this. If you have any recommendations on the best tools to use or combination of tools, we’d welcome the input.

Create standards and protocols for releasing news about serious bugs and security risks over email. I don’t have the time to constantly monitor the Skype chat.

Be more responsive, and improve the quality of the product. Meet the needs of the community…

Ushahidi documentation is unclear. Open up the development process.

Make full use of wiki tools, I think we need to construct clear taxonomies to know what it is that is being categorized.

Emmanuel Kala and I have been tasked to determine the next steps with the wiki. Stay tuned on this journey. We’ve been reviewing how our friends in other open source communities keep a healthy, happening wiki alive and relevant. If you would like to help us on the wiki project, please just drop us a line.

…monthly conference calls where developers talk about what they’re working on and members of the community can share their thoughts on what’s working and what isn’t.

Increased programming to support mentorship and training.

I’ll +1 the idea for more videos, more webinars, and more visuals of even simple administration tasks. Ushahidi’s translation community will probably never be able to keep up with the platform/documentation changes in all of the required languages. The visual instruction, even if the verbal instruction is not understood, provides some understand of basic to more advanced functions.

Caleb Bell and I are working on a video channel for our training. We completely agree that video + language is so important to aid in supporting the ever-growing global, multi-lingual community. We will also be holding events and webinars for the various user groups to support the diverse deployment communities.

Also, two people requested More Cowbell. We’ll incorporate that into the next community call to be scheduled for early October.

Thanks to the 55 people who responded to the first community survey and to the countless people who talked with me both online and in-person. We are tasked with addressing these critical pieces to support your work. And, as we formulate the approach, we’ll share and ask for your input to test or improve it.