Ushahidi Smart Phone Application Development

Erik Hersman
Oct 4, 2008

Let me start by saying that we do not expect smart phones to be the primary way for most mobile users of Ushahidi. Direct SMS messaging is still our primary integration point. However, mobile applications on these devices can take advantage of mapping, GPS and triangulation features that make the plotting of incidents a lot easier to handle. So far, the Ushahidi Mobile Team is working on J2ME, iPhone and Android apps. MMS messaging for images and videos is also being tested out, and we think we can get that into the first build too. [Please continue to provide feedback on Ushahidi's mobile app interfaces and features]

Ushahidi J2ME (Java application for all GPRS phones)

I'm in Kenya this week, and was at a local tech conference. Of course, you can't go 2 steps in any tech circle without meeting up with an Ushahidi developer, and I wasn't disappointed. Steve Mutinda, the outrageously talented J2ME developer had been at it again. He sauntered up, whipped out his phone and started showing me the newest mobile phone integration for Ushahidi, with maps, lists, and full database integration. Ushahidi J2ME App (more pictures in the Ushahidi Flickr group) This is one of the wonderful things about being part of an open source project. When you attract really smart and driven individuals, they tend to put out some amazing work.

Ushahidi iPhone application v0.3

Chris and Joe have been hard at work, using great feedback from the last post we did on the iPhone design, they've changed up the interface and have provided some notes on the changes. We're going with this version for the first actual application, which Wilfred has begun working on already. Ushahidi iPhone Interface v0.3 Changes, by image number on the image above:

#1 Homepage has clearer, more obviously clickable buttons. Removed "13 events near you" text on the homepage to make it faster (not sure this is necessary)

#2 Changed dropdown text to "all incident types"

#5 Cleaned up the typography, simplified and removed some text.

#6 Removed the three-part list (was at the bottom) in favor of just putting A) photos B) summary and C) two big buttons, "Read Incident Reports (1)" and "Add Incident Report."

#6 "email/sms/add" (triple button at the top) removed for this release. It's just poorly specified how that should work, it's probably complex to develop, and it's not essential.

#7, #9 Simplified the "edit location" button and made the camera icon much bigger.

#10 Changed text of the buttons on the pin-dropping Gmap interface.

#11 Added direct link to

Ushahidi Android application

Rounding out our smart phone tri-fecta is Henry Addo, our Ghanaian developer, on the hot new Android mobile phone platform. Though I don't have any screens to show, Henry is taking his lead from the iPhone design. We do this with all three operating systems to ensure some uniformity in design, features and actions.