Dear Community, Users, Partners:

Ushahidi got a lot more powerful today. After a lot of listening, we released major design improvements and new features that bring clarity to the data and storytelling within Ushahidi deployments. This is good news for everyone who uses Ushahidi because, starting today, you'll get more out of your deployment:

  • A totally re-imagined and streamlined interface that makes it easier to collect and understand data.
  • You can now add photos to your posts, to gather those important visual moments.
  • You can export your data via CSV to make it interoperable.
  • We removed post limits so you can gather all the data you need.

We believe data should not be dehumanized. It shouldn’t be difficult to get or understand. These are the problems our users told us they have. So we designed and built our platform to solve these challenges.

Ushahidi sits at the intersection of the tech and humanitarian industries. The tech industry first coined and then over-used terms like “iterate, “test”, “lean”, and “pivot” such that they turned into buzzwords we now expound all point to a central thesis: Continually ask questions, listen to your customers, and gather as much relevant data as you can while spending as little money possible until you identify the right solution to their problem. Over the past year this has been our north star.

The major design improvements we released today are the product of more than six months of research that included more than 100 users. These Ushahidi deployers included Kahtmandu Living Labs’ impactful Quakemap.org, the lauded 2012 Obama Campaign, the amazing team behind Harassmap.org, and the Red Cross, to name only a few. We ran structured surveys with our community, asking what they needed, what their biggest problems were, and then we designed Ushahidi accordingly. We built prototypes of our tool and tested them with users, getting their feedback before sinking a bunch of development work into it. And then we did it again. And then we did it again.

One of the big updates in this new design is the flow and experience of working within the platform. That flow relies heavily on new “modes” in Ushahidi, which offer more focused interaction with the platform’s most popular visualizations: Map, Timeline, and “Activity” charts. This release of Ushahidi also include new features, like uploading images to posts and exporting data to CSV, so users can analyse their data outside of their deployment.

We are also improving our plans. Existing “Mappers” will get even more out of Ushahidi with unlimited posts, new features, and access to the improved “Activity” mode. And the “Surveyor” plan now offers storage for unlimited posts and surveys at the reduced price of USD 99 per month.

We want to thank everyone who participated in this work, gave us feedback, advice, and helped contribute to this product.

Gregory Omondi, innovation engagement officer for Making All Voices Count, reviews Ushahidi's interface with users after the company's launch event Sept. 30, 2015 at the Kenya National Theater

To get where we are today, we spent a lot of time listening to all of you, and there were three things that kept coming up. First, we kept hearing from you about your issues with data collection, and acting upon that data in a timely and relevant way. The Ushahidi platform exists to help ease this process of gathering data from people and turning it into action.

The second was that, when working with data, it’s essential to recognize that it’s a continuous and ongoing process -- not a one-time thing. Data is often most relevant in real-time, and should be managed as such. Moreover, in your work you don’t gather data and then walk away. You build a continuous conversation with your community.

Lastly, that data are people, and that there is more to the story on the other end of that data point. This really struck home for us, and much of our product strategy is focused on building a platform that really helps bring humanity to data. Our goal is to help you read the crowd, understand your community, and act upon that information. We want to help you get the whole story, not just series of data points.

We realize there is a meta narrative to this release. We are making the Ushahidi platform better and better at helping our users gather information from their communities to be able to help them more effectively. To do this, we spent the past six months listening to our community, to make a product that helps them more effectively. We hope you like it.