RapidPro and Offline Surveyor App to Collect Feedback
U-Report app in a nutshell
Client Name: UNICEF Bangladesh
Publisher Name: UNICEF Bangladesh
Developer Name: Riseup Labs
Application Type: Communication
Available On: The Google Play Store, GitHub
Release Date: 31st June, 2019
Product Working Type: Completed
Product Device Type: Mobile
Product Type: Communication
Category: Mobile App Development
Development Period: 21st January, 2019 to 25th June, 2019
Mobile Applications have been a constant help in every way possible. It doesn’t matter if you are reading this on a mobile or computer; there is a high possibility that you’ve already used a type of application.
Such apps are playing a massive role in creating revolutions. Just like the U-Report.
What is the U-Report Application?
U-Report is an app that is free and aims to include a nation's community to express their opinions. The app shows some sensitive questions and polls to the targeted population and encourages them to answer. It has a noble motive too. It includes issues like everyone as a citizen and person, would want to both know and share.
The Aim: Basically, it’s aim is to support the initiatives of peace-building and adolescent empowerment.
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The process: Before knowing the motive, people look for the process. Because if you can understand it, you can connect with the bigger picture sooner or later.
Similarly, if you follow U-Report on Facebook Messenger Polls, it sends you direct messages. In this way, it can take real-time responses from you. So, it maps the answer to their site for showing numbers and statistics.
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Connection with UNICEF
Unicef’s main reason is to save the lives of the children. That also includes defending their rights and helping them to fulfill their best potential, right from their childhood till the stage of adolescence.
The best part is- they never give up on this mission. U-Report is an example.
UNICEF always believed that every child has the basic right to survive and learn. As a result, they have been working for the mission as well. They, with the help of a development company, changed lives.
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The poll topics and questions that make U-Report necessary for people
The topics are health, education, water, sanitation and hygiene, youth, disease outbreaks, employment, sensitivity, and anything people want to share.
Every share counts. For example, suppose you share your feelings on the app directly honestly. In that case, U-Report will maintain your confidentiality, and you might get help from it now as soon as possible as well.
Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar
This app has direct connection with the Rohingya camp. Unicef took the help of a development team at Riseup Labs to create an app and give it a strong place in their existing system. But before going into all that, you should know the main context of the application development.
Context of U-Report Application
In August 2017, around 7 Lakh Rohingya refugees came into Bangladesh. 55% of the 910,908 refugees are children, based on the UNHCR1 Population Factsheet. On the other hand, 42% of them are adults and 3% elderly.
The number of adolescents in this scene is the highest- 120,000. They are in a seriously bad state. They are not authorized to work and moreover, they are dependent on the support of the government and humanitarian aid.
An expected 95 percent of youth and adolescents need education or training openings. Only learning opportunities can make them capable so that they can stand on their own feet, to do something for their families. The U-Report application is playing a huge role in this.
The ray of hope
A solution for Adolescents and Youth
Project Development Approach
A process model for building an app is chosen based on the nature of a particular project and app, the methods and tools to be used, and the controls and deliverables required. Riseup Labs have used the Incremental Process Model for this project.
Significance of the plan
This model is designed, implemented, and tested as a series of incremental builds until the app is finished. A formation consists of pieces of code from various modules that interact together to provide a specific function. For the stage of the Incremental Model, a new build is coded and then integrated into the structure, which is tested as a whole.
Organized process to collect anonymous offline feedback
The server requirements: The content repository system demands server maintenance. However, all the contents and fields will be upped to the central server.
In any case, the server's cost will depend on the application's usage.
The software requirements:
Android 4.4 and above
Ram 1 GB
Quad-core, 1.3 GHz
Network 2G, 3G
See user stories
Auto read the texts in speech
The app has a connection with U-report Bangladesh
The app will ensure the security of users and prevent any threat to user data
User opinions collected from the app
English and Burmese Language support
Both offline and online usability
Web System Features
Admin can see the total number of stories, opinions and add them to the dashboard
View the details of the story, edit the story, and delete the story
See results by statistics, Gender, and Hub wise
Who can make use of the U-Report Application
A U-Reporter participates in responding to questions, reporting issues, polls, and most importantly, supporting child rights. This data is forwarded to communities and policymakers. After which, a change or final decision comes to create a significant impact on any issue.
How many countries use U-Report in total?
Almost 68 countries use U-Report today. As a result of which, 11 Million plus people get benefitted. They collaborate with partners, local governments, organizations, and young minds.
Who runs U-Report Global?
UNICEF and U-Report App
How is the aim connected?
The collective motive is helping the adolescents grow out from their shells and ask for help, by sharing their issues with full privacy. Rapidpro is a similar community by UNICEF. However, it is a website where people can do the same things they do in U-Report. Rapidro adds surveyor flows in the U-Report app process. It means that flows will run on U-Report Application in turn, which will make them successful.
Functionality of U-Report App
This is How Data Moves
The system of U-Report has 3 major components.
Rapidpro server: Rapidpro server adds flows that will run on U-Report Application. That is how the work of shifting data for the offline phase starts.
U-Report offline server: This portion is the middle portion. It converts and processes the flow run data from the RapidPro server for the U-Report format.
U-Report Application: At last, the U-Report Application syncs the data of both the previous phases for giving the output of data.
Offline feedback is the core activity of U-Report
Here’s why offline feedback server is main
Because it keeps a check for the RapidPro, always, for new information. Whenever any new data arrives, that offline server takes it and converts it into the U-Report format. In other words, it serves it to the U-Report Application as the main result, U-Report offline data.
It's the core because it is directly connected to the U-Report Application's main motive- taking feedback while offline and then delivering it when connected to the internet.
A Short User Guide of the U-Report Application
Splash Screen- After opening the app first, the user will see the splash screen. This splash activity of the app syncs U-Report offline results and stories with the U-Report Offline Server.
Sign-in page- Users will log in here with their rapidpro account’s username and password. They can skip this portion, but login is mandatory for sharing their opinions.
Home Page- If the app needs an update by any chance, the user will get a notification in this phase.
Stories Page- The home page has- story section, where you will get detailed reports after pressing the see more button. Anyone can change the language from English to Burmese and also zoom into the stories. The facility of hearing the text in speech is also there.
Results Page- This section is also on the home page. It shows the results of the opinions the user shared in the results section. They can select gender, statistics, and hub for classifying the results.
Opinions Page- Anyone can check the latest questions and opinions by refreshing them.
The History of U-Report Application
UNICEF started U-Report in 2007, with Rapid SMS. At that time, sharing opinions was in SMS format.
First country to launch U-Report App: Uganda in 2011, where 48% people used cell phones, the highest at the time for any country.
Other countries: After the success, UNICEF provided the program to Zambia (2012) and Nigeria (2014). Those two countries got the benefit too. It helped in HIV tests too, when the percentage of HIV testing rose from 24 to 40 percent.
As of July of 2015, U-Report had around 1 million reporters in 15 different countries.
The Winning Features of U-Report Application
Offline Feedback and Polling Mechanism
Translation of stories from English to Burmese language
Text to speech translation
Back end features
Why is it effective?
Key Benefits of U-Report Application
Internet connection is not mandatory for taking feedback
Easy to use
The offline feedback mechanism is effective
The Polling mechanism is simple and secured
People can express opinions freely, which grows the community automatically.
Challenges and risks that counts
Concepts that pushed U-Report app project positively
Keeping this app size lower, and also support all lower quality type devices.
Maintaining the best quality, in that small size.
Keeping the data and admin panel safe and sound.
Having the most simple UI/UX. The target people for this app are from rural areas (Rohingya and host communities). This will help user engagement.
Generating a U-Report basing the thoughts and opinions of users.
The developer had to ensure that the programming is in good shape and form. The reason is, UNICEF would be using it for the long term.
The Tricky Phase
Minimizing the Risk
The development company ensured that the app has quality programming, structure, data management, and vital asset optimization. As a result, the app could support low-quality devices.
UNICEF needed to use and work with the code for a longer time. So, the development company ensured quality coding. RapidPro and Data for all toolkits were applied.
Developers ensured that the app works smoothly offline and transfers and syncs data for offline and online versions.
Good optimization of video and audio files. The increased data size puts more load on the server.
Back-up files were already kept, because the development team worked on various devices to avoid any hardware risk.
The Crucial Phase!
Testing of the app
Any App is dependent on many tasks, actions, and levels.
These are the Software Quality Assurance steps that the development company followed:
Checking on various quality android phones.
Measuring the problems (if any) and finding the causes.
Testing the app on different types of software-based tools or devices.
Finding and following solutions for the next tasks.
Taking the feedback of users and implementing them.
Bug fixing whenever and wherever necessary.
Process of implementation - The Most Exciting Phase!
Stage 1: Observation Observation of the end-users
Stage 2: Ideation The brainstorming phase for ideas
Stage 3: Prototyping Building a simple prototype of the idea. For testing purposes.
Stage 4: User feedback A critical phase. The development team takes feedback from everyone.
Stage 5: IterationEnsuring the application of an update after user feedback
Stage 6: Implementation The final version after getting all types of feedback.
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