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Akvopedia is a free-to-use online resource for finding and sharing knowledge about water, sanitation and hygiene projects.

We’ve just designed an online survey that aims to examine and understand better the global Akvopedia user experience. It’s really simple and quick to complete – 9 easy questions, taking a few minutes at most. If you use Akvopedia, we’d love to hear your views. Just head over to www.akvopedia.org and the survey will pop up automatically.

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More context, for the curious

The online survey will provide a sample that complements site metrics that are gathered by our web analytics system. The combined analysis will be published here at akvo.org and get shared with partners – so we can explain much better who uses Akvopedia, how often, where they’re from, where they work and why they use it. It’s also useful for our design and content team (plus wider Akvopedia contributors) to understand which sections are working best for users, what kind of reasons those users have for coming to Akvopedia and why they share the content.

What we examine

Designing a survey is a trade-off and myself and Loïc Sans developed this one carefully, in conjunction with Hans Merton and Winona Azure who look after the product day-to-day, and Lynn Greenwood who crunches the web analytics data. Here’s a brief overview of what we decided to examine.

We already get a fairly decent breakdown of total page views and unique visitors, along with some indication of where in the world people go, as well as figures on the most popular pages. So the survey focused on trying to understand the visitors themselves.

There are just 9 simple questions and they cover the following:

1. How often does the person visit?

2. Which portal is most interesting and useful for them?

3. How satisfied are they with the information they gather from Akvopedia?

4. How easy is it to find what they are looking for?

5. What are people using Akvopedia for? Typical categories include academic research and teaching, help when building and monitoring systems, designing better programmes, research to help get project funding and general network. But we were keen to understand the balance between these.

6. The type of organisation(s) a person belongs to. They may work for several types, but we wanted to learn about this.

7. Whereabouts in the world the projects someone is working on are located.

8. Where the person is based.

9. And finally a freeform question to get ideas on how we can improve things.

The initial survey phase is running until 18 April 2014. We’d love to get your input if you’re an Akvopedian, so please join in. The survey automatically pops up unless you’ve already participated or have said you don’t want to. A cookie will remember that, so it shouldn’t hassle you a second time. You can clear the cookies / cache if you need to re-enter the survey.

Mark Charmer is a co-founder of Akvo, and is communications director.