As we are about to begin 2017, I wanted to share with you what’s on the minds of the Akvo Flow team, and what we want to achieve in the new year.

Get ready to scale with Akvo Flow

Akvo Flow is used by around 300 organisations in over 70 countries around the globe. We’ve now reached a point when we need to improve the foundations of its underlying architecture. In 2017 we’ll focus on building a new data management backend that will give you a faster and more reliable tool. We’ll also improve our read API, making it easier for you to connect to other systems and use your Flow data further. Moreover, we’ll improve some of our prototype features. We’ll start with repeated question groups by improving the grid structure in data exports.

Above: Working on Akvo Flow’s goals for 2017. Photo by Jana Gombitova. 14 July 2016.

Make sure you’re using the last version

We improve Flow regularly (every three weeks, to be precise). For you to enjoy the changes we bring to market, you need to make sure your are using the latest version of the Flow app. Check for updates in the app under “Settings”.

Above: In the Flow app, under “Settings”, you can always check, if you are using the latests version of the app by clicking “Check for updates”.

We are keeping it simple

A tool that does everything does not necessarily mean a tool that is usable or useful. We strive to help you improve how you collect data. To focus on this goal and make Flow a more powerful tool, we’ll simplify Flow’s feature list. Some little used elements that do not provide extra value will go. We’ll start by removing two input fields, the survey description and the form description. Then we’ll fully disable sending location beacons via the Flow app. This is an optional setting that saves your location information in Flow’s database but that has no effect on capturing the location of your data points. Furthermore, we’ll also remove the duplicated headers and some unnecessary icons and elements from the design of Flow’s online workspace.

Akvo Flow is all about capturing data. But how will you then make sense out of it? We are excited that 2017 will bring a new tool, Akvo Lumen, a data visualisation platform. Lumen’s direct connection to Flow will greatly enhance the ways you can understand and share the data collected in Flow. Sign up to our R&D bulletin to get the latest news on the launch of Lumen.

In the Flow team we want to achieve a lot in 2017. And by working together with you, we aim to identify more ways to improve Flow in the coming months. To see our progress you can always check our roadmap. If you have an issue you’d like to raise, reach out to us via our support channel.

Happy new year, Jana.

Jana Gombitova is product manager for Akvo Flow, based in Amsterdam. You can follow her on Twitter @janagombitova.