We started this year with one goal in mind: to make Flow so stable and reliable that it lets you scale your data collection limitlessly. We defined a number of technical, functional and design improvements to tackle and got started.

Our work in the first two months of 2017 focused on technical improvements. We scoped out what we call the Flow refactor – a project to restructure the way Flow handles data, without changing any of the tool’s behaviour. Secondly, we started breaking down the code into smaller chunks to build tests around these functionalities. This means we are ensuring that every release works as expected, more rapidly. Above all, we have been focusing on fixing the code to improve its stability, loading times and performance.

Design improvements: can you spot the differences?
Although the ‘under the hood’ work is not directly visible to you yet, it gives us some room to look into our user interface and improve the design of Flow’s online workspace and app. Thus, we committed to create some small but vital changes which aim to make your Flow experience as natural and seamless as possible.
Top: Photo by David Marcu via Unsplash
Above: Past and present of the Akvo Flow dashboard.
So far this year, we’ve changed the colour palette and layout to make them cleaner and more unified. The fonts, buttons, tables and modal dialogues are getting a makeover to highlight the important information you need to know when working with Flow. We’ve made a great new place for you to log in and out of your workspace and select the language you want to work in. This design clean up also involves removing some duplicated items, like icons and headers. All these changes aim to reduce the information you see and the number of decisions you need to take when managing your data collection projects. Stay attentive, as there is more to come in the coming months.

Supporting you until the end
Back in November 2015, we’ve embarked in the process of creating a new framework to support Akvo Flow users. Since then we’ve collected multiple experiences from people all around the globe, either in the different Akvo hubs or in the field, using our tools. To date, we’ve published over 90+ articles, read over 9173 times in our Akvo Flow Help Center.
Above: Colleagues Aulia and Stefan, during Post Pam disaster response in Vanuatu, 2015. This was the prior version of the Akvo Flow Help Desk. Photo by Aulia Rahman.

Some of the latest articles you might be interested in reading involve Use scores in your Akvo Flow survey, ​Raw data reports with Advanced settings and Updating the version of the Flow app.

The easier it is to work with Flow, the more unlimited you’ll feel when capturing data. Look out for more improvements in the coming months.

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