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The technical team has today introduced an updated Akvo system.

At first glance you may notice a new home page section that explains what we do more clearly. However, the main feature update of this and another update 8 days ago is the new project admin interface.

This means any Akvo field or support partner – there are currently 75 of you, and counting – can add new projects or update existing project descriptions. This takes pressure of Luuk, who until now has been the invisible hand, adding projects manually. This was always a temporary measure. We anticipate many thousands of projects being added and managed by our partners, so getting their interface right was a big priority.

Last week we also introduced a tool that ensures project photos are the right size for the page they appear on. Before, we used the original and told the browser to show it with the size of 100×75. Now Akvo RSR creates a copy image with the size of 100×75 px. and displays that. The jpeg algorithm used for compressing the copies is very efficient so these small images are around 5 kB in size. This is a big deal – our partners try to upload photos for project descriptions and updates that can be many sizes and resolutions and a page with, say, 10 project updates could take much too long to load. It also led to lots of inconsistency between or within projects.

Now the system is foolproof. Our partners can just get on with taking good pictures, upload images of any size/resolution and the system takes care of the rest.

The tweak makes page views much faster in places with low bandwidth – an important consideration as the majority of our field partners (and many support partners) have fairly slow, dial-up internet connections in their offices, which are often cited in the communities they serve.

Below you can watch a short screencast by Thomas describing some of the new features. Excuse the ums and errs – we’re excited by the potential of screencasts and plan to use them much more during the summer to help new and existing partners quickly understand how to use Akvo.