Onboarding for improving user experience

Dear all,

Is there a possibility to include onboarding (pop-up) on the ODK collect?

For example: "if user has no admin settings or opened the app for the first time show him a dialog to import settings via qr code right or manually"

Is there such a feature or others related to onboarding? I read a few topics on Improved user experience but never found anything like this. If not existent, can I place a request (or wishlist bucket?)

Thank you for your feedback.

Hi @LaraVR!

Historically, our typical user has their device setup by a supervisor or during a training session. And we assume that they also have a server setup and form designed already before they get to this stage.

It sounds like you don't have that kind of setup. Can you tell me more about your user and why they need more self-led onboarding?

Hello Yaw! Great that you contacted me. We work with farmers across the world, and we create the data collection tool for enabling them to report remotely. We will launch the app through email remotely but we found them having a hard time doing on their own
things like server settings. The server setup and forms are ready. It is just about making an improved interaction with the user, for "love at first site" with the odk collect. They use (and I have seen) other apps that has quite a bit of guidance embedded
in it, like interactive videos, hoover-over, click onwards, etc...

Does it make sense?

Lara Vallejo Roosdorp

+49 (0)173 639 2026


It makes sense.

As far as settings, Collect can be configured via QR code and the Central server uses this feature to help devices connect to it. Central's roadmap over the next year includes a feature to sync forms, submissions, and settings so device setup and management will be a lot easier.

Onboarding is a totally different issue and I think it's something that we should consider adding. What are top five or six things you'd want the user to know about? Is there a data collection app that you think does this really well?

Hi Yanokwa,

I have noticed the QR code feature; however, if we are using with different farmers it does not help much, they want to keep their data separate (having their own settings, username and password).
Still they would need to download the app and change settings then.

Onboarding helps with the user “account configuration” as they can be prompted to add in their user id and password, as a registration process. Keeping it to a minimum, of course.

Main functions needed:

  1. Registration: only need username and password
    The ideal type of onboarding would be function oriented, but progressive since most users skip through long app intros.
  2. Guidance through use: As the user sees new information requested that would be displayed in the page of relevance
    So in the main menu of the collect app we would have the buttons for the workflow and the guidance would only pop-up when clicking on a menu. For instance get forms = “here you can select forms that are relevant to your monitoring program, download a blank form prior to going to field”, something like that.

5 things I would like our users to know about:

  1. Registration and form download
  2. Form upload and data pathway
  3. Data Privacy
  4. Feedback channels
  5. About us and our support channels

The idea is to teach users about the data collection through an app, compel them to fill up and create a dialogue between pop-ups and email notifications.

Here is a good link with summary of useful onboarding tips.

Let me know what you think that helps. I am happy to continue this dialogue.

@LaraVR Your message seems incomplete. I noticed you are using email, so perhaps use a web browser to come to Onboarding for improving user experience and edit the message accordingly?

HI, I'd like to chime in and say this is a great idea. Often times, our users or partners use ODK for a specific thing and would be great to have a way to customize ODK so it can link to a registration page (or have registration built in) also an FAQ about ODK and about ODK in our specific project, a way to set login and server automatically, a way to get help on our project and even a sample form specific to our project. and even branding (just a bit).

So building on the five bullet points that LaraVR mentioned, I would add two more
6. Customization of home page or screen so that you could add menu items that link to the project or similar
7. Some sort of branding

This would help us with training immensely. Often we have some training but for various reasons, our partners aren't ready for months after the training - and then they forgot everything.
I get that branding especially might be controversial, it is almost misrepresentation but I think there could be strict guidelines that it is a branded version of ODK Collect. Personally, I am tasked with essentially creating this and I find the idea of forking ODK Collect to add an FAQ, a sign up form, and our 'corporate colors' kind of silly, but there are so many forks out there that were developed for that very reason and aren't updated and 'dying on the vine' as it were.

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Thanks for all that helpful input, @LaraVR and @Craig_Savel.

We've made many updates related to this theme and I wanted to check in and see how they are serving your needs. Here are some of the changes that I see as relevant:

  • The landing screen is now focused on initial configuration with a strong nudge towards using a QR code.
  • The home screen now shows a user-defined project name which can be used as a form of branding
  • The project picker icon has a configurable color and character (including emoji)
  • Collect itself looks more like a system app so that project custom content stands out
  • By default when using Central, the "Get Blank Form" button is hidden. "Fill Blank Form" exactly matches the forms on the server. If different slices/views on forms are needed, multiple projects can be configured.
  • By default when using Central, finalized submissions are sent immediately when an Internet connection is available.

We hope these changes reduce the need for in-app guidance by providing a clearer default usage pattern. We also hope they provide enough branding that field staff feel connected to the project they're working on.