Kenyan Tech Star Ushahidi Makes Major Design Updates

Toby Shapshak | Forbes | June 14, 2016

Ushahidi, one of the earliest Kenyan tech success stories, has unveiled a major redesign of its key features and its look-and-feel. Launched in December 2008 during the violence that followed the disputed Kenyan elections, Ushahidi (which means “witness” in Swahili) is ranked with M-Pesa as one of Kenya’s greatest start-up successes. US President Barack Obama praised Kenya’s tech entrepreneurs during a visit to the country his father was born in last July: “This continent needs to be a future hub of global growth, not just African growth”.

Ushahidi is open-source software that is used by “advocacy, development, and humanitarian-response communities” and now features “improvements [that] include new map, timeline, and charting tools, making the work of collecting, managing, and responding to data faster and more immersive,” says its CEO Daudi Were. “We believe data should not be dehumanized. It should not be difficult to get, and it should not be difficult to understand. These are the problems our users tell us they have. So we design and build our platform to solve these challenges,” Were said in a  statement.

Ushahidi’s creative director Brandon Rosage adds: “After we launched a re-imagined Ushahidi in October 2015, we spent the next six months listening. We wanted to stop guessing who the typical Ushahidi user is, and how they needed the software to work. Instead, we asked them to tell us. They helped us assemble simple prototypes and conduct usability studies. And by April 2016, more than 100 users had worked directly with Ushahidi staff to shape what they felt were the most pressing ideas to improve Ushahidi”...