VMware Sahana Usability Review

Over the past months, Rafae Aziz, Danny Walcoff and a team from VMware have worked on a UI/UX Review of Sahana through a series a of half-day sprints.

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Sahana has been deployed as customized solution in a wide number of different contexts, so to focus their review the VMware team reviewed the Los Angeles Community Resilience Tool and Puget Sound Maritime Common Operating Picture templates of the Sahana Eden Open Source Disaster Management software.

After their first sprint they came up with a proposed set of wireframes, which were designed with a mobile first strategy. This was an valuable perspective for the Sahana community as until now we’ve been primarily focused on a desktop user interface. These wireframes were shared on the Sahana mailing list, and served as a good catalyst to for the community to explore a number of ideas, including using an inbox-like “News Feed” to present more information and the challenges of supporting multiple different workflows for different types of users.

In the second sprint the VMware team were able to dive deeper in our homepage, reviewing how it could be made more useful and easily customizable for specific context.

Working with the VMware team was a great opportunity for us to look at our software from a design approach. Because Sahana is used in so many different contexts, we do face a challenge of identifying the specific types of the users and workflows we’re designing solutions for. We’ve already begun work documenting some of these requirements and we’ll continue this as we move forward with our planned release of Sahana Eden 1.0.

We’d like to thank the VMware team and also Emma Irwin and Celine Takatsuno from the SocialCoding4Good for matching them with Sahana and making this all possible. We’re look forward to more collaboration like this the continued evolution of Sahana.

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