Adoption, use, iteration

November was a busy month, for use, for feedback, and for iterations in the platform.

In the largest scale use of Grassroot to date, Section 27 and Basic Education for All sent out messages to hundreds of members across Limpopo province, to draw them to a march on November 21st. The messages were customized for the languages of different districts in Limpopo -- Tsonga, Venda, and Sepedi -- and allowed people to confirm their attendance or not. Almost a couple of hundred used the "RSVP" feature, without any prior exposure to it.

In getting ready for the march, we improved the login experience on the web page, implemented an "account admin" role so Section 27 could use a range of advanced features, and made a series of smaller tweaks along the way. The march was in support of a court case at the Supreme Court of Appeal on November 24th, and in the new year we'll be working with the two organizations to build on this case and spread adoption by and through BEFA's district organizers.

We also conducted a series of workshops and training/awareness sessions in settlements around Johannesburg and in Durban. For privacy reasons, we won't go into full details, but one of the social movements has asked to introduce us to groups in neighbouring communities. In an example of cross-fertilization, we're likely going to repurpose the "institutional account", which we use for cost-recovery from large scale users, into an "affiliate network" that will allow these movements to connect to each other -- a top ask from them.

On a more granular level, one clear piece of user feedback was that the request to enter date and time together in the meeting organizer led to frequent errors and confusions. On more probing, it turned out that the issue wasn't during the initial set up -- given the number of prompts, date & time together was fine -- but that when revising and confirming, users wanted a way to change only the time, or only the date. That turned out to be less simple than it sounded, but as of now it's in testing. A similar loop led to creating ways to merge groups together, and/or deactivate ones that were accidentally created (just by deactivating, early on, or by merging the accidental group into the purposeful one).

We have a rough and ready workflow to integrate these into coding now -- if they're straightforward, they go straight into a GitHub issue (such as here or here), assigned to one team member. More complicated, and they go on the agenda of our weekly dev meeting, and then into the issue flow (as in here). We'll keep going at it, and, as we're now open, if anyone sees an issue they'd like to tackle for us, please drop us a line!