Rule #1 – Focus on The User: If your goal is for people to adopt your software and keep liking it, then you must not ignore this rule.
Since day 1 when we embarked on SAFSMS project, this has been our primary goal – simplicity. We want to make SAFSMS as easy as possible so that even computer newbies can smile and say “it’s really that simple”.
SAFSMS is designed to work with the school calendar. Subject teachers are therefore expected to input their students’ scores immediately after every assessment. However must subject teachers find it difficult to input scores after every assessment, rather they input almost all (or all) at the end of the term.
Based on the initial design, the score entry interface allows entry of 1 assessment at a time.
Being on the field (in schools) during the busy days of score entry (at the end of term), another poor experience for the subject teachers that we realized is when they have an epileptic network (LAN) and they keep getting disconnected from the SAFSMS server. Sometimes they end up loosing scores they keyed in but haven’t saved yet. In some occasions, they abruptly loose their data when the power goes off (Nija factor).
A very important update to ensure that subject teachers do not loose any data is the storage of their work locally on their systems which they can always recover (Thanks to the HTML5 Web Storage feature).
This is the first step of making SAFSMS to work offline and get synchronized to the server whenever the user gets connected. Teachers can therefore work at the comfort of their homes and just synchronize their work on the server the next day.