Public collections design improvement



We’ve started a discussion about improving the library feature within KoBoToolbox, and if you’re reading, you’re invited to participate :grin: It’s already possible to organize questions, blocks, and templates within collections and to share that content with other users, but we want to facilitate collaboration on a larger scale and make it easier for people to find each other’s shared content.

I’ve included the notes from an initial meeting of the KoBoToolbox team below, but further discussion will take place here, on the public forum.

Initial discussion (February 8, 2019 meeting)

Present: @pmusaraj, @magicznyleszek, @mike.destaubin, @jnm
Old InVision screens referenced:

Plans so far:

  • When creating a collection, prompt for metadata:
    • Organization Name
    • Country
    • Primary Sector
    • Tags
    • Languages (or do we let people self-report this regardless of the actual content?)
    • Description
  • Do not allow empty collections to be made public
    • …but it’s okay a public collection later has all its items removed and becomes empty
  • Require Organization Name, Country, and Primary Sector when making a collection public:
    • If required metadata already present, then make public without prompting
    • If missing, show metadata form again, with needed fields required
  • Replace “Rename” in... menu with “Manage”, which opens the same metadata prompt as is displayed when creating a collection
  • Do not include commenting capability (but encourage use of Discourse?)
  • No splash screen but send an in-app message / forum post once we release the new feature
  • Omit header illustration for now
  • No “featured” collections for now: use Discourse, blog posts to share links to the best collections
  • Add the ability to clone another user’s public collection in its entirety
  • Create a third tab/icon for public collections on the left side below Projects and Library
  • In the existing library view:
    • “My Library” remains “My Library” with the following changes:
      • Only include items owned by “me”, i.e. do not display items from subscribed collections
      • Change “Owner” column to “Collection”, since all owners here are “me”
      • Show only my collections below “My Library”
    • “Public Collections” changes to “Subscribed Collections”
      • Once “Subscribed Collections” is clicked, in next level of navigation, have “Trending” (rate of subscription increase), “Popular” (total number of subscribers), “Newest” (by date; TBD: creation or modification?)
  • When someone first clicks on the new, third icon for Public Collections, show Trending
  • When showing search results, show a single, unified list (not separate lists per sector)
  • TBD: decide which columns will be shown in the list of public collections
    • Only fields that have visible columns will allow sorting
  • Build Gmail-style advanced search (dropdown from search box) that allows searching by fields that are not shown as columns. Search fields depend on context (projects or library)
    • Finally fix the backend’s filter code so that Boolean searches work properly
  • When clicking a public collection, a modal will appear containing:
    • All metadata, including tags
    • Button to subscribe / unsubscribe (show alertify notification once server confirms subscription change)
    • All the following will be links that, when clicked, close the modal and execute a search using the clicked item as its criterion: username, organization name, country, primary sector, tags (tags to be linked individually)
    • List of questions and blocks (with each block showing its number of questions) and Enketo preview link for each


Here are the updated wire frame mock-ups to go along with the proposed public collection upgrade -

They’re fairly rough, so if anyone has any questions please feel free to ask and I will clarify and if necessary modify the slides.

Here are a few notes of my own in response to the list above:

If the ‘make public option’ lives in the Manage bubble, then is it necessary to also have it in the initial drop down?

Also currently the “make public” icon is the same icon being used at the bottom right of the project dashboard to switch to the legacy version. It should be changed to something else, like a globe icon.

I used a magnifying glass icon, but could also be a globe icon

I disagree with this. I think the public collections should remain with that name until you chose to subscribe to them, where they then show up under your “My Subscriptions” tab in your library. They only become subscribed once you subscribe to them, until then they’re just publicly available.


Are these discussion open to general public? I’d actually be quite interested in listening in.


Hi @Xiphware

Thanks for reaching out about this. I think our intention is to keep the conversation going here and publicly available for anyone to follow along and add in their own two cents. However, if we do end up having another call offline about this, I can certainly send you an invite to join.


@mike.destaubin @jnm Here are some thoughts on the proposed wireframes for improving the #public-collections feature:

  • Menus:
    • I’d suggest sticking with the current structure:
      • Library
        • My Library (contains own collections, subscribed public collections, and those shared by others)
        • Public Collections
          • Explore
          • My Subscriptions
  • I’d take out “Trending/popular/newest”:
    • There’s no easy definition for ’trending’ or ‘popular’
    • Instead, I suggest adding a sort option (in place of the ‘Filter by type’ menu):
      • Sort A…Z
      • Sort Z…A
      • Sort by popularity [number of subscribers]
  • Take out “Filter by type” (only applies to viewing content of the Collection)
  • Making public
    • There are two places, in context menu and in ‘manage’ screen. Do we need both?
  • Search filter
    • Add a filter option “Has more than X subscribers”
    • Do we need ‘has GPS/media/repeating questions’?
  • Curating: We still need a wireframe on how to view / filter by curated collections.


My two cents:

  1. icon for “Public Collections” should be different (this one means “search”, will be confusing)
  2. “Type” column header + “Filter by type” functionalities could be merged
  3. column headers - sorting A<->Z or dropdown with filtering selected values? some make sense sorting some filtering
  4. I don’t think tags are that important to put them on top of modal - but I’m guessing the design of modal will be adjusted during development
  5. what does the graph icon mean/do on the start of the row?


Agree with leszek.
Moreover, what about adding sorting on column header in “My public Collection”?
A fourth link “Custom” could appear when users click on “Type”, “Primary Section” “Organization”, “Name”


I agree, maybe a combination of a magnifying glass and a globe icon? or just a globe icon?

I think you can keep the filtering at the top search bar and then just add the down arrow next to the column headers to sort the columns alphabetically. That way you can do both filter and/or sort

Sure, no important reason they’re placed there other than for looks

That was my attempt at a “Trending” icon


Good idea @nolive!