Who are the users of Kobotoolbox?

I emailed the general info@kobo with this general query and was suggested to put it here instead, so here goes and this sounds like the best category for it.

I’m an academic from the UK and have used ODK and more recently Kobotoolbox on various relatively small projects for a number of years now.

I think it’s fantastic that you host the free service for both large humanitarian projects and for “Researchers, aid workers and everyone else”

I would like to recommend Kobotoolbox more often to students, colleagues or industry contacts as a far superior alternative to the likes of Google Forms, Surveymonkey etc. Not only are there much more advanced features but I think the open source ethos is particularly important for research; especially for education, with community groups, charities and so on.

However I think they would be surprised at how much you seem to get ‘for free’ and wonder what “the catch” is? People may be a little bit reluctant to use a ‘free’ service on a ‘live’ project: even if it is very small and well within the 10,000 submissions per month and 5GB limit. I think there is a bit of a psychological barrier.

On the other hand, these users would most likely not be technically proficient enough to host, run (and potentially maintain longer term) their own installation.

Finally I appreciate that these users may ultimately not be a priority and you are not here to try to put Surveymonkey out of business.

What is the general goal of the feature?
It could be useful to spell out more clearly for non technical users what the potential differences/benefits are to them against proprietary/commercial options. While Kobo is more advanced than these, I would say it is still pretty user-friendly and I would think there are many users who would prefer it - they just don’t know it exists and might not think it was ‘for them’ even if they were aware. Plus people may not understand the benefit of the community itself and all the help that they may find here. People may not know about things like offline functionality, GPS mapping, logic/routing or they may have to pay extra with other providers for these services.

What are the most likely user stories for how and when this would be used by someone on your team?
I would like to be able to point a student or colleague at a clear non-technical summary as to why they might try using this over other common options.

Can you sketch out graphically how you think this should look/work in practice?
I am not suggesting that Kobo focuses it’s energies entirely on attracting people away from other platforms, but it might be worth having some comparisons in the ‘Sign up’ / Get Started area on your website. In non technical terms, what are the benefits vs survey monkey / google forms etc. Perhaps to explain more about WHY there is a free tier - to help further development primarily (I imagine?). What are the actual experiences of people using the free tier? What kinds of projects are run

How useful would this feature be to other users or organizations?
The aim would be to generally attract more users and organisations. Many would probably only trial or run small experiments, but hopefully some would make Kobo or ODK a bigger part of their operations in the long term.

What can you contribute to making this feature a reality?
I was thinking about putting something together (article or video) that compared features of various form/survey services.

Anyway, wonder what you think of it!

Welcome to the community @rfletcher! A lot of your queries should be answered by our website. Please feel free for any other specific questions regarding KoBoToolbox. We (along with our active community) shall try our best to respond.