Open Question - Navigating the technical white water rapids

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The Indigo Trust just published our recent account detailing the wild and wooly journey we have taken to develop our newest offering, Open Question. This journey was generously sponsored by The Indigo Trust, and we got there thanks to our incredible and dedicated programming team, who went through incredible challenges to get us to the finish line.

Open Question – Persevering Through Technical White Water Rapids

Posted on

August 23, 2012



By Scott Fairbanks and Rose Shuman – Question Box

Our organization, Question Box, spent years creating and running local hotlines in rural, developing world communities. In 2010, the Question Box team agreed upon a major shift in direction. To achieve a real shift in development practice we needed move away from being implementers, and towards being a tool-provider. That way, we could spread and scale the promise of low-cost hotlines by taking what we had learned and creating a way for NGOs to build and manage their own hotlines.

Open Question, our software concept, was a keystone to building a hotline toolkit. Open Question is a software program that helps community organizations record data from incoming hotline calls, efficiently search for answers, and track call times, caller demographics, and answers to survey questions. The spec demanded a simple desktop interface that could work on offline, outdated computers in developing countries. Meaning, it had to be compatible with the likes of a Pentium II PC with 128 MB of RAM running Windows XP.

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