Seen the Ona website lately? Our first major website update in six years happened and we want to tell you about it.
Technology in international development has changed a lot since we started in 2013. Our previous website, built in two weeks after we hired our first frontend engineer, came at a time when 3D printing promised to transform how housing was built in refugee camps, Internet of Things was supposed to solve the hardships of maintaining remote water points, and Android devices were beginning to gain adoption in rural areas. Since that time, the solutions we offered grew with advances in technology, but our website remained focused on mobile data collection.
Our goal has always been to find the bridge between technology and solving the intractable problems at the heart of the SDGs. A year ago when the COVID-19 pandemic unleashed itself onto the world, it gave us a moment of pause. We looked up and realized the brand identity we were communicating no longer reflected everything we do and believe in.
The new website is a first step toward improving the way we represent ourselves. Here’s a look at what changed and why.
More than mobile data collection, but data is always at our core
Our old website revolved around Ona Data — our namesake mobile data collection platform. Ona Data was our first product, created to offer organizations an easy way to collect and share data using smartphones. Next came our work leading OpenSRP and building Canopy, expanding our scope to frontline health worker tools, data management, and information visualization. Currently, we are immersed in how machine learning can optimize service delivery. Every new product direction was developed from a belief that better informed people, connected systems, and user centered solutions are vital to saving and improving the lives of the most vulnerable.
The new Ona website gives these products a space of their own. Each product has its own page of features under the umbrella of Ona, with our mobile data collection product now known as Ona Data. It received a visual identity update:
“Where need is greatest, using data to transform lives”
Our new tagline shows how our work has evolved beyond using data for data’s sake. Much of our work involves transitioning a system reliant on paper record keeping to digital. Something curious that usually happens to indicators in this process is a drop in the rate of coverage. This is due to the phenomenon of “the missing fifth child/person”, illustrating that 20% of the population has no contact with the census/health system. This population is at the most risk and is where the highest rates of mortality originate. Our mission is to use technology to bring services to those that need them most.
Products vs. Solutions
We build and contribute to technology platforms for integrating, managing, and presenting data. These are our products. In contrast, solutions are how our teams apply products to address our clients’ problems. Examples of our solutions projects are configuring OpenSRP to a country’s health goals or helping an organization set up Ona Data across several offices. Increasingly, we are combining products and our expertise to create the kind of end to end solution that results in social impact. Case Studies is our new place to describe our solutions portfolio in more detail.
As we clarified our mission and vision, we looked at our work and the role we play with our partners. A major theme that emerged was our reverence for close collaboration. Our work often involves solving small and large problems, zooming in and out throughout a project until forming a solution that works equally well for governments, implementers, and local communities.
Our new and improved process diagram shows a set of damped sine waves approaching product launches.
Ona Labs? Aren’t labs something from 2006?
We are dating ourselves a bit here. Some of our team started their careers while the internet was discovering itself. Personally, I was a huge fan of Stamen’s Digg Labs explorations and the experiments from Yahoo Labs. Many of Google’s products such as Gmail and Maps came from Google Labs. As an homage with a hint of nostalgia, we are also putting our R&D efforts into Ona Labs. We’re working on a number of exciting projects soon to come here.
A few more things…
We are in the homestretch of this post, so I’ll switch to bullet points on what else is new:
- It’s much easier to find old posts on our blog. Bonus: there are categories!
- Need our logo? You can download it via media resources.
- B&W photos of the leadership team? We’ve got you covered.
- Finally, if you are reading this line, I can only assume you work for Ona or you want to work for Ona. If the latter is the case, check out the Careers page.