Activity vs. Scale

This is post #8 in our Under the Data Tree blog series, where members of Dimagi’s data science team share insights from analyzing CommCare data.

In this blog, we analyzed the relationship between how much a CommCare application has scaled and how actively the application is used per user.

We analyzed 621 CommCare applications, all of which have been used by 10+ users and for which 100+ forms have been submitted over time. Some CommCare projects might have multiple applications meeting this criteria. The graph below shows one dot for each of the 621 applications, where the y-axis is the median number of forms submitted per month by its users and the x-axis is the total number of unique users that ever submitted a form on that application. We also color-coded each dot based on application’s sector.

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You can see that the CommCare applications that have the largest number of users are distinct from the applications that have the highest activity levels. None of the 24 applications with more than 200 users have a median of 200 or more forms submitted per month Similarly, none of the 45 apps that have over 200 forms submitted per month have 200 users.

Most of the high-volume projects are surveys or research projects, that are likely intended to be used by a small number of highly trained and paid users. Even some of the service delivery projects with higher activity levels (around 200 median forms) are from smaller, more specialized programs that also have full time field staff using CommCare.

This graph suggests that CommCare applications that are suitable for scaling to large number of users tend not to demand too much from their users. When designing CommCare applications, it may be tempting to build in a lot of data collection. However, this graph (and a lot of our implementation experience here at Dimagi) suggests that asking for too much data may limit uptake of the mobile application.




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