If you’ve been lending on Kiva for a while, you might already be familiar with our commitment to innovation — from loan products like chlorine water dispensers with Evidence Action to site features like the lending collections page.

One of the ways we promote innovation at Kiva is by testing new site experiments that might be useful — features such as kiva.org/live, loan tagging and the borrower previews that appear in lending team messages. While many of these features end up being wildly successful, there are others that don't catch on, need more polish, cause a large maintenance burden for our team or simply detract from the core user experience on Kiva. 

In 2014, one of Kiva's main initiatives will be focused on improving that core lending experience for our users, and includes things such as making loans, interacting with the community and building a sense of connection with borrowers around the world. With this focus in mind, we're starting off the new year with a new initiative to more regularly prune away what's not working well (less-used features, and those that cause an unnecessary maintenance burden) with the hope that this will free our team to better focus on the core of what Kiva’s all about: connecting people through lending to alleviate poverty. 
 
With next week’s site release, as part of this “winter cleaning” initiative, or new year “pruning,” we’ll be removing a number of smaller site features. Here's what we've decided to remove: 
 
Map view on kiva.org/lend: In online and in-person interviews, we've repeatedly observed lenders having difficulty using the map. The reasons vary but include:
  • A non-intuitive interface for new (and even experienced) lenders, due to the need to zoom and pan the map to find countries they wish to select
  • General bugginess (for example overlapping information boxes)
  • Lenders not knowing how to apply their selection, or confusion around whether loans were updating according to their selections
  • Difficulty locating and selecting small countries, and confusion in how to select multiple countries
While less interactive, we believe that a simple list, organized by region, will be easier to use and make the experience of filtering by country faster and more efficient for lenders.
 
Loans per page drop-down: Similar to the map view, the “loans per page” drop-down menu near the top of kiva.org/lend was originally implemented to help lenders select loans. However our testing showed that the feature was not used often, added unnecessary clutter to the interface and frequently introduced new bugs whenever changes were made to this page.
 
Lending team goals: Lending team goals were created to help teams rally around milestones for loan amounts and new members. While we believe there’s a lot of value in helping team captains better engage team members and create incentives around lending and growing their teams, the current implementation unfortunately hasn't been used very much across teams. It also doesn't match the level of quality we have set for our site and isn't integrated well into the rest of the lending team experience. (Please note, we will keep old goals visible in a read-only format.)
 
If you’re interested in the ability for teams to set goals again the future, we’d love to hear from you in the comments below or by writing to contactus@kiva.org — what worked well with setting goals in the past? What other features do you feel would help your team work toward these milestones in the future?
 
Recent news items: The “Recent news items” on the Portfolio page (not to be confused with “Recent Updates for My Loans”) was originally meant to provide a snapshot of recent lender messages and lending team messages. In our research we’ve observed that very few people use this feature, instead preferring to check messages directly on team boards or in their email notifications. Given that this page is the first thing every lender sees when they sign into Kiva, we feel it’s especially important to streamline this page and remove sections that don’t add a lot of value.
 
In addition to these four, you may notice a few other smaller changes. Removing these features doesn’t mean there isn’t great potential or value behind these ideas, it’s just that they haven’t been implemented in a way that meets the level of quality and usability we hope for our site. At Kiva we will continue to innovate and try new things, learn what works best for our lenders and make changes accordingly. So if you have any thoughts or suggestions for what you’d like to see, or if there’s a way we can work to make the core lending experience on Kiva even better — don’t hesitate to let us know! We always love to hear from you. 
 
 

 

Comments

Great shame the map view isn't available any more. No one was forced to use this feature so I don't see how any one could complain about lacking the intelligent to use it. It's removal is just another reason why I wont be continuing to use Kiva beyond sept 2016 when my loan to India is repaid. This previous post says it all "I hate the list of countries. Please bring back the map or at least the option to look at the map rather than a list of names. The map was much more interesting to view and showed what countries I had already donated to. I miss it terribly."

You should maintain a way for lenders to select specific countries. They can do so once, and bookmark the page, Then, they can quickly and easily tell whether there is a loan available for the countries that they are looking for. A bookmarked searchl for Botswana and Namibia is an easy way to find those countries.

Oops! You meant that you've removed the map showing where I've already loaned. My bad.

Bring back the map please. Seeing what countries I have already is much easier than looking at a list and having to refer back. If you can't or wont bring back the map can you highlight the countries people already have when you go to the list?

Please bring back the map view!!

I liked the Recent News feature. When logging in I could soon see if there was messages posted on the team which I belong to. If you want to "slim" Kiva you can delete the My Teams button which is next to Settings on the Portfolio page. I already have it a bit further down where it shows which team I belong to. Also where I click on my name it says the same things which are already there: Portfolio, Settings, My Teams and Messages. You could delete those and just keep the Sign Out button. Sincerely, Maria

Adding my voice to the choir about the Recent News. For all the reasons others have already stated I would ask for this feature to be reinstated as soon as possible. I used it EVERY time I logged into Kiva, and find it inconvenient and labor-intensive to have to go to my teams' Messages pages individually to find out what's going on. I have no interest in email notifications. I also really liked "Team Goals". Although I agree there was room for improvement of the Team Goals functionality, I think the feature was a valuable one, and removing it entirely is a step backwards for Kiva. Fix it, don't take it away! The other feedback I'd like to offer here is a comment on Kiva's process of rolling out changes (which seems to be "we will talk amongst ourselves about the changes we think are needed, develop the changes and roll them out to our user community, and THEN - once changes are already made - explain our rationale and ask for feedback from our user community. How about giving us a chance to join a focus group that will "Beta Test" any proposed changes and provide feedback BEFORE those changes are rolled out to the general Kiva User Community? That way if proposed changes do not resonate with us, the people who actually use Kiva every day, there is time to fine-tune those changes - or go back to the drawing board and overhaul them - without any impact on the user community at large. Also, how about providing a mechanism where changes can be proposed by members of the Kiva community and voted on by us (similar to "My Starbucks Idea"), so that when the Kiva team is making decisions on what changes we are looking for you have true input from us on which to base those decisions. Just two ideas on improving the way you gather input from the Kiva Community.

Please bring back the map view. It was my most used "go to" tool on the Kiva site. It was very helpful and very useful even with all the bugs that were mentioned. I would like to see that map view reinstated as I find it much more helpful than the list.

I sorely miss the map view. it was so nice to see all the countries I've already lent to being highlighted and I loved using it, it's not the same for me without it. I also really miss the recent news, just one click straight to my team message board. I so hope those two features will come back and soon!

If some users were having difficulty with the map, why does this either/or mentality need to persist? You've crippled the experience for others. Think "and"! Leave the current list and bring back the map feature for those of us who like pictures instead of words. I've been more discouraged about trying to find new loans since I can't "see" what part of the world I'm lending to. This means my lending frequency has gone down.

Bring back the map selector. A list of names only abstracts the act of choosing an area of the planet to help. A visual experience is far more enjoyable and 'real'.

I've said it before and I'm going to keep saying it: Bring back the map! The list is awful! In fact, I might start loggging in every day for the sole purpose of re-posting this request.

I too really miss the Map View in the lending section. I used this with my elementary school students and they found it enormously helpful when trying to figure out where in the world a country was. The visual cues you get from a map are simply not possible in a List View. I realize there are Map Views in other areas of the site, however, it makes the process much easier to have it all in one stop as we explore the world to find new loans.

Yes. Bring back the map! I'd love how it highlighted countries I've already borrowed money to. And I'd really wanted to see all of "my countries" eventually coloured in green. As someone says, you can have both the map and the list (for those who do not like the map!) - or just fix problems with the map. It shouldn't be that difficult.

Still no map? I'm gonna have to wait on any further loans then. I hate to do it but I'm staging a mild protest to bring the map back.

I went to make a loan today and didn't see a map view. Bummer. Oh well. Maybe I'll try again next time I'm sent a loan repayment email. I know, how selfish and first world of me... :-/

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