The new Zidisha

Discussion in 'Announcements' started by Julia Kurnia, Oct 5, 2014.

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  1. Julia Kurnia

    Julia Kurnia Director, Zidisha Zidisha Staff

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    We’re incredibly excited to announce the launch of a new and improved Zidisha.org. I’d like to take this opportunity to share some of the history of the redesign project, and an overview of the new site.

    Why redesign Zidisha?

    The original Zidisha.org was developed on a shoestring budget. At the time I was in my early twenties, and we were all volunteers without enough funding to hire a web developer. In order to get Zidisha off the ground, I managed to save a couple thousand dollars from my day job to have a small contracting company in India build the first working version of our website.

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    The Zidisha homepage, 2011

    The original Zidisha.org was adequate for a small nonprofit with limited transaction volumes, but was not designed to support as large a community as we have become. With over 15,000 members and $2 million worth of loans, we were overdue for an upgrade. Zidisha’s acceptance into theY Combinator technology startup incubator program last winter gave us access to the expertise and funding we needed to make that upgrade happen.

    The redesign project

    Our new website project began four months ago, when our new web developer, Jonas, relocated to India to collaborate in person with two other programmers, Hardik and Bhargav. Hardik, Jonas and Bhargav rewrote the “back end,” or processing core of the website that handles the loan transactions and other functionality. At the same time, I studied web design and learned “front end” programming so that I could upgrade the website’s aesthetic appearance.

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    The website rewrite project team (from left to right): Hardik, Jonas and Bhargav

    Our new website code follows the most recent programming best practices, including a Laravel framework that is designed to handle high-volume activity, and incorporates automated tests and other tools to improve accuracy and flexibility.

    The new site incorporates some new functionality, and retires some older features that no longer add the value they once did. Here is an overview of what has changed:

    New features

    • The new website is “responsive,” and automatically adapts to facilitate use on mobile phones and tablet devices.
    • Lenders can now change their display names, and incorporate multiple words in their display names to enable use of real names if desired.
    • Lenders can now sign in with Google and Facebook, instead of creating separate accounts.
    • The borrower version of Zidisha.org that displays in the countries where we offer loans now uses localized information and currencies, and is designed to load rapidly with low-bandwidth connections.
    Features pending incorporation

    • Purchasing gift cards
    • Sorting tables in the “Your Loans” page of lender accounts
    • Ranking of lending groups by impact
    Retired features

    • The new site does not display lender karma scores, pending development of a more accurate way of honoring lender contributions to the community.
    • We no longer support editing loan bids, because the feature has not been used frequently and requires substantial programming resources to support.
    • The “Lend” page no longer displays tabs to view all active and expired loans, because their number has grown too large for easy browsing, and because we would like to keep the loan sorting interface as simple as possible for prospective lenders.
    • To better protect our members’ privacy, we are no longer displaying borrower Facebook accounts or amounts bid by lenders in the public loan profile pages.
    A word about the design

    Our new website uses a minimalist design and color scheme, in order to keep the focus on the entrepreneurs, lenders and their stories. The original Zidisha blue is preserved in the buttons and links, while the color-free logo reflects our simple vision of a geography-neutral world, where deserving people can access the opportunities they need to achieve their goals regardless of their nationality and location.

    A special thanks to Esther Wanjiru, who graciously allowed us to use her profile image in our new homepage. A self-described “teacher with a knack for business,” Esther operates a small grocery shop in in Mombasa, Kenya. Her store employs two assistants, and the revenues are supporting the education of Esther’s two children. Upon repaying her first, loan, Esther wrote:

    I have found the Zidisha loan to be very affordable and I believe I have finally found a good place to get the much needed credit for my fledging business. I used the loan to purchase some empty gas cylinders [to sell environmentally friendly cooking fuel] and the results were amazing. I was able to satisfy my clients’ needs and my profitability improved drastically… I am so much inspired by the loan and it is already changing the outlook of my business. Thanks a lot, Zidisha community.

    Thanks to our new website, we are better equipped than ever to connect lenders to many more entrepreneurs like Esther. The returns – in life trajectories transformed, improved well-being and better opportunities for the next generation – are immeasurable.
     
  2. sputnik

    sputnik Forum Member

    Since you will be working on the "Your Loans" page, would it be possible to have three separate tabs for "Fundraising loans", "Active loans" and "Completed loans", and instead of several pages within each category to have all loans listed on one page, as is the case with the "Following" page? As it is now, looking for an individual loan is very cumbersome if you have many, especially since there is no search function (that would be very nice to have). I sometimes only remember people by their photographs and will then have to click through all (right now) 11 pages.
     
    KirstenShute and Mike like this.
  3. Julia Kurnia

    Julia Kurnia Director, Zidisha Zidisha Staff

    Hi sputnik,

    I can see how that is cumbersome, and we aim to introduce sorting and likely functionality in the "Your Loans" page soon. We'll also improve the efficiency of the calculations, so that we can display more results per page.

    Thanks,

    Julia
     
    KirstenShute and sputnik like this.
  4. Michael Gakure

    Michael Gakure Forum Member

    Hello everyone, the new design is simply awesome.


    However, before the website was redesigned, my repayment rate stood at 100%. After the redesign it dropped to 78%. I have never missed a payment neither have I made a late payment as evidenced on my repayment schedule.


    As a matter of fact, the only time I couldn't make a payment I rescheduled the loan effectively keeping my repayment rate at 100%. When you look at my repayment schedule and look at the repayment rate, there is a sharp contrast. While schedule clearly indicates that I have always paid before the due date, the repayment rate indicates that I have a repayment rate of 78.9 %., and my account is not in arrears


    This is defect is affecting my current credit limit which should not be the case. I would be happy if this is corrected to reflect the true position of my account. I remain committed to paying every coin I owe Zidisha on time as I have always done.



    https://www.zidisha.org/loan/8969 - That’s the link to my account
     
  5. Tobias Lengo

    Tobias Lengo Forum Member

    The new design is awesome and easy to navigate. However, the issue I have with the new design is the loan editing option that is quite confusing, while the option gives one to reschedule the loan based on the monthly payment it ends up as a weekly payment. This will be quite confusing for the VMs and the borrowers, as it will be heard to advise on rescheduling of a loan when it is inevitable. Please can you work or adapt on this feature. Best Regards
     
  6. Peter Karanja

    Peter Karanja Forum Member

    Hello,

    I am a new applicant at zidisha and my account is pending review. Before the new design I could log in my account any time and check the status of my application.

    However, after the new design, I can't log in my account anymore. (mind you I am using my e-mail and my password) I even tried to change the password but got a message saying "We can't find a user with that email address"

    I had raised the issue with the zidisha team via support e-mail and Jonas told me to log-in using my email and password which I have been doing all along with the old design.

    Kindly advice

    I can still log in to the zidisha forum using my passwords with the new design. Apart from that I remain hopeful and optimistic that I will join this life changing organization.

    My email address is [hidden for privacy]


    Peter Karanja
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 6, 2014
  7. yvonnemickey

    yvonnemickey Forum Member



    Hi Peter,
    Use your email address that you have in your profile/loan profile eg
    [hidden for privacy] then put your zidisha password. The password that you used to login with.
    Regards,
    Yvonne
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 8, 2014
  8. KirstenShute

    KirstenShute Gold Member

    Overall, excellent changes. I like being able to see my available lending credit in the corner and being able to log in from a borrower's page, instead of being rerouted to the main page.

    There's one problem with the translation function - once a loan profile has been translated, it seems it isn't possible to edit it - e.g. https://www.zidisha.org/loan/10211. Though the top two parts are in English, probably translated from the previous loan, the borrower wrote a new "Loan Proposal" section and it's still in French. If someone could investigate this that would be great. Thank you!

    And thanks to all the staff for their great work!
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2014
  9. Julia Kurnia

    Julia Kurnia Director, Zidisha Zidisha Staff

    Dear Mr. Gakure,

    Thanks for taking the time to double-check your account. I see that there were two payments missed prior to the reschedule; it seems that is why the repayment rate is not 100%.
     
  10. Julia Kurnia

    Julia Kurnia Director, Zidisha Zidisha Staff

    Hi Mr. Lengo, thanks for letting us know. I am not finding the monthly rescheduling wording - could you kindly post a screen shot copy of that page?
     
  11. Julia Kurnia

    Julia Kurnia Director, Zidisha Zidisha Staff

    Dear Mr. Karanja,

    I'm so sorry you are not able to log in. I've confirmed your email address is correct, but the "forgot password" page is not recognizing it. We'll repair that as soon as possible, and let you know.
     
  12. Julia Kurnia

    Julia Kurnia Director, Zidisha Zidisha Staff

    Hi Kirsten,

    It seems the "Edit translation" link had been restricted to staff accounts; I've edited that so that all logged in lenders can view it, and we should take that change live today or tomorrow.

    Thanks,

    Julia
     
    KirstenShute likes this.
  13. Halima Salim

    Halima Salim Forum Member

    Hi Zidisha Group/Lenders
    I have been paying my loan on time nicely and it was saying i am 100% on time.
    But since zidisha changed to new system, i have lost my 100% on time. Why this happened? It is now saying my paying rate is 69%
    This is not right please confirm.
    https://www.zidisha.org/loan/10183
     
  14. questionmark

    questionmark Forum Member

    Hello @Julia Kurnia and team,

    congratulations for launching the new website!
    I'm a bit confused of some of the changes implemented and I'm not sure if they are a bug (or work-in-progress) or they are wanted, and if so why?

    (a) the VM status does not appear anymore on the borrower profile. That is a pity for both borrowers who are VMs and don't get the aknowledgment and for lenders who (like me) don't know all VMs by name and would like to support them.
    (b) expired loans are now called and also listed as 'other loans' (together with repaid loans) on the borrowers' profile. I'm not really sure lenders need that information and it is quite confusing and a lot of more 'work' to go through them all to see/find the past and repaid loans. At least for me as lender that is the relevant information: what loans did they get, for what, and how did they repay
    (c) the list of loans supported disappeared from the lenders (public) profile pages. In the 'old' Zidisha lenders could decide whether to make that information public or not. So there was no breach of privacy. Personally I learned a lot browsing through the lenders' profile pages and seeing what type of loans where supported, the different strategies and how they worked out.
    (d) This disappearance is particularly troublesome since the source data behind the statistics page appears to be gone, too. At least I cannot find it anymore on the statistic page
    (e) on the (private) lender page both the amount repaid as well as the amount outstanding is zero, both in total as well as for all individual loans. So I have to open every single loan to see what they have repaid
    (f) on the (private) lender page the % repaid is also gone
    (g) on the (private) lender page loans that are still Pending disbursement are listed and marked as Repaying on Time [on a side note: if somebody could please pretty please look what is the problem with this loan, I and the borrower would be extremely greatful. He is waiting for 'his' money to be disimbursed since over 3 weeks. I already wrote 2 emails to service@zidisha.org but got no response: https://www.zidisha.org/loan/9754]
    (h) the repayment schedule changes part of the borrowers' profile (last section of the borrower's profile page on the 'old' zidisha) has disapppeared. What does it mean: borrowers don't have to explain anymore why they have to reschedule or will it be listed under discussion? I definitively think that borrowers have to at least explain to their lenders why they reschedule and going through many post to find out the reason does not appear a very reader-friendly solution.
    (i) in the forum some of the links (e.g. to borrowers' profiles) don't work any more [instead: oops we couldn't find that page anywhere]

    Also unclear to me whether with this update/upgrade
    (l) zidisha will be more automatized - e.g. repayments will be credited automatically and not by hand by volunteers, VMs who loose their status will be no longer listed on their mentees pages (and their mentees reassigned)
    (m) partial funding will be prohibited (i.e. loan amount changes before disbursement)
    (n) the rescheduling option after disbursement will be limited (there are lot of constructive suggestions in many threads in the forum)
    (o) the borrowers' profile will give the information of how many and who the borrower has invited (like the old VM status link)
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2014
    sputnik and aeroplane like this.
  15. aeroplane

    aeroplane Forum Member

  16. Tobias Lengo

    Tobias Lengo Forum Member

    Change Installment Amounts
    This page allows you to increase or decrease your loan repayment installment amounts. If you choose to decrease your installment amounts, you will be asked to pay interest for the additional time the loan will be held, at the same annual interest rate as is applied to your current loan repayment schedule. If you increase your installment amounts, the interest you will be asked to pay will be reduced.


    New Installment Amount Please enter the new amount you wish to pay each month. As the loan must be fully repaid within 60 months, the minimum monthly installment is 1601.00.
     
  17. Tobias Lengo

    Tobias Lengo Forum Member

    The rescheduling option is not working properly, it should have limited the amount to be paid weekly, what it indicate as is suppose to be paid monthly is in real sense on weekly basis, @Julia Kurnia and your team can you test this and advise further. Thanks
     
  18. questionmark

    questionmark Forum Member

    maybe I should tag @jonas to have clarification as to what points on my list are a bug (or work-in-progress) and what points are wanted changes?

    A new addition to my list, is that

    (p) apparently also on the new Zidisha it is still possible for a VM to be his/her own VM... (see for example this VM: https://www.zidisha.org/loan/6598)
    Is it really that difficult to implement an automated check that borrowers cannot choose themselves as VMs?

    and

    (q) reschedule up to 60 months; i.e. 5 years ????!!!! No limits? No relation to the original schedule and/or loan amount?
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2014
    John Macharia, sputnik and aeroplane like this.
  19. Bedann Waweru

    Bedann Waweru Forum Member

    Hello everyone

    I completed my loan on 4th October 2014 and the amount has even reflected on my account but I have realized I can't apply for a new loan.

    What could be the problem. My loan repayment has always been 100%

    Also I have noticed that I "my previous loan" tab says I have had 4 loans of $ 50 which is not the case. I had $50 and $171.01. Before the maintenance, my credit limit was in the regions of Kes 48,000 but it has now reduced to Kes 33,498.00 and this is my 3rd loan.

    Kindly assist me to sort the above issues.

    Keep up the good work and be Blessed

    Bedan Waweru

    .....and oh the link to my account is https://www.zidisha.org/loan/7904
     
  20. Carolyne Mwangi

    Carolyne Mwangi Forum Member

    Hello @ Julia Kurnia and the entire Zidisha Team

    I am new to zidisha and would be happy if you guided me on the following:

    I am trying to submit my final application and keep getting the "Facebook error" despite having "verified with Facebook" at the initial application step.

    Kindly assist

    Carolyne Mwangi
     
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