This release replaces plain text entry for locations on projects and stakeholders with searchable, mappable locations that answer the "Where are we driving impact?" question. Powered by Azure Maps, b.world users can search for and assign locations to projects and individual stakeholders, and add independent locations at the team level.
At its most basic, the implication of this enhanced location functionality is an aesthetically pleasing visual of all locations associated with a project and a team. Going deeper, this functionality enables visualizing the number and density of locations across the world by project and across projects on a team, which:
Could reveal opportunities for learning and/or collaboration between people within the same organization (and, down the line, people across organizations)
Paves the way for identifying patterns by location across projects
Can help your team identify gaps in program delivery by location
Moreover, users can download images of these maps or easily add them to b.world stories!
There’s no longer a need to imagine a platform where you can combine maps, photos, videos, narrative, and rich data to tell a compelling social impact story that moves people to action: b.world is the only social impact platform that offers all of this functionality at your fingertips, right now.
All of this new functionality gets us one to step closer to our vision of a collaborative social impact community that facilitates building capacity within and among social impact teams to enable an outcome-centric approach to project work. Please see below for details about all of our new functionality!
Up until now, project and stakeholder locations were just a text field on the Overview screen and Stakeholder Details screen, respectively. While it was obviously useful to have this detail captured for informational purposes, the text wasn't as useful as visuals; no insights could easily be extrapolated from this information given the lack of “smart” functionality associated with locations. Additionally, for projects with multiple associated locations, readability and organization of these locations started to become problematic, with a long string of comma-separated location names. Moreover, listing location names in a text string hindered adding full addresses for locations, as that would have taken up quite a bit of room in the Location form field.
With the enhanced location mapping functionality, finding and adding a location(s) in b.world is the same as searching for a location in your preferred online mapping platform; each location is associated with unique latitude and longitude coordinates that can be plotted on a map, and can be as detailed or broad as desired—a whole country, a city or town, or even a specific address. Locations can be added both to individual stakeholders and/or to the project itself, and all locations will appear in the Locations section on the Overview screen of a project, with different location types visually differentiated by iconography.
Using the filter functionality (on the right side of the map), users can hide or show any or all location types on the map. They can also toggle between two different map views—a grayscale street view and a satellite view; including other map types and/or the ability to layer in map data from other sources (e.g., population data) is a planned future enhancement. Once users have the desired filters, zoom level and map type selected, they can choose to download an image of their map and use as needed elsewhere.
Speaking of views and zoom levels, all locations are represented both on a map and in a tiled view. Locations in close proximity are clustered together on the map when zoomed out and separated when zoomed in, making it easy to look for patterns at a bird’s eye view (literally) or seek out details when zoomed in. On both the map and tile views, users can see all entities associated with that location for that project; for example, if there are three people and two organizations associated with a single location, that information will be listed for each location. And when on the tile view, users can easily break the association between a location and a selected stakeholder (or the project itself) without deleting the stakeholder.
Additionally, when adding a location, users can change its name to be different from the address; for example, if one of my stakeholders is Bill Reese, I can add his home address to his contact record, but can label the associated map pin (and tile) as “Bill Reese’s home” to simplify readability and findability for me and my teammates.
In addition to project-specific maps functionality, b.world also has a team-level map (and corresponding tile view) which automatically displays all locations that have been added to any stakeholders and projects within a b.world team. It is also possible to add locations at the team level which aren’t tied to specific stakeholders or projects. Adding locations at the team level makes them—and any locations which have already been added to stakeholders or projects—available to select and associate with any stakeholders or projects at any time.
Additionally, it’s possible to add locations to stakeholders at the team level; simply click on the Stakeholders section in the main navigation on the left-hand side of the screen, open an existing stakeholder record or create a new one, and click on the + Add Location button.
Currently, all team-level maps functionality is the same as that at the project level, save the Location Types filters and iconographic differentiation of location types on the team-level map view. These additions are planned enhancements in the near future.
Adding Maps to Stories
No b.world is complete without an enhancement to Stories functionality. Maps can be added to b.world stories so that users don’t just have to talk about where a project is taking place, but can also include a corresponding visual of all relevant locations. This capability brings stories to life in a new way. The same map type and zoom functionality exists here as it does for project- and team-level maps, enabling users to curate the appropriate view for the story they’re telling.
Bug Fixes and Minor UI Improvements
Global Stakeholders: Delete function now exists for stakeholders at the team level.
Global Stakeholders: A list of projects associated with each stakeholder has been re-added to stakeholder details at the team level.
Global Stories: Load time for content in the Available Content panel is faster.
Projects-Logframe: Subtle aesthetic and text placement enhancements make the Logframe more usable and readable.
Project-Stories: The yellow background for each answer section is less saturated to increase aesthetic appeal.
Project Elements: The Dimensions tab is now to the left of the Indicators tab, creating a more logical order of operations.
As always, please continue to share your feedback and let us know what you love or if anything is not functioning as expected in the platform. If you're new to b.world, check out a video overview of the platform and then sign up for a free 30-day trial here! Thank you for your ongoing involvement and insight as we strive to design and build the best b.world we can for you and your social impact colleagues around the world.