The Application Builder has several different settings that can make CommCare more accessible to users that have low levels of literacy or are illiterate. Below you will find a description of the main setting, "sense mode," as well as design and implementation advice.

Design Considerations

When designing and building an app for low-literate users, here are some techniques you can employ:


Question Types:

Distinguishing Forms and Cases:

Implementation Considerations

Low-literate users can often do an excellent job with their work- for example, many community health workers who are illiterate or have poor vision are excellent at providing counseling to their beneficiaries. CommCare can be a job aid for them as well, and not a huge source of stress or confusion.  While there will always be challenges, there are some issues you can consider during the implementation of a project that may help with this issue:

CommCare Sense ("Simple CommCare")

CommCare Sense Mode, when turned on, activates a number of settings that make CommCare more user-friendly to low-literate users. It causes different changes in the Java/J2ME/Nokia style phones and Android Smartphones, so these are described in detail below.

Note that it is always worth testing different configurations with your mobile users, to find out what works best for them.

CommCare Sense is activated by checking the box in General Settings on the Settings page of your application. When you change the setting, you must make a new build and deploy it to the phone in order for the changes to take effect.

CommCare Sense for Android Smartphones/ODK

The only significant change on Android devices is that Form Management is disabled- this means it no longer is possible to save incomplete forms or view submitted forms. Dimagi field staff have found that the ability so save partially completed forms caused confusion and resulted in work being lost. Here are screenshots showing how the different configurations look:

Normal:                                                                       Sense Mode:




CommCare Sense for Java Phones

Activating Sense mode causes the following changes in Java/J2ME/Nokia-style feature phones:

There are additional changes to settings you may want to consider: