A look at the ideas and projects we're working on as we strive to grow and improve ReliefWeb.

Introducing ReliefWeb Mobile

By Shuichi Odaka
Tags: mobile, API, labs

Suppose you are at a bus stop and have two minutes of idle time. You pull out your phone, go to ReliefWeb and find out what's happening in the humanitarian world (OK, maybe after you've checked your timeline on Facebook or Twitter). This scenario - two minutes at a bus stop - is what we had in mind when building ReliefWeb Mobile.

ReliefWeb Mobile

As noted on ReliefWeb Labs, we've been working quietly on a version of ReliefWeb (https://reliefweb.int) for mobile phones. We want it to give you an at-a-glance view of the humanitarian world, be simple to use, and run fast over mobile connections, but without compromising your ability to reach into the depths of ReliefWeb's rich content.

We've been running the mobile site with a small group of testers and we think it's ready to be rolled out to a wider audience. To get started, go right over to m.rwlabs.org.

It's pretty straightforward, but here are some highlights:

  • When you go to ReliefWeb Mobile, you'll see featured countries/disasters and the main headlines.

  • Tapping on "Menu" lets you navigate to Updates, Countries, Disasters, Jobs and Training.

  • Search is restricted to the type of content you are seeing - for example, when you are on the Home or Updates page, search results will be just Updates. To search for Jobs, go to the Jobs page.

  • On tablets, ReliefWeb Mobile will work fine, but you'll probably find that the full ReliefWeb site works just as well. We recommend the full site for tablets.

  • You can open PDF attachments, but if you prefer to read on a bigger screen, you can use your phone's browser to bookmark, share or open in another app. Here's what it looks on my phone:

What's more, ReliefWeb Mobile is the first application to be built on top of the APIs we mentioned in ReliefWeb Labs. First we are "eating our own dogfood" to make sure that it works well, then we will start building the external interface so that other applications would be able to access our content. We should have more news on this in a couple of months.

We are aware that there still are some rough edges, particularly since we are rolling out a brand new search engine. We'd like you to start using it and tell us what you think, either on our feedback forum or at labs@reliefweb.int.