Somo Surveys

UI/UX, Front-End Development

From Hack-a-thon to Reality...

Somo Surveys is a SMS survey application built for a nonprofit called The Somo Project. It started off as a hack-a-thon project for Big Hack, but grew into a fully-fledged project after discussing the value of it with the nonprofit leaders. The application enables you to create surveys online (like Google Forms) and send them in the form of SMS text messages.

The Somo Project

The Somo Project is a nonprofit that provides MBA boot camps and long-term investments to social entrepreneurs in urban slums. They wanted a better way to mass communicate with their entrepreneurs, as well as a way for the social entrepreneurs themselves to gather feedback from clients/customers. However, due to the nature of these areas, not many people have access to high-speed internet.

To our surprise, there is a high volume of mobile phone users in these areas. We're not talking iPhone 7s; these are basic and affordable feature phones that are limited to calling and SMS text messaging. That's why Somo Surveys converts surveys created online to SMS-based surveys, as displayed below:

This lets The Somo Project send out surveys that will gather important data on how to improve their MBA bootcamps, as well as enables social entrepreneurs to collect information from customers and partners.

But Why Not Google Forms?

I was largely inspired by the Google Forms UI, and it shows through the design of the Somo Surveys interface. As a result, you might be wondering what makes Somo Surveys any different than Google Forms. Our nonprofit expressed the need for a conditional question feature. That is, survey questions that conditionally appear based on a respondent's answer:

Google Forms currently does not have this capability, which attributed so much value to our project. While it has yet to be shipped, all of the core functionalities of the application have been completed.

Below is an initial sketch of what the "Create Survey" and "Edit Survey" views would look like.

To present our problem statement and solution to the hack-a-thon judges, I illustrated some slides explaining our thought process. I used my tablet to sketch the slides in Illustrator.


1. Listen to your client's needs.
2. Never underestimate a hack-a-thon!