Humanitarianresponse Logo


Humanitarian Kiosk

The H.Kiosk mobile application provides a range of up-to-the-minute humanitarian related information from emergencies around the world. The application has multiple independent kiosks which reflect locations where UN-OCHA operates or there is an ongoing international humanitarian emergency. Once installed, a user simply select the kiosks that they are interested in and these kiosks will be automatically downloaded and synchronized to their mobile device. Downloading the files enables offline abilities which is extremely important as we kn    ow that most responders do not have regular, consistent internet connection.  The settings of the application help you to control the maximum file sized downloaded, to control if data is downloaded over mobile and/or WiFi (default is WiFi), and to know how much data is utilized on on the device for storage. Other than the files downloaded for the H.Kiosk, the application does not access, use or store any personal information from the device.

Management Introduction

Although managing a kiosk as part of the H.Kiosk can be perceived as a relatively simple task, there are several aspects that each manager should understand and do in order to ensure the best experience possible for the end user.

An ideal file on the H.Kiosk is one that contains relevant and up-to-date information, is quickly accessible and easy to find, fits the screen of an iOS device appropriately, is reduced to the smallest possible file size without compromising image quality and readability, and has a filename that is descriptive yet concise. Following the guidelines and best practices on managing a H.Kiosk will ensure the best possible user experience.

Management Guidance

  1. Approval of Content
    Before adding any content to a kiosk, the OCHA office must determine what the most likely products are to be included, understand the regular clearance process, and define when and how the products be added to the kiosk.

    Document or content placed in the H.Kiosk must be information suitable for public consumption as anyone can download and install the H.Kiosk app from the iTunes store.  [Note that only OCHA staff will have access to control and update the content placed in the kiosks]. No materials should be placed in a kiosk before it has been approved through its regular, official channels.  Given the live and flexible nature of a kiosk (see #2), it is recommended that one or two focal points in the country office manage the content of the kiosk.  In most cases this may be the same person who manages the office website or is a central information focal point. HQ (CRD and CPD) will retain administrative access to every kiosk and will therefore have access to review and remove content if necessary.


  2. Access to Manage and Location of a Kiosk
    The H.Kiosk content is managed through Dropbox.  The Information Services Branch has central control from which it can create new H.Kiosk instances and assign management rights.
    It is recommended that an OCHA office uses a generic Dropbox account if possible to manage their Kiosk.  As a minimum, the generic account should be given access to the Kiosk so that future access can be guaranteed by the office.  For practicality purposes, the Kiosk folder access can be extended to personal Dropbox accounts to ease its management.


  3. Live Nature of H.Kiosk
    Being dynamically built from Dropbox content, a manager must be aware that when a change is made within your folder, that change will be visible on H.Kiosk application as soon as Dropbox synchronizes. Therefore, it is critical to ensure that you are ready to share your file and that you are doing so in accordance with the various sections below.


  4. Structure & Location
    The folders within Dropbox are displayed as section headings within a Kiosk and thus create a visual break between groups of documents in the kiosk. You have the flexibility to create, rename, and delete subfolders as you require. However we suggest that you stay as close as possible to the initially suggested structure. Be aware that many of the H.Kiosk users will not be familiar with how you or the humanitarian community generally categorizes information.

    Default Folder Structure:

    • Contacts
    • Events
    • Latest Figures
    • Number of Affected
    • Reports
    • Visuals
  5. Naming of files
    The H.Kiosk provides a very limited amount of space to display the name of any given file. Therefore, you need to be strategic about what comes first in the file name and rely on the folder/section headings to guide users.

    Optimized and/or Mini-products
    Although you can place your existing products directly into your kiosk, you should give strong consideration to reconceiving or repurpose existing products based on the dimensions of an iPad and iPhone.  By optimizing the products for the iPad/iPhone, you will improve the user’s experience of H.Kiosk.

    It is strongly recommended to create quick reference products which can be placed in the root of your Dropbox kiosk folder.  By doing so, these files will appear at the top of your kiosk giving everyone quick access to the most important numbers, status or information. Essentially, delivering the content that people need at their fingertips.  Full products can then be made available in various subfolder.

    The H.Kiosk can accept the following file types:

    1. Adobe Acrobat (.pdf)
    2. Audio (.m4a and .mp3)
    3. Images (.jpg and .png)
    4. Geographic (.kml): Only small and well designed KMLs seem to render correctly. Internet connection required.
    5. Microsoft Office Documents (.doc, .ppt, and .XLS)

​​These may not render well as we are using the standard iOS file viewer

Text files (.txt)
Web Pages

Offline (.htm and .html)Provide ability to have a long, running page with in-line CSS styling (only)
Online (.url)
Create a TXT file containing a URL inside on the first line. Save the file with the .TXT extension and then change the extension to “.url”
This process may seem strange, but is required to make it work properly

User requires Internet access
Video (.mp4, .avi, .mov and .mpg)

Dimensions of product

​Remember the screen size that you are delivering to - smartphones and tablets.  They have small screens so providing an A2 size map is not ideal. Either provide appropriate products or consider ‘re-sizing’ or ‘re-purposing’ existing products to fit more appropriately.

iPad: 7.75×5.82 in

iPad mini: 7.9 in diagonal

iPhone: 9 cm (3.5 in) diagonal

8. Size of content & Font Sizes

Optimizing files and reducing their size is very important for three reasons:

Availability of space for files on the user’s mobile device is limited,

File size affects synchronization speed,

Data transfer fees over the mobile network

It is recommended that you consider referencing OCHA’s style guide when creating your products.  However, it might be suggested that you consider using Arial 14 for normal text to ensure readability.

9. Application Settings

Within the application, the user can control several settings that you should be familiar with in order to better provide first-line support to the Humanitarian community in your country.

1. Users can control when and how the kiosks will synchronized

2. Max File Size allows the client to control the maximum file size that is downloaded during synchronization.

3. Parallel Downloads is the number of  downloads happening at one time. Lower numbers increase the time for synchronization by optimal for low or patchy bandwidth environments.

4. Users know exactly how much space is being used on their device and if they want kiosks deleted when they are ‘un-synchronized’ [leaving a kiosk will speed download if the user adds again in the future]

5. By default, the application submits error report to the developer when the app crashes. Such information helps to build a more stable app much quicker.