CommCare Fundamentals - Web and Mobile Workers

Web and Mobile Workers: Learning Objectives

In this unit, you will learn about the two main types of CommCare users and the tasks that can be accomplished by each user type. As you go through this unit, start to think about what tasks you need to accomplish using CommCare and which kind of user you will be. 

At the end of this unit, you should be able to:

      • Name the two types of CommCare users

      • Describe the tasks that can be accomplished by CommCare HQ/Web Users

      • Explain the different ways Mobile Workers can access mobile applications and submit data

CommCare User Types

In CommCare, there are two types of users: mobile workers and web users. Generally, each user type interacts with CommCare differently and, therefore, has different permissions. 

Mobile Workers: Primarily use CommCare Mobile to complete their work, which involves collecting data and following up with clients. Mobile workers have accounts which allow them to access a CommCare application on their mobile phone or tablet. (or, for using Web Apps). These users are also sometimes referred to as Mobile Users, and the two terms may sometimes be used interchangeably.

Web Users: Primarily use CommCare HQ to complete their work. Web users have accounts which allow them to access the CommCareHQ website, where they can build and change applications, manage users and settings, and view data. These users are also known as CommCare HQ users.

A Community Health Worker (CHW) is using a mobile phone to complete a registration form. She then submits the form via CommCare and the data submitted by the CHW can be viewed on CommCare HQ when a supervisor logs in.  In this example, who is the mobile worker?


What Web Users Can Do

As mentioned, CommCare web users have access to the CommCare HQ website. Users login to CommCare HQ using the email address and password that they entered during registration. Upon entering the website, a web user can select the project that they need work on. Web users, unlike mobile workers, can belong to more than one project.

In a given project, you may have a number of people with access to CommCare HQ. Depending on their permissions, these web users may:



      • Create, modify, download, and deploy CommCare applications

      • Create, manage, and delete mobile user accounts

      • View and export data submitted by mobile workers

      • Send text messages to mobile workers

      • Manage workspace settings

If you're interested in exploring the capabilities available to web users but haven't created your CommCare HQ account, now would be a great time! It's free and easy to sign up. Just click on the button that says Start Free Trial. Then, have fun exploring!

Web users can do a lot...except One thing 

While web users have a range of tasks that they are able to complete through CommCare HQ, there is one thing they cannot do: submit data. For this, they need a mobile worker account (in addition to their web user account) or an advanced CommCare tool. 


CommCare Mobile Workers

While web users do really important work for their CommCare projects through CommCare HQ, CommCare mobile workers equally complete important tasks through CommCare Mobile.

Through a CommCare Mobile Worker account, a mobile worker can access CommCare Mobile, which allows them to access a CommCare application on their phone. Mobile workers then use the application to collect and submit data, follow up with clients, or otherwise use CommCare as part of their work. When a mobile worker wants to open a CommCare application on their mobile device, two options are available for viewing it:




        • Standard Mode - this allows the mobile worker to login with their username and password; once logged in, the worker can enter and submit data

        • Demo Mode - also known as a demo user; allows the mobile worker to practice using the application without submitting real data (ideal for training purposes)

Like web users, mobile workers must belong to a project in order to use an application on their phone. However, mobile workers can only belong to one project

A Quick Note on Form Submissions

In Unit 4: Data in CommCare, we discussed worker activity data. This is data about how and when a mobile worker submits a form. When a mobile worker submits a form via CommCare, the form will have their username on it. This allows the web user to view, within CommCare HQ, which mobile worker sent the data. The web user can see this information in one of the worker activity reports.

Hybrid Configuration for Mobile Worker Accounts

Some projects may have a requirement where mobile workers are required to access some reports on CommCare HQ (or perform some other reporting function on CommCare HQ), in addition to submitting data on CommCare Mobile. In such a scenario, it is possible for mobile worker accounts to be configured in a way where they will be able to access the required functions / reports on CommCare HQ, via the use of Roles and Permissions. More information on how to do this can be viewed on the Roles and Permissions help page.

The exceptions and conditions noted above still stand for such workers:

  1. The mobile workers can only belong to one project



Now it is time to learn a bit about one of the key concepts of CommCare: Case Management.

Go to the next section.