[ckan-discuss] Article about DGU

Laura James laura.james at okfn.org
Thu Aug 2 12:13:39 BST 2012

Real user experience work can be incredibly valuable. That might be
user-centric design (UCD) of new features, or user testing to help
refine existing ones (and find functionality gaps!)

It's definitely possible to do this work on a limited budget, but it's
important to follow some basic principles to ensure you get good
results. Having a specialist who has done UX work before can be really
helpful though.

(In a previous role, I was part of a project exploring UCD in higher
education, and we blogged all that we learnt, including writing
handbooks to help others: http://academic-networking.blogspot.co.uk/
Other references exist :)  )



Dr Laura James
Foundation Coordinator, Open Knowledge Foundation


On 2 August 2012 11:39, Sean Hammond <sean.hammond at okfn.org> wrote:
>> Here is a really interesting article about data.gov.uk and the value
>> of the data it contains:
>> http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-19065913
>> "The government estimates four out of five people who visit its
>> data.gov.uk website do so without accessing any links to data."
>> This is of course caused by several factors, but I wonder what can be
>> improved on the CKAN front (UI, UX, visualizations, etc.)
> Hmm. I think CKAN has a lot of these kind of features already, but
> probably a lot of work can be done to emphasise them more, let people
> know that they exist, present them better, make them easier to use. So I
> think the main thing that CKAN can do is probably to improve its user
> experience.
> Seems to me that some of the important things for someone interested in
> data on something like data.gov.uk (rather than someone who is using
> CKAN to publish data) are:
> - Finding interesting data: good categorising, tagging, searching, clear
>   UI presentation, being able to find related datasets and other
>   interesting stuff once you've found one dataset that you're interested
>   in, of course getting interesting and high quality data published
>   first is a prerequisite
> - Being able to link to datasets and resources, and specific revisions,
>   visualisations, etc. thereof
> - Being a able to keep track of data as it changes over time, see a
>   changelog with diffs, get notifications from activity streams
> - Some way to give feedback by commenting on data, flagging up issues,
>   etc.
> Of course CKAN's user interface and presentation are going to improve a
> lot once the work on the new templates comes out.
> I think it'd be really cool to do some proper UX testing of CKAN. I've
> seen recently that Ubuntu report on lots of UX tests that they do of new
> Ubuntu features. They get in a small number of users with varying levels
> of experience with computers and with Ubuntu, give them tasks to
> complete with Ubuntu, and watch how they do. This seems like a really
> good thing to do and seems to have worked well for them. I've done this
> sort of thing to test apps that I've developed in the past, it's amazing
> the things you can learn that you never would have thought of, but that
> seem the most basic and obvious thing in the world as soon as you see
> them.
> I don't think this necessarily needs to be expensive to do either, all
> you need is a few willing volunteers, a room with some computers, and a
> plan. I don't think you need to be a user experience or testing expert
> to be able to pull this off and learn a lot from it. But it does take
> time, especially to pursue the results that you get and follow through
> by changing and then re-testing the UI.
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