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Visualizing Swiss Open Government Data

Benjamin Wiederkehr, Interactive Things
June 28, 2021

Open Government Data has the power to transform how governments engage citizens. But looking at today’s open data platforms, we have to ask the question of how accessible, usable, and shareable open data for the majority of people truly is?

Turning a downloaded spreadsheet into an insightful visualization requires design expertise. Querying data via an API requires programming knowledge. Sending the link to a data source puts the burden to make sense of it onto the recipient. Users expect from open data to discover facts and tell stories, not to wade through spreadsheets in search of answers. Organizations aspire to provide open data to improve transparency and increase engagement, not to fill a complicated file cabinet with it. Future platforms must lower the barrier to access and bridge the gap to use open data for everyone.

This presentation shares our learnings from building such a platform: Commissioned and co-created by offices of the Swiss Federal Administration, we envision a new way to better serve citizens through linked open data: a self-service interface that empowers users to visualize open data based on smart defaults and design best practices. Furthermore, the service empowers the user to boost the reach of open data with options to share and embed these visualizations with proper attribution and reliable reproducibility. The audience learned all about the underlying design principles, the impact of participatory development methods, and the benefits of user-centric open data services.

Problem: What makes working with data so difficult?

  • Organizations maintain a variety of scattered data sources often locked in information silos.
  • Standard analytics software products might be powerful but are complicated to use for non-technical users.
  • Results from existing products are un-designed, un-responsive, and un-customizable.
  • Results from existing products can’t be easily shared in their interactive and dynamic form.

Solution: How does solve these problems?

  • Access with confidence: Give users secure and regulated access to your data through our unified interface to search and browse the most up-to-date data sets independent of their original information silo.
  • Visualize for efficacy: Empower users to visualize your data with compelling charts and maps in our intuitive visualization editor that comes with smart defaults and design best practices built-in.
  • Share for impact: Boost the reach and engagement of your data with our flexible options to share and embed the visualizations with proper data source attribution and reliable reproducibility.