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: visualize.admin.ch. 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.