Everything in Context: Open Data Content Strategy

Everything in Context: Open Data Content Strategy

Open data can inform design and policy decisions, improve government services, and help save people’s lives. In this session, Nicole will talk about what it’s like to be a content interloper in the data world, and how to make data make sense to the public. She’ll share methods her team uses to put numbers in context, along with insights from her recent work with FBI crime data.

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Nicole Fenton

May 09, 2017
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Transcript

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    18F is a civic consultancy for the government, inside the

    government, working with agencies to rapidly deploy tools and services that are easy to use, cost efficient, and reusable.
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    Public Accessible Described Reusable Complete Timely Managed U.S. Open Data

    Principles “Open data are described fully so that consumers of the data have sufficient information to understand their strengths, weaknesses, analytical limitations, security requirements, as well as how to process them. This involves the use of robust, granular metadata (i.e., fields or elements that describe data), thorough documentation of data elements, data dictionaries, and, if applicable, additional descriptions of the purpose of the collection, the population of interest, the characteristics of the sample, and the method of data collection.”
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    “Each data set on the single web portal shall include

    a plain language data dictionary... Such data dictionary shall provide a description for each column heading used within the data set and shall include a description of any acronym, technical term, unit of measure, range of possible values, relationship between or among columns within the data set, frequency of updates to the data set, and other information or description that can provide context to the data, such as the method of collection, a history of modifications to the data set format, data or methods of collection, or any other contextual information that the agency providing the data deems relevant or the technical standards manual requires.” NYC Open Data Law
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    In 1930, the FBI was tasked with collecting*, publishing, and

    archiving the nation’s crime data. *Participation is voluntary. Title 28 U.S. Code § 534
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    “We need more transparency and accountability in law enforcement. We

    also need better, more informed conversations about crime and policing in this country. To get there, we are improving the way this nation collects, analyzes, and uses crime statistics and data about law enforcement’s use of force.”—DIRECTOR COMEY
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    SEPT Project kickoff Project plan OCT Preliminary findings DEC MVP

    definition Kickoff Research Prototyping 1 2 3 4 5 6 JUN Public pilot
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    Interviews Content audit Comparative analysis Strategic writing exercises Wireframes Navigation

    testing Content mapping Content development for MVP Content workshop Content testing Editing and ongoing refinements Content design activities
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    “Explaining what people are looking at is important. You need

    to provide sufficient context, without telling people how they should interpret the data.”
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    “It would be helpful to [have] supporting definitions behind this

    content so we can make sure we understand the characteristics and limitations of the data.”
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    “A lot of times I’ll just start playing with the

    data and if I have questions, I’ll come back to the terms and definitions to fill in the gaps.”
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    Show me the way and let me explore Put everything

    in context Make it relevant to me Let me participate Design principles
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    Plain language Keep it conversational Instead of: Use: persons people

    the data are the data is; the datasets are and/or or ethnic origin ethnicity LEAs law enforcement agencies utilize use
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    Context in plain view A sentence for every chart Plain

    language definitions Helpful documentation Clear path to ask questions User needs
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    Plain language Dynamic page elements People-friendly robotext Glossary Links to

    federal and state-level resources Interactive API documentation Key features
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    Plain language Dynamic page elements People-friendly robotext Glossary Links to

    federal and state-level resources Interactive API documentation Key features
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    “NOTE: The relationship categories of husband and wife include both

    common-law and ex-spouses. The categories of mother, father, sister, brother, son, and daughter include stepparents, stepchildren, and stepsiblings. The category of acquaintance includes homosexual relationships and the composite category of other known to victim.”
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    Plain language Dynamic page elements People-friendly robotext Glossary Links to

    federal and state-level resources Interactive API documentation Key features
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    Plain language Dynamic page elements People-friendly robotext Glossary Links to

    federal and state-level resources Interactive API documentation Key features
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    Plain language Dynamic page elements People-friendly robotext Glossary Links to

    federal and state-level resources Interactive API documentation Key features
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    Remember your strengths Assume there’s a wealth of history Get

    in the mud Show what’s possible Test your assumptions TL;DR