[wdmmg-discuss] some end-user thoughts on WDMMG
mark at odaesa.com
Tue Aug 24 16:44:44 BST 2010
I am Mark MacGillivray, and I am currently doing some work with Rufus at the
OKF. He has asked if I could have a look at Where Does My Money Go from the
perspective of an end user new to it, and to provide some comments.
Listed below are my initial reactions, and some theories for solutions. Some
of these coincide with the project details already laid out, so I will go on
to describe how I view the user stories and personas as fitting with what I
I know that there has been a lot of hard work put in to this already, and it
really does look great and is a very good use of data. So please do not take
my comments as being dismissive of the hard work already done - I appreciate
I am a newcomer to this and it would be easy for me to suggest changes to
what is there now that do not take full account of the complexities of the
ongoing project. However, I think it is always worth considering these
initial reactions and discussing their impact on the project - even if it is
just to confirm that everything is in fact going well!
Looks easy to use.
Like the colours and the style.
1. I am the end user. Am I a journalist, or am I joe public?
2. where does my money go? is this a blog, or is this going to tell me where
my money is? What is the first thing I want to do on this site?
3. do i care about the underlying data store, or about getting involved? Do
i care about the politics of open data?
4. which of these pretty pictures do I actually want to be looking at?
A journalist may indeed want to link back to the visualisations, include
them in articles etc. joe public does not. sure, some of the public will do
so, but they are probably doing so in some sort of "amateur journalism"
fashion, e.g. on their blog. so this is still 2 different use cases.
the blog, getting involved, data store, API etc is definitely all very
useful and needs to be there, but only applies to the journalist use case.
for joe public, the front page may need to be more obviously one particular
useful visualisation, which can then act as the door into all the other
I imagine the start of the site as being the beginning of a path, down which
a user will learn of where his money is going, discover that he can see the
changes that certain policies could have, get further details on those
policies, learn about where all this data comes from, realize that it is
super useful, become enlightened, and join the cause for open data. Of
course, this is idealised, but you get the point. The journalist user will
already have some of the understanding and skills to jump right in further
along the path, and will probably come with their own pre-conceptions about
open data and so on. They can then become a useful participant in the
debate, either for or against.
So, what is the flagship visualisation? and how do we make it really
obviously the thing to do when someone hits the front page? From a project
management perspective - has this thing been developed yet; there may be
something that sounds like it, but is not quite there yet - what do we need
to do to get it there? How soon can we get it there? Once we have it, we
should have effectively completed a use case, and should have something to
push out to people. This makes an ideal deliverable for the project. (I know
some of this will have been covered already by your reaching the phase 1
If phase 1 has resulted in a product being available that solves a use case,
what is the plan to move forward with that? For example, should we be
looking for contacts who may want to make use of this? If not, what is to be
completed before publicity increases?
Comparison with project plans:
( from http://wiki.okfn.org/p/Where_Does_My_Money_Go/ )
So, the use cases I imagined are quite clearly defined in the project plans,
and to a more granular level, which is great. These personas/stories appear
to be leading the development well, and the positive outcomes are there to
see in the work that has been completed so far. However, my initial reaction
to the site suggests that the layout does not target the personas/stories
described - the functionality is all there, but it is ALL THERE.
At one point in the project wiki, the dashboard is described as the key
feature; this seems sensible. But on the front page right now, the "how will
the budget impact the deficit?" gives me more instant data and gratification
than the "launch dashboard" button. If the dashboard is key, and is the main
visible outcome of phase 1, then it would be great if the front page was
dedicated to it. then I know "why am I here? - to use this dashboard". Then,
from getting to know the dashboard I become more interested in the other
Various types of user may then want to get involved, comment on blog etc,
but having the posts on the front page feels a bit distracting. Also, if the
main focus is on a bit of kit that is already working and available, it will
feel more like there is a finished product there ready for use.
I hope that these comments help the project develop further,
mark at odaesa.com
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