4 habits of highly effective open data portals -- GCN
"Fortunately, agencies can take a cue from the business world, which has increasingly adopted data analysis software and other business intelligence tools that allow everyone to be data analysts, rather than letting analysis remain the province of IT specialists. The timing couldn’t be better: just as the people (and legislation) are demanding the opening up of data, the technology is there to make it happen. Of course, technology can’t work wonders on its own. For those working with new data analysis software, here are four characteristics that can help make your agency’s data compelling and transparent, while saving time and budget dollars too. 1. Present the most relevant, recent data. Data mash-ups – bringing together data from more than one source – create a powerful presentation. Data analysis software that is agile and flexible lets you bring together diverse but relevant data. Look for tools that can automatically integrate and display new data in real-time, which will not only save time, but create a more relevant and useful portal. 2. Tell a compelling story. Don’t expect your data to speak for itself: Use the data to tell stories. Data analysis software not only allows you to analyze and visualize data, but it can help you find key metrics in the data that present the most compelling story. A word of warning: Just as a glut of data can be overwhelming, so can too many stories. Try to find the most essential theme, and then let it stand on its own, with supporting details that explain the who, what, where, when and why of the story. For example, dashboards for National Stimulus Spending allow for interactivity, letting people dive into regions, jobs, awards, and other specific details. 3. Make it accessible. An open data portal isn’t worth much if people can’t find it or have trouble using it. Make sure your portal is easy to find in search engines and on your website. Also, use data analysis software that works across all platforms. Citizens and government officials should be able to use the data portal on a desktop computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone. And there shouldn’t be any hiccups going from one device to another. Such adaptability has gone from being a happy bonus to an expected necessity. 4. Create viewing options. For data visualization, a one-way transmission of data won’t cut it. People want to be able to dive into the data, shifting views and perspectives according to their needs. Rather than a one-way street, your data portal should be a two-way street near an intersection with plenty of side streets and options to get on the bus or train. If an open data site doesn’t support interactivity, how open is it really? ..."