For most of my professional life, I’ve been doing user-centered design for complex software. Also, I follow Open Data a bit, so naturally, I’m wondering how to bring these two together.
When creating software, two things have proven to be economically reasonable: User research and hypothesis-based prototyping. In user research, we take elements from scientific research methods to reliably determine what the users need. With prototyping, we validate whether a feature helps the users, using a prototype that’s only as good as needed to test the hypothesis. Nothing full-fledged gets built unless we know it’s the right thing for the users. This helps, because:
- Developers are expensive, so if we don’t need to build a feature, we can save money.
- For products, knowing which value you provide to the user is required so that the product is viable from a business viewpoint.
With Open Data, there seem to be many prototypes around, but I’m wondering:
- Would a more user-centered approach make sense, or are things already as user-centered as they can be?
- What kind of user research is being done, eg. data publishers researching the needs of data consumers?
- If not, what seem to be the obstacles and who would have the necessary resources (budgets, among other things)?
Any inputs and opinions are appreciated.
Thank you! Best,