FOSDEM 2020: Setting an example: Open Data UX for developers

Tricoteuses was kindly invited to submit a talk to the OpenSourceDesign devroom at FOSDEM. It is unclear who intends to go but the deadline is approaching fast and the following talk proposal was submitted today. There will be time to amend afterwards.

Event title

Setting an example: Open Data UX for Developers


Open Data is surprisingly difficult to use for developers. One would expect it is distributed like software: with versions, documentation and release notes. But the reality is very different, as suggested by interviews of developers working with data sets, open or not. More often than not, developers are left guessing the meaning of the data they retrieved because there is no documentation. Backward compatibility is almost unheard of and release notes are rare. The problem it causes is amplified because there are thousands of data providers, each with their own idiosyncrasies.
At tricoteuses we re-distribute the data published by the French national assembly by adding the missing bits (documentation and release notes), fixing problems and adding missing data sets when necessary. This part was made easy by the check list published by the W3C in Data on the Web Best Practices. But it was more challenging to create a UX that helps developers, because only one of us had experience with user research. Once our team was formed, we started with interviewing developers and gradually learned how to create a user centric service with the help of the Open Source Design community. We hope that the result and the story of this process will inspire other teams and set an example on how Open Data should be published for a developer audience.