Bay Area Open Data
A redesign concept of “Bay Area Open Data,” a website with open-source data pertaining to cities within the San Francisco Bay Area.
This project was done for the VTA (Valley Transport Authority) and Code for San Jose (part of Code for America).
Challenges & Goals
Data is collected using taxpayer money. The VTA and local governments
have a responsibility to make data easily accessible and digestible to all
users. However, the current site is designed for developers and others
familiar with working with large datasets.
- Browse and search for relevant data
- Understand and use data without prior experience working with large datasets
- Sort and manage data according to location
- Request new datasets
- Learn about community through an entertaining experience that doesn't require thought or analysis of data
VTA & BAy area Open Data Needs
- Make data visually interesting and digestible to all users through visualizations and analysis
- Highlight relevant data and make it effortless to find
- Facilitate sharing and reuse of data
- Allow users to request new datasets
The goal is to redesign the website so that it clearly guides visitors to the main functions. The redesigned website should increase citizen awareness of government decisions and city goings-on, as well as increase involvement in and contribution to society and government.
Analysis & Research
Current Menu Hierarchy
- Current elements are not worded in familiar jargon
- Accessing the "Catalog" is not helpful to users who do not know what they are looking for. Most users coming to the site will be citizens who do not know what actions are possible and what can be done with data
- Not clear what tutorials are needed for
- Developers portal is not easy to find
- Search, while in strong fallow area, is not easily noticeable/ within line of reading gravity according to Gutenberg diagram
- “Sign In” feature is helpful for developers only
Redesigned Menu Hierarchy
- Frequently Asked Questions moved from footer navigation to be easier to locate
- "Catalog" was changed to "All Data," which is quicker to comprehend. Options for types of data ("Transportation," "Housing," etc.) is nested within
- Link to developers portal is less buried and more apparent
- "About" page for new users was added to make transparent why open data portal exists and BAOD purpose
Analysis of Current Site
Analysis of open data portal websites in the Bay Area (the residence of the target market) was conducted to understand hierarchy of important features, what features worked well and which were lacking. For a broader range of features, open data portal websites from select US cities were also analyzed.
Current color scheme is professional, but dull and uninspiring.
New color scheme aims to be fresh and calm with small, bright pops of color to appeal to a broader demographic. I decided to maintain blue hues for professionalism and to align with VTA's original branding.