Having gathered extensive evidence about how open standards are typically created and maintained, the ODI had a well-developed understanding of the needs of creators of open standards. They commissioned Kind to work with them to create an online guidebook to support organisations and projects that have limited experience with the development of open standards and need support to understand how best to approach the subject.
The ODI engages in considerable research and outreach activity within the data standards community and wanted the guidebook to operate on the same open, inclusive principles. A key part of the brief was for the community to be able to suggest new or updated content for the guidebook without adding a massive burden of moderation to the ODI team.
Low maintenance cost
As a government funded project, the ODI were keen to keep the ongoing operating costs of the guidebook as close to zero as possible. We would need to investigate ways to achieve low cost maintenance without compromising user experience.
The primary aim of the guidebook is for information to be easily accessible and disseminated through the data standards community, and beyond. Therefore a key focus of our design phase would be to optimise the discovery and readability of the guidebook’s content.
A user-centred structure
We devised a candidate user-centred information architecture (IA) with waymarkers for both the guidebook’s various audiences and the stages in the standards creation process.
Contributions from the community
We built a simple front-end form that submits data to a small Ruby application. These contributions could then easily be progressed and tracked, not only by the project team, but also by the community at large.
The challenge of a hard deadline
The Open Standards for Data guidebook had an absolute deadline for delivery. It was essential that the entire process be completed, invoiced and paid within 2 months of commencement to comply with funding requirements.
See the finished product at: https://standards.theodi.org/