Open Data Institute

The ODI was founded in 2012 by the inventor of the web Sir Tim Berners-Lee and AI expert Sir Nigel Shadbolt to address today’s global challenges using the web of data.

Thanks to funding from Innovate UK to advance data innovation, the ODI was able to focus on six key projects between October 2017 and March 2018, one of which was to make it easier to create open standards for data.

ODI 1 Hero
  • User-centred design
  • Development
  • Design systems
  • Non-profit
Leigh Dodds, Data Infrastructure Programme Lead, The ODI

I thoroughly enjoyed working with the team from Kind on the open standards for data guidebook. They quickly understood both our needs and the broader goals of the project.The team brought enthusiasm, a range of expertise and a desire to work collaboratively with us that helped us create a fantastic output within tight timescales.I'm looking forward to working with them again in future!

The Challenge

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.

ODI 3 Challenge

Strategic Thinking

Community-led

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.

Readability

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.

ODI 2 Deliverable

Delivery

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.

Lightning fast load times

To make sure the site was as fast as possible, we set (and stuck to) a performance budget that required every page load within 1 second from anywhere in the world and have a speed index of less than 1000.

ODI 4 Product
ODI 5 Product

See the finished product at: https://standards.theodi.org/