Data and dashboards for open governance across the world

Vizzuality are pleased to announce our latest launch with the Governance Data Alliance: check it out here!

At vizzuality, we want to help citizens, civil society organisations and governments realise a world full of transparent governance. A world where everyone can take part in important political decisions and is empowered to hold their government to account. The Governance Data Alliance is a unique collaboration of organisations working to achieve that vision. With their data you can start to see how open your government is: how much of a say do you have in policy-making? How easily can you access information on budgets and other processes? If you find one area to be lacking compared to your neighbours, you can use that data to start conversations with governments calling for stronger participation and transparency.

It was a great pleasure to be asked by the Alliance to develop a responsive web application that puts their data in the hands of millions of people across the world for the first time, so they can use it to create a more transparent country. It was crucial to build the site in a way that led to quick and easy understanding of the data for general users and, at the same time, stirred governments into action to be as transparent and participatory as possible. A combination of intuitive design and pixel perfect implementation delivered a site with the right features for the job, including country dashboards and a compare function.

The GDA Dashboard contains a huge range of datasets, from the perception of corruption to environmental democracy and participation in decision-making. For someone that’s new to these concepts, if the data were presented as rows and rows of numbers it could come across as pretty daunting. However humans are fantastic at finding meaning when presented with that same data in a more visual and appealing way. Our designers crafted an intuitive and striking colour scheme on the country and compare pages, which draws your attention from the first glance so any user, no matter their familiarity with the data, can find insight with ease. This was just one part of the process of creating a strong, distinctive brand for the Alliance and the website.

We wanted to do more than that though: there’s no use designing data in an intuitive way if a large audience can’t look at the data to intuit intelligence. Increasingly we’re seeing the way people learn about the world is shifting towards mobile. The first port of call for almost any question is on your phone, whether that’s someone travelling to a meeting in Europe or a rural community leader in Uruguay. To enable a varied global audience to access the dashboard, wherever they are and no matter the technology they have to hand, we adopted mobile first principles, so the site looks just as good on a phone or tablet as it does on a laptop or conference projector.

It’s always a pleasure to work with organisations possessing great datasets and to be challenged to create a fantastic design that shows it in its best light. We’re looking forward to seeing how people all over the world will use it to make a difference in their country. Enjoy the data!