YourDataStories Focus Group for Developers

In order to gain more of an in depth view on useres needs, the YDS has carried out a number of focus groups with different participatens. The Developers group, carried out by the eGov unit at the Insight Centre for data analytics at the National University of Ireland, Galway on January 25th, 2016, reflected a good blend of youth and experience with eleven participants. Amongst the developers present, some had considerable experience with Open Data and Semantic technologies, others had more general experience.


The focus group was structured in such a way that the developers were well briefed about the Your Data Stories (YDS) project. The presentations made included an introduction to the project and to the format of the focus group. This was followed by a standard YDS presentation to explain the structure of the YDS platform with material produced by NCSR Demokritos. Finally the output of the User Focus Groups conducted by Deutsche Welle and the European Journalism Centre were presented. In forming the questionnaire for the participants we included material from previous user focus groups, in particular the one held in Dublin.

The presentation was followed by a long and robust discussion including questions and answers. Following a break, the developers were asked to fill in an online questionnaire broken into 3 sections;

  • Issues and Challenges
  • Options
  • Specifications

These sections related to the YDS design starting with finding the data, mixing it using a workbench and finally using it to tell a data story.


The questionnaire was followed by a lively discussion, highlighting issues and potentials of YourDataStories, leading to the following conclusions.

  1. The YDS platform has the potential to provide a useful tool for creating data stories.
  2. The issue of providing user friendly data analytics tools needs to be addressed.
  3. The issue of trust in terms of data needs to be tackled.
  4. All data should be graded and relevant to the story that is being told.
  5. The YDS platform should provide an iterative process to allow users to go back and forth between data discovery, the workbench and the story telling sections.
  6. The project must realistically address what level of expertise is needed for the users to successfully create stories.
  7. User help functionality should be built into the YDS platform.


About the author : Tilman Wagner (DW)