A Collaborative Approach to Defining and Prototyping an Open Access Dashboard for Jisc

Digirati have partnered with another two SME’s to secure and deliver the contract to assess the feasibility of developing an “Open Access Dashboard” for Jisc. Digirati, Research Consulting & Pleiade Management and Consultancy joined forces to define and prototype an open access dashboard for Jisc which would allow them to visualise the data collected by Jisc’s open access services and other relevant sources in a more informative way.

Jisc are a non-profit UK organisation who provide higher education and research institutes with a shared digital infrastructure, consultancy and practical assistance and also negotiate sector wide deals which benefit these sectors. (Digirati are also currently working with Jisc on developing a new Research Data Management Shared Service.)

Jisc had identified a gap in the market for an OA Dashboard that aims to improve institutional workflows by providing easier access to information on OA publishing. They are aware of the need to provide library administrators in higher education institutes a system to consolidate the growing amount of information concerning their open access (OA) outputs. However, the information is usually on different systems, which makes it difficult to find. This presented the opportunity to consolidate and visualise data via an Open Access Dashboard in a bid to improve institutional workflows by providing easier access to information.

After a competitive tendering exercise, Jisc procured Digirati, Research Consulting & Pleiade Management and Consultancy to tackle this project. The project was split into three phases and each organisation had a different role to play. The Phases were broken down as described below:

Phase 1 was to define the use cases for the OA dashboard. This exploratory study set the scene of possible dashboards/use cases. Based on the feedback received on a series of use cases, two potential dashboards were identified which were further investigated in Phase 2.

Phase 2 included requirements analysis and developing user stories including design, solution architecture, wireframing, prototyping and user testing. During this phase, Digirati completed a technical assessment of the proposed Dashboards prior to completing technical workshops to create a prototype.

Phase 3 focused on assessing the potential business case for the full development of the prototype.

Digirati took lead responsibility for the technical elements of the project including the technical assessment for the full development and the creation of the prototype.

Technical Assessment Workshop

As part of the commencement of Phase 2 Digirati carried out a technical assessment workshop to walk through the work completed to date, the proposed approach for Phase 2 and to gather insight and direction from the Jisc team on the desired next steps of the project due to the challenges discovered in Phase 1.

As preparation for the workshop, Digirati worked through and detailed the supporting user stories for the two priority dashboards and helped prepare a potential list of data sources that could underpin both.

As a result of the technical workshop, it was agreed that the technical assessment and progress of a prototype would be completed for a single dashboard to support the user stories and complete the initial assessment of the data available from prioritised data sources.

User Experience

Digirati are experienced in delivering user centric solutions and wanted to produce a prototype with the user at the heart of the solution. The user experience process was centered around collaboration with the users and rapid iteration. Our UX and technical team worked closely together to develop visual representations which addressed the user stories collected during Phase 1.

The process began with discussing ideas using paper sketches to reach a simple and intuitive design which complimented the business and user goals of the dashboard. The sketches then progressed to wireframes and then moved onto data driven iterations.

Digirati ensured the users were involved in this process by running demo sessions of the dashboard prototype with six attendees from various HEI’s. The users were asked to comment on the prototype dashboard during these demonstrations. The feedback was positive and they agreed that the dashboard had a user friendly interface.

Figure 1: Jisc OA Dashboard main screen

Figure 2: Wireframe developed for drill down feature

Digirati were glad to be able participate in this forward thinking project as it is consistent with our commitment to help further the Open Science agenda. Although the current recommendation was that the development of this dashboard be put on hold and re-evaluated in the future when better quality data sources are available, the work completed confirmed the importance of a centralised OA Dashboard system. There is clearly further collaboration required across the community to make this a sustainable reality.

For further information on the Jisc’s findings and conclusions on the project, please click Here