A prototype website will be one of the outcomes of this research project. The website should help non-experts discover, learn about and understand the open data about waste in Scotland.
To date, we have build a couple of mock-ups :
This document concentrates on the functionality & navigation mock-up…
This mock-up ties together a lot of the elements we’ve been working on:
|Data||Direct access to download the underlying datasets.
A simple, consistent set of CSV and JSON files.
|Maps||Interactive, on-map depictions of the information from the datasets.|
|Data grids with graphs||A tool for slicing’n’dicing the datasets and visualising the result as a graph.
To make this easier, this tool will provide useful slicing’n’dicing presets: starting points from which users can explore.
|SPARQL||A query interface to a semantic web representation of the datasets.
This is unlikely to be of use to our target audience, so we’ll probably remove it from the UI but may use its semantic graph internally.
|Articles||Themed articles and tutorials that are based on evidence from the datasets.
Uses Asciidoc mark-up to make the articles easy to format.
The articles may incorporate data visualisations that are backed by our datasets.
The mock-up provides 3 routes to information:
|Themes||The clickable blocks on the splash page allows users to explore a waste theme by taking the user to a specific set of of articles and tutorials.|
|Navbar||The menu bar at the top of each page, provides an orthogonal, more ‘functional’ classification of the website’s contents.|
|Search||At present, this is a very basic text & tag search. In the future, a predicative/auto-suggestion search based on a semantic graph of the contents, will be provided.|
Users navigation histories may help power a further-reading recommender subsystem.
Building this mock-up has required some architectural decisions that may help inform the design of our eventual website.
|Static website||The mock-up has been implemented as a so-called ‘static website’. This means that page content is not dynamically generated by (or saved to) the server-side. The server-side simply serves ‘static content files’.
|Off-line updates||The content of the website can be updated – just not updated on-line. The website maintainers can add new/edit existing datasets, articles, etc. via off-line means.
For off-line updates to this mock-up we use: (i) WDT – a rough’n’ready software script that helps us to curate the datasets that underlay this mock-up; (ii) Cryogen – a static website generator; (iii) Git – to upload updates to our GitHub hosting service.
Progress in client-side technology even makes it possible to implement a semantic graph supporting triple store in a web browser!
This mock-up website…
- provides concrete test-bed for evolving the functionality & navigation aspects of our eventual website, and
- forces us to think about architectural trade-offs.