In the context of smart cities, the most used visualisation tools are dashboards.  Dashboards visualize a consolidated set data for a certain purpose which enables users to see what is happening and to initiate actions. They are instruments to reduce information asymmetry, whether between citizens and council, or field operatives and central departments, or departments and the central council. Through dashboards, important information scattered across open data portals and feeds around the web, gather into a cohesive and understandable location. For the public, they serve as a way to increase accountability, transparency, and even citizen engagement and participation, by enabling a feedback loop to citizens For cities, they enable monitoring and analysis for faster and more accurate decision-making.

Johanna Walker, researcher at the Web and Internet Science department of the University of Southampton, UK  – a SCIFI partner – shared with us these 10 best practices when working with city dashboards:

  1. What is measured gets donepick meaningful indicators!
    2. Consider audiences (user stories) – As a [persona] + I want to [need] + so that [purpose] 
    3. Present information meaningfullyyour indicators should communicate as much as possible
    4. Use best visualisation practices –  find some great examples in this article from the European Data Science Academy.
    5. Use appropriate granularity/timelinessi.e. indicate when the next update is due, and when the last update was sent
    6. Think about data literacy levels – make them as intuitive as possible!
    7. Ensure your data makes sense – How is the data being checked, before and after it is loaded into the dashboard?
    8. Check for personal data/outliers –  avoid risk that the data becomes identifiable in some way
    9. Guide action – Does your user know what action to take?
    10. Sustainability and Interoperability – offer long term value & use an interoperable platform!

Want to know more? Watch the full City Dashboard webinar here!