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Do Users Know What They Really Really Want?

Presenter 1
Jackie Carter
University of Manchester
Presenter 2
Richard Wiseman
University of Manchester

The Census Dissemination Unit at the UK national data centre based at the University of Manchester has been delivering Census Aggregate Statistics over the web to academics for over 10 years. The tool used to deliver it - Casweb - was once-upon-a-time innovative. Unfortunately this is no longer the case. The tool 'does the job' but users (say they) are looking for more interactivity, improved ease of use, and better ways to combine data. Achieving this is not easy given a small team whose remit is to support tens of thousands of users, as well as keeping up with changing user expectations and undertaking in-house development. And all this when the data delivery methods are changing too. Still, never ones to turn down a challenge, the team at Manchester has undertaken to update the data access system in-line with user requirements. A separate paper discusses the underpinning technology (the InFuse project based on SDMX and a data feed approach). This paper/presentation shows how we are engaging directly with users - both face to face and using social software - to get them to tell us what they really really want.

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