The USeD project is funded by JISC under the Research Tools Usability Programme. The project aims to improve the usability and learnability of a widely used research tool that provides access to valuable geospatial research data – specifically the data download of Ordnance Survey data from the JISC funded Digimap service.
Digimap downloader is a research tool that provides access to Ordnance Survey data for over 48, 000 users. The current system is well used with almost 74, 000 data requests between January 2010 and January 2011. These data requests correspond to very nearly 1 million data tiles being served to the users.
However, the current downloader has been criticised by some users and we acknowledge that it has the following shortcomings:
- The Workflow is based on a single linear sequencing of interaction.
- It presumes a significant familiarity with Ordnance Survey products.
- It doesn’t allow mulit-product extractions.
- User preferences cannot be saved, nor do they persist between downloads.
- Focused on accommodating data.
The USeD project aims to improve the Digimap Data Downloader by profiling existing users and categorising them into persona. A technology review will be conducted to investigate new technology that could be used to make the data downloader easier to use. Designs for a new data downloader will be created that address the needs of the defined personas and that use new technology where appropriate. The prototype downloader design will be then be the subject of user testing and refine.
The overall aim of the USeD project is to improve the Digimap data downloader, making it easier for a range of subscribers to use it.
The USeD team will be updating this project blog as work progresses on the project.