WTANZ 02: How easy is it to get data from data.gov & data.gov.uk

WTANZ 02: How easy is it to get data from data.gov & data.gov.uk

Date:  2 May 2010

Time:  6:30am GMT/4:30 pm AEST/6:30NZT

Products:  data.gov & data.gov.uk

Testers:  Marlena Compton, Oliver Erlewein, Allmas Mullah, Keis, Jaswinder Kaur Nagi, Prem Nepak, Ajay Balamurugadas, Dhara Sapu, Jeroen Rosink

Marlena Compton facilitated the discussion.

Recently, the governments of the United States and the UK have created web-sites to allow the public access to government data.  This week’s mission was to do exploratory testing of obtaining data from both sites about education, and the different formats available for the data.

While this mission might sound simple enough, participants had widely varying experiences in obtaining the data.  Some asked questions and were able to find data early in the session, others had great difficulty in understanding the mission and the two web-sites.  Even when testers were able to find the data, downloading the data also proved extremely difficult.   One tester who was on a mac received what were supposed to be csv files as a exe files.  So where did this leave our mission?  Only 1 tester ended up downloading the data.

Some of the testing lessons learned from this session:

Some testers were frustrated by the broad scope of the mission.  This prompted a discussion of  how recognizing your emotions can help your testing.

Another tester explained to the group how he used a tool to compare the number of urls linked to by each site.

The transcript of the session is attached here.

Image credits: http://datacenter.mit.edu/images/spotlight_the_data.jpg

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