City Research Online

Designing an Exploratory Visual Interface to the Results of Citizen Surveys

Slingsby, A., Dykes, J., Wood, J. & Radburn, R. (2014). Designing an Exploratory Visual Interface to the Results of Citizen Surveys. International Journal of Geographical Information Science, 28(10), pp. 2090-2125. doi: 10.1080/13658816.2014.920845


Surveys are used by public authorities to monitor the quality and reach of public services and provide information needed to help improve them. The results of such surveys tend to be used in internal reports, with highly-aggregated summaries being released to the public. Even where data are released, many citizens do not have the capability to explore and interpret them. This o ffers limited scope for citizens to explore the results and use them to help hold service providers to account - objectives that are increasingly important in public service provision. We work closely with an English local authority to develop an innovative interactive interface to a citizen survey to demonstrate what can be achieved by applying a visual approach to the exploration of such data. In so doing we (a) make a case for web-based interactive visualisation to make this kind of information accessible both internally to those working in local government and externally to citizens in a way that is not achieved through a regular Open Data release or existing applications; (b) use techniques from both cartography and information visualization to inform the design of fluid visual interactions that enable diverse users - from the casual citizen browser to those interested in more in-depth analysis - to view, compare and interpret the survey outputs from a wide variety of perspectives; and (c) document experiences and reactions to the provision of information in this form, with log analysis playing a role in this exercise. Our reflections on our successes and otherwise will inform future exploratory interface design to help citizens access information and hold public service providers to account.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an Author's Original Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis Group in International Journal of Geographical Information Science on 3 June 2014, available online:
Publisher Keywords: Public, citizens, survey, design, data exploration, open data
Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
Departments: School of Science & Technology > Computer Science > giCentre
School of Science & Technology > Computer Science
SWORD Depositor:
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