Sprint note: 15-28 March 2017

Our latest sprint was the final one of the Data Discovery Alpha and included significant updates to the latest iteration of our chart builder.

The sprint also saw the following bug fixes and enhancements;

  • Fix for suppression of last values in individual time series pages
  • Fix to allow equations to render correctly in automatically generated PDSs
  • Removal of external link icon
  • Change to stop links opening into a new window
  • Inclusion of contact details in automatically generated PDFs
  • Additional Welsh translations to support census pages

Chartbuilder v2.0

As part of this sprint have completed development on the latest version of chartbuilder.  The updates are designed to give our publishers a lot more control over how charts are presented as well as adding some new charts and new functionality.

One of the biggest requests we have received from our internal teams is the ability to annotate charts to provide more context to users. To support this we have added the ability to add bands or lines to a chart, text boxes and the ability to position these manually to give the most control. There are a number of ways we tend to annotate charts and we have looked to make this version flexible enough to cope with the vast majority of requests.

These annotations offered some interesting challenges around how to maintain the responsiveness of the charts. Responsive charts more generally has been a tricky issue with us up to this point requiring users to open a chart separately on mobile.To address these issues we have given the option to configure the charts differently on different sizes screens, at the moment mobile, tablet and desktop. This allows us to change the aspect ratio and annotation position at different sizes to ensure the chart is clear and informative.

Alongside this there are a lot of other enhancements including more granular control of axis position and size, alternate colour options and the ability to toggle some elements on or off to support different charts

Data discovery

As with the previous sprint our focus has really been to put the patterns we have developed through their paces by throwing more data at the system. We have now got over 50 datasets loaded in, although we haven’t linked all these to the Data discovery quite yet.

We have been exploring some different patterns and flows through the system. There was some feeling during the GDS workshop we completed a couple of weeks ago that we may have focussed in too early on the current flows and missed out on possible alternatives. Before we move forward into the beta and building this out ‘for real’ we wanted to explore some of these alternatives including looking at a more linear flow for filtering a dataset. We had avoided this approach in favor of the current ‘hub and spoke’ design to support user needs around wanting to download at any point in the journey and not have to go through unnecessary steps, however there are some benefits to this approach, particularly the ability to give a clear indication of where a user is in the process. We will be accessing this over the coming weeks to decide if any of these alternatives get taken forward into beta.

We will continue to test the alpha over the coming weeks and are keen to get some specific datasets loaded based on those the participants themselves use – hopefully to give us the most realistic test of the new functionality.

If you have any thoughts or comments on any part of the website please do let us know in the comments on this blog post or on Twitter to @ONSdigital

One comment on “Sprint note: 15-28 March 2017”


    True experience is the best teacher

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