Strong Interest in DPS at NAHDO 2017
I gave the first public presentation of our Data Publishing System (DPS) at the NAHDO 2017 conference in Washington last week and I was pleased to hear attendees thought data sharing through this custom Excel app could benefit their work. We had multiple attendees from a dozen state agencies around the country. They asked great questions and provided clear input that we’ve already begun incorporating.
This was our first chance to get direct feedback on the product, so we provided a questionnaire to gain insights into which DPS features would be most useful.
Free for Excel users. Free is usually a winner, and it came out first in the responses we received. This is an essential feature for anyone needing to share data with the public, and we are committed to keeping the Excel app completely free.
View data sets larger than Excel’s memory limits. Sharing large amounts of data is a problem for multiple reasons: download time, storage required on each user’s computer, and finding a tool to view this data. DPS solves this through a page-by-page viewing model that can handle any amount of data.
Link back to the data’s source. I got nods of agreement when I described my experience of downloading sample data from CMS, and then not knowing where I found the data a month later. The fact that DPS provides a link in each spreadsheet pointing back to the source came out as the third most popular feature.
Keep multiple data sets open at the same time. When we built this feature into DPS, I wasn’t sure if people would take advantage of it. I was pleased to see that it was rated well by the attendees.
Make fresh data available without requiring a new download. There are two related problems here that DPS solves. The challenge of sharing updated data on a monthly or quarterly basis was a hurdle many in the audience knew well. The fact that DPS always shows the most recent version of data was well received. The other feature they liked was being able to make a new data set available in the Open Data menu automatically. Knowing that they can push new content to users within DPS got high marks.
We also asked attendees to prioritize the features they’d like us to add to DPS in the future. I’ll report on this in my next post.