Participants in the MediaFutures programme 3rd cohort were joined by participants from the EUHubs4Data cohorts for a shared training on the best practices for data dashboards. To strengthen the arts and technology ecosystem MediaFutures also offers training to participants who joined the programme in one of the cohorts but did not move into the Build phase of the residencies or accelerators, and the talk was also attended by a number of these participants. 

Johanna Walker of King’s College London, a partner in both MediaFutures and EUHubs4Data, took the attendees through why to use dashboards, what they should contain and 10 best practices for success (see image). Everything about these best practices is focused on making sure the dashboards are useable and used. The co-design of dashboards through the use of user stories is one way to do this, as well as testing the dashboards with users, and one attendee shared their own experience of doing this.

Johanna says, “The most important change in how we think about dashboards over the past 5 years has been to do with the focus on ethics and data justice. We have many examples now of how naive dashboards can have unethical effects. For instance, certain indicators about areas of cities might suggest an area is more or less ‘desirable’ than others. Is this ethical treatment of the residents of the area that people are making negative judgements about?  Using the language of data justice has enabled us to grapple more explicitly with ideas such as, ‘how do we ensure that data collected from or generated by a community is presented in a dashboard in the way that is most beneficial for them? How do we ensure we don’t exploit the data of others for our own ends?” A well-known example of this is air quality indicators. These seem free of value judgement, but if the indicator is not acted upon, then there is no benefit to the community of showing that data on a dashboard. In fact, it can be detrimental, as other people may decide to avoid the area and this could have negative economic effects. 

MediaFutures is a member of the EUHubs4Data Strategic Stakeholders Group.

Read about the group’s most recent meeting and learn more about EUHubs4data on their website.

By King’s College London