Making data readable – dashboards, information visualisation and accessible evidence

Tuesday 23 March 2021
10:00 - 12:00 (GMT)
Online (via Zoom and YouTube Live)

There is growing demand from non-researchers for insights from academic data resources, analyses and models, something that has been made particularly obvious by the COVID-19 pandemic, with policy makers demanding near-real-time intelligence on patterns of mobility, economic activity and social interaction.

In this context, there is enormous potential societal benefit to be realised from the reuse of data collections and redeployment of analytical work.

A key cause of friction – and lack of adoption – is the inaccessibility of data and associated academic outputs. Their adaptation to better reflect the needs and competencies of government information consumers is critical. This means identifying key indicators, aligned with relevant data sources and presented attractively, intuitively and in terms that can be understood.

This webinar, led by Dr Andrew McHugh, will equip participants with the tools to share information needs and align these with available data and appropriate methods of information presentation, as well as covering practical aspects of producing attractive, accessible, and interactive dashboards and data platforms.

Presenters include:

  • Dr Zsanett Bahor (Data Analyst - Dashboard Developer, Urban Big Data Centre)
  • Dr Justine Gangneux (Research Associate, Urban Big Data Centre)
  • Stephen Sprott (Principal Officer, Glasgow City Council)
  • Jaime Villacampa (Principal Information Analyst, Public Health Scotland)


  • 10:00 – 10:05 - Welcome and introduction to the webinar (Andrew McHugh, UBDC)
  • 10:05 – 10:15 - Information & data dashboards – an overview (Justine Gangneux, UBDC)
  • 10:15 – 10:30 - Mini-case studies – How do government organisations use dashboards?

    These informal presentations will offer accounts of two successful dashboard deployments within local government and the public sector in Scotland. Invited speakers will each offer a brief account to describe:

    • the operational and/or policy needs that prompted the development of a dashboard interface;

    • the content and format of the dashboard, what it does and how it meets the stated needs;

    • the ways in which the development has offered benefits or value, including commentary on how these may be measured and levels of uptake/adoption.

Stephen Sprott (Principal Officer, Glasgow City Council)
Jaime Villacampa (Principal Information Analyst, Public Health Scotland)

  • 10:30 – 1045 - Identifying needs and aligning with data, presentation and interactivity (Zsanett Bahor, UBDC)
  • 10:45 – 11:00 - Discussion / Questions & Answers
  • 11:00 – 11:40 - Breakout session – developing a dashboard brief

Participants will be separated into individual breakout groups and provided with details of a policy scenario with an identified information need.

Each group will be invited to critically assess a small portfolio of existing dashboards and discuss to what extent their functionality, aesthetics and methods of representing data are effective and could be adapted to meet the needs outlined in the scenario.

Participants will also be introduced to some relevant datasets and asked to consider ways they may be presented to most effectively address the information needs.

  • 11:40 – 12:00 - Reporting back and close

What you will learn

Following the completion of this webinar attendees will be able to :

  • Describe how government organisations use and would like to use data
  • Collect and describe the information needs of priority audiences
  • Align identified needs with available data and appropriate means of representation
  • Describe the characteristics of dashboards that enhance their value, including aesthetic qualities, accessibility features and interactivity, and be more informed selecting implementations and allocating resources
  • Describe key governance considerations such as privacy and licensing

In addition, representatives of potential data-consuming organisations will offer a counterpoint regarding their barriers to information adoption.

Who should attend

The session is aimed at a) University staff and students with responsibilities for producing, collecting, or curating data that have the potential for wider impact in supporting policy or operational development within government organisations, as well as b) representatives of those government organisations.

It will be especially useful for those tasked with increasing or facilitating such reuse, and where inaccessibility of those data accounts at least in part for their lack of adoption, and for those government practitioners convinced of the potential value of engaging with academia around data and evidence, but unable to do so for the same reason.

Prior knowledge requirements

Attendees should understand or be interested in opportunities offered by and the potential value of new and emerging forms of data. Specific sources they are interested in will be largely determined by their own experiences and role.

Data and software requirements

No specific data or software requirements are required to participate in the session but relevant code and/or sample data will be made available to attendees via UBDC’s Github.


Registration for this online event is available via Eventbrite and full details and instructions for joining will be circulated post-registration.