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We are very excited to begin the first sprint for the new data storytelling platform for ONS this week. Matt Jukes has written a great blogpost about it, which explains how the project has come into being.

As Matt says, the focus during this project will be on fulfilling the needs of Inquiring Citizen persona. This user has an enquiring mind, and motivation to discover the hard facts behind popular topics in the media. They seek trustworthy, succinct and timely information.

ONS has content for this audience already but the current website doesn’t make it available in ways that suit these users.

Social media has become the main source of news for many time-poor users, and the same people often browse in a quiet moment on their phone or tablet. They don’t tend to seek out complex explanations of big topics because they don’t have much time to scan large amounts of information. These are the use cases that we’re looking to target.

On the more technical side, this project is interesting because we’ll get to play around with some fun open source projects to assist with the presentation of responsive infographics and graphs. We’ll kick off by looking at pym.js and Chartbuilder, and hopefully progress to supporting more complex tools like D3 in the longer term.

It’s also exciting to experience the ONS digital team’s approach. They are sharply user focused (and have the research to back it up), and have a keen eye on their success criteria. This project will be used by ONS to learn lessons about the best way to present information for inquiring citizens: lessons that can then be incorporated into the rest of the work the ONS does on the web.

We’re looking forward to being a part of it.

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