Challenges of open data: usability

The following post is an excerpt from my thesis entitled Linked open data for public sector information.
Considering usability as a property of interfaces, raw data provides a difficult one. Largely, data is too unwieldy to be used by most people. For example, 50 % of the respondents in the Socrata’s open data study said that the data was unusable [1]. Alternatively, poor usability may be correlated with the low level of use most open data sources receive.
The requirements on usability of open data reviewed in a previous blog post prove to be difficult to satisfy. The usability barrier may be especially high when dealing with linked open data as was reported in the previous post about usability of linked data. Yet it is important not to compromise the generative potential of open data to low usability of the underlying technologies.
The challenge of usability requires data producers to refocus on the view of user-centric perspective. The following blog posts highlight the increased need for data literacy, which is necessary for interacting with open data, and warn of the dangers of incorrect interpretations drawn from data.


  1. Socrata. 2010 open government data benchmark study [online]. Version 1.4. Last updated January 4th, 2011 [cit. 2012-04-07]. Available from WWW:

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