Open Data | Seelio
Skip to Main Content

Timeframe: Sept 2014 - Dec 2014

Sustainable Open Data Portal for Jackson City

Project Description:

With the help of the Jackson City Manager, a fantastic lead team, many of the departments of the City - and a vendor with a strong record of building data portals for smaller cities - we conceptualized, designed and developed a pilot Data Portal. An Open Data portal lets the city share its data sets - freely and without restrictions - so that citizens can use that data to grow their businesses and help their communities thrive. By the data being openly ready and free for the residents, businesses can use this data to see traffic patterns to predict where to locate customers, realtors will be able to better advise clients on where to settle, community groups can make better cases for funding for their neighborhoods, citizens will be able view what streets which streets have been plowed after a heavy snowfall, and many more opportunities will be available.

Today there are just 3 data sets on the portal, but by the end of 2015 the city expects to have tons data-sets on its portal. A number of safeguards were taken to ensure sustainability of the portal for example: extensive vendor analysis, open data workshop for city staff and administrative policy for data update.

Problem Given:

In May 2014, the City Council of Jackson passed an Open Data Ordinance with the aims of fostering economic development and citizen engagement in Jackson by making data freely available to the citizens and businesses of the City. The Ordinance requires that the City provide an online Open Data portal where individuals can access and download public City data, as well as make suggestions for data collection and provide feedback. In addition to the Open Data Portal, the ordinance mandates that the city create an Administrative Policy, which describes the procedures, roles and responsibilities for the implementation of Open Data Ordinance. We have to help city of Jackson realize this mandate and give citizens access to city's critical information.

Goal: To conceptualize, design and develop a sustainable Open Data Portal for Jackson City.

Action/processes: Following design process was followed:

1. User interview and participatory design sessions: Interviewed city staff and citizens to gather insights about user’s needs and current behavior. We also conducted a workshop for user to tell them about open data and organized a participatory design session at the end of the workshop.

2. Design, development and sustainability: Created system flow diagram, wireframes and hi-fidelity mock-ups for the portal. Worked with a vendor “Junar” to support backend for the portal and create a fully functioning website.

3. User testing, evaluation and redesign: Conducted formal usability testing to understand critical issues faced by the users. Based on the finding we made concrete suggestions for design changes in further iterations of the website.

Result: We developed a pilot Open Data Portal with 3 datasets ( ) and helped to write the Open Data Policy to go along with the portal. 

  • Attachment
  • Attachment
  • Attachment



  • Jonah Carl

    Jonah Carl / Co-Design Lead and Main liaison with Junar

    University of Michigan - Ann Arbor
    I helped to design the Open Data Portal site that will be linked from Jackson's main website, along with running some user testing with the site. I spent most of my time with this project being the main liaison with Junar. I communicated the needs that we as a team had and what Jackson wanted with the portal. I set up most of the meetings with Junar and participated in them making sure that everything was running smoothly and everything was being done on time. 
  • Julia Kamin

    Julia Kamin

    University of Michigan - Ann Arbor
  • Kriti Agrawal

    Kriti Agrawal

    University of Michigan - Ann Arbor
  • Niyati Gupta

    Niyati Gupta / Design Co-Lead and Vendor Contact

    University of Michigan - Ann Arbor
    As a UX designer, I was responsible for designing wireframes, website mockups, system diagram, poster and flyers for the project. I got feedback from my teammates, the City of Jackson and the school and went through several design iterations. Thoroughly researched and presented a comprehensive recommendation to the city to help them choose a vendors for the portal. I worked closely with Joseph Hawley and a representative from our vendor "Junar" to implement the designs of city's Open Data portal. I communicated city's needs and feedbacks to our vendor and got all the required datasets from the city for the vendor. I also designed and conducted usability testing sessions with citizens to evaluate our design.
  • University of Michigan School of Information

    University of Michigan School of Information

    University of Michigan - Ann Arbor


Other, Interaction Design

Last Updated At