We’re planning to release a beta version of the Matrix early next month, so we really need your feedback on aspects of its functionality.
Regular readers of this blog know that when the Matrix is mentioned here it’s not a reference to the film (even though the first in the trilogy was a brilliant breakthrough movie and is still very watchable, just in case you’re interested). No, when we talk about the Matrix we’re talking about a repository of tools, techniques and case studies that help policymakers to do open policy making (OPM).
When the conversation started, back in September last year, there wasn’t really a community of ‘open policy makers’, which is how I fondly think of the regular readers and contributors to the OPM conversation. Since then, the community has grown and we’ve been able to:
- have more conversations, offline as well as on this blog and elsewhere;
- observe the way people have used the ‘minimum viable product’ version (i.e. the case studies index) of the Matrix;
- hold more involved workshops to determine ‘user needs‘ and
- review the results of ‘top ten’ open policy behaviours vote
All these things have given us a much better insight into how the Matrix should work.
For example, while the goals are a useful way of filtering content, they are not enough. Policymakers would also like to be able to filter on the basis of time, digital skill level, policy stage etc.
What we need from you- your feedback on the functionality
I reasoned this would be a good time to follow the old maxim, “show, don’t tell”. So, using this really cool (and amazingly, still free) tool called Lumzy, I threw together a few (very) rough page views to illustrate the functionality of the next iteration of the Matrix. My aim here is to get your feedback on the functionality, not the design.
I’ve incorporated these functional page mock-ups into a slide presentation (if you can’t access SlideShare, email me and I’ll send you the slides). As I mentioned earlier I created the page views using Lumzy, which in addition to helping to create mock-ups, supports some basic simulation. So, for example, you could select an option from a drop-down menu and be taken to another page, albeit a pre-prepared static one. Anyway, if you’re interested in ‘experiencing’ the mock-ups in this way, send me an email and I’ll give you access.
When providing your feedback please bear in mind that the Matrix won’t be able to do everything. It’s not designed to. Open policy making is simply too wide-ranging for that but, it should help policy makers to:
- identify the (digital) tools and techniques that make open policy making possible
- find out who’s doing open policy making and how they’re managing to do it.
In addition to your feedback on the illustrated functionality, it would be useful to get your thoughts on some bits that haven’t been fleshed out yet: (1) what’s the best way to manage the comments on case studies and tool bios- how do we keep assessments truthful and fair? (2) Should there be a requirement that only tools that can link to a case study (on the site or elsewhere) should be allowed to have a bio? In other words, should only, ‘tried and tested’ tools be featured? If so, what’s the best way of highlighting new but largely untried tools? These issues relate as much to governance as they do to functionality.
We’re looking forward to collaborating on the creation of a really useful tool. To do that, we really need as much feedback as possible. Do share your thoughts.