Data for sustainable development in Kenya.
Across the world, our growing human population and changing climate means our environment needs to be managed carefully and sustainably to ensure everyone benefits equally. Data has a vital role to play in this, as they can be used to develop national development strategies which could help countries meet the aims of the Sustainable Development Goals.
In Kenya, the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (MENR) spotted the potential of Vital Signs—an environment monitoring tool developed by Conservation International—as something that could help them keep a closer eye on their agriculture, biodiversity and human well-being. So, Conservation International invited us to design a tailored data platform that could do just that, and support their decision making.
We were given just two months to produce a proof-of-concept that would show MENR and other government institutions how easily they could share insights with one another. The success of the project depended upon an intensive week of user interviews, a fast data review, and a rapid design process. It’s our hope that the resulting data dashboard is a seed from which something bigger will grow—inspiring the Kenyan government to adopt a new approach to data sharing and inspiring other governments to put data at the heart of their planning for the future.
Knowing and understanding the people you’re designing for is an essential part of any product development. An intensive week-long discovery session in Kenya with all of the project stakeholders helped us understand their ambitions, the challenges they face, and what tools they use to collect and process data. By the end of the week we were able to present our findings to them along with a preliminary design that would help them understand what we could deliver in the next two months.
With more than 40 data indicators to include, we decided a green light schema would be the best way to help people see at a glance what’s happening. Anything in need of urgent attention turns red so it can be acted upon quickly. Despite the rapid design process, attention to detail was not forgotten and we chose to use a new, unique font called Protipo that easily differentiates figures, making them easier to read.
Fast data review in three steps
We analyse the raw data and see what it’s telling us.
We standardise the data we want to use.
We let the data lead the design of our data visualisations.
Luc Hoffmann Institute.