Camp Digital talk: Data for the People

By Shaun Gomm | 11/03/2016

We spoke to one of this year’s Camp Digital speakers, Jamie Whyte, about what to expect from his session, the importance of data, and why he’s excited about how virtual reality will change the industry in 2016. Jamie heads up Trafford Council’s Innovation and Intelligence Lab - a small team dedicated to making better use of data about Trafford. 

Jamie is passionate about helping people access data and information to support them in any way - from public sector decision makers to voluntary organisations applying for grant funding. 

Jamie Whyte

Head of the Innovation & Intelligence Lab at Trafford

Jamie Whyte

What is your session/presentation about?

My presentation will be about the ways that we are using different visualisation techniques to give people better access to open data, and the difference that it’s making. Data is of benefit to many people, but most cannot use it in its raw form. We are working hard to make it accessible in different ways, to engage as many people as possible.

What are the key takeaway points from your presentation?

Data is hugely powerful, but many people and organisations do not know where and how to access it. By creating interactive visualisations, maps, videos, etc, people get interested in it, and this then kicks off conversations about where it can be put to good use.

In your opinion, what has been the biggest industry change in the last year?

Within my sector, more and more open data is being released – data that is available for people to re-use.

There has been commitment from organisations like Defra (Department of Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs), Ordnance Survey, and others to continue to release data. This means we are able to make use of more of it than ever before whilst helping people, which in turn means we are able to support them to make better decisions. The flip-side to this is that there is so much data, it can be hard to make sense of it. Designing solutions that are information-rich, but still easy to understand is a challenge.

What is the next big thing in UX/digital in 2016?

Hard to say..!

I’m really excited about the potential of virtual reality - visualising data in immersive ways. By giving people the ability to view and explore data within a virtual reality environment, we will get a whole different perspective.2016 will also see an increase in Internet of Things related tech – particularly in Manchester, through organisations like The Things Network. The data generated by these devices will be vast, and working out how to best deploy, connect and make use of these sorts of things will be a challenge, but a worthwhile one.

What’s your best piece of advice for UX professionals?

I can only speak from my own experience, but develop iteratively, don’t overcomplicate, don’t trade accuracy of message in favour of UX, and stay passionate.

What are you looking forward to the most about Camp Digital?

Tom Loosemore – he’s very experienced – I’m really interested to see his talk! 

If you would like to see Jamie's talk head over to the Camp Digital website to buy your tickets.