Purpose: To address the key problem of lack of use in the advancement of open government data (OGD) portals from the aspect of good usability, which is an essential prerequisite to the acceptance and usage of a portal, this paper aims to develop a usability framework including design principles and criteria for OGD portals and to discover problems in the present usability design.
Design/methodology/approach: This study builds the usability framework by extending usability principles for general websites to address the specific needs of OGD portals. Criteria for each principle are developed accordingly based on the literature. A comparative heuristic evaluation involving five expert evaluators and 13 Chinese province-level OGD portals has been carried out to test the capability of the usability framework.
Findings: A usability framework with 24 principles and 63 criteria has been built. The heuristic evaluation shows OGD portals performed better in meeting general principles than the OGD portals specific ones. Insufficient help functions weakened OGD portals' usability. Similarities and differences were found of Chinese OGD portals compared with similar studies in the United States.
Originality/value: This paper proposed a usability framework for OGD portals and proved its capability in recognizing usability problems and its causes by carrying out a comparative heuristic evaluation in China. By comparing the evaluation results with other studies in the United States, the findings and lessons learnt in this study can thus be shared across international borders.
- Heuristic evaluation
- Open data portal
- Open government data
- Portal design
- Usability evaluation
- Usability framework