”We benefited the project more than we expected! By analysing the user experience, the students discovered the most important development points, and gave very concrete suggestions on how to solve the problems. Working with the students was easy, since the students were well-informed on the topic and they worked independently. In the future, as new development needs arise, we would like to cooperate with the Project Aces students again.”
Juha Pulmuranta, project officer, Lounaistieto Team
The Regional Council of Southwest Finland coordinates the regional information service, Lounaistieto. The users of Lounaistieto include cities, municipalities and authorities, but also business, NGOs, media and the general public.
Lounaistieto web service gathers open access data, such as statistics and geographical information. The beta version of the web service had just been launched, and in order to develop the service, information on the usability was needed: how easyly did the users find the information they needed and how enjoyable was it to use the service. In addition, suggestions on how to improve the usability and how to improve the communication regarding the service, were needed.
Four students of the University of Turku were selected for the project: Arla Hillner, Mari Isomäki, Essi Ratia and Karina Voronkova. The studies of the team members had covered geographic information systems, using and presenting geographical information, usability of information systems, communication and political systems and decision making. Furthermore, the team had experience in working with geographical information and with different information systems, communication and working in public administration.
Team tested the Lounaistieto service together with the primary users, the municipal administrators, and discovered the central problems and the challenges the users faced. The team produced the Regional Council of Southwest Finland concrete suggestions on how the problems discovered could be solved and the service developed to be more user-friendly.