Data Exploration

Queensland’s Regional Libraries
State Library Queensland

The project was focussed on the creation of a “demo” visualisation interface that uses Statistical Bulletin data to identify a series of questions to explore. The demo can also be used to identify and document the requirements for high-level organisational support to move forward.

The demo will be focussed on revealing possible opportunities for operational improvement by presenting the annualised Statistical Bulletin data in a way that has never been seen before. This outcome will capture and extend reporting back to the individual Libraries.


I implemented a collaborative five-step model to ensure the successful delivery of the “demo”.

  1. Gather the 2011-2014 Statistical Bulletins
  2. UX Design, wireframes the interface
  3. UI Design and scope build interactive component for the interface
  4. Deliver the demo
  5. Presentations gather feedback and workshops to identify key research questions and deliver a report of the findings

The collection of the Statistical Bulletins and the understanding of the terminology and acronyms associated with the data collected from 59 library/regions was a large part of the first phase of the project. The capturing of knowledge from the SLQ staff currently analysing the Statistical Bulletins was also highly valuable element to understanding the project.

Once I had all the data and a clear understanding of the intricacies inside the Statistical Bulletins I was then able to design a UI that combined the nine proposed data quadrants in a customised layout that is appealing for the user and offers a dynamic model for filtering the data.

I set some boundaries around the project scope to help focus the user interface:

  • What is the effectiveness of SLQ and Council investment in support of Public Libraries? i.e. visits, collection items, loans, programs
  • While loans have decreased in the past few years, what else has changed?
  • How has return on investment for SLQ and Council changed in the last few years
  • What KPIs are most important to measure and how do I influence them?
  • Where are we headed?
  • Are we spending money on the right things?
  • Which programming is most effective?
  • Who are my members, and who is missing?

The proposed data quadrants align with the above questions and inform the core data requirements for the demo interface. I designed a static graphic “mock-up” of the demo’s interface to illustrate the use of graphical icons, text, numbering systems, sliders and chart types to present a single view of the “big-picture” from the nineteen sheets in the Excel document. This “mock-up” will be presented to the SLQ project staff for review and feedback will be collected for a second round presentation prior to the start of building the individual interactive components.

ScreenShots Download the PDF “mock-up” created

There was a meeting to present the “in-progress” (rough) first round of the work on the interactive components for review by SLQ project staff. This meeting will tweak the individual interactions between the components prior to the completion of the demo. The final demo will then be presented and the planning for the structure of the series of presentation can commence.

The completed demo was then be used as the central component in a series of scripted presentations to key SLQ stakeholders/executives, which focus on possible research questions identified by the demo. The presentations uncovered questions and opportunities related to unexpected patterns and anomalies visualised by the demo from annual data in the Statistical Bulletins.

  • Series of presentations with key individuals
  • Gather feedback and seek critical research questions
  • Separately compare and contrast data from National benchmarks and other publically available data
  • Focus on the identified key research questions and the possible extension of the interface/demo

The visualisation is focussed on revealing possible opportunities for operational improvement by presenting the annualised Statistical Bulletin data in a way that has never been seen before.

The questions that the first stage of the project raised were focussed on sharing and gathering of information that can then be used to present a case to Government for additional funding. The second outcome was the identification of specific events that drive attendance and generation of new members.