[ooni-dev] Summary of data visualization OONI workshop

Arturo Filastò art at torproject.org
Wed Nov 26 13:51:29 UTC 2014


Yesterday we did a small OONI workshop in Rome to focus on thinking
about the problem of data visualization.

I think what came out of it is very useful, though it is not yet some
fancy graphics visualizations.
The main value comes from having some people that have very little prior
knowledge of OONI think about the problem of data visualization and
learn from them what is their framework of thinking.

One of my personal favorite takeaways is that when we think about the
results of OONI what we should be talking about are "network
irregularities". In the end what we are interested in spotting are
deviations from what is to be considered a "normal" network behavior.
This may or may not be a symptom of internet censorship. It could also
be caused by some mess-up by the network operator or some bugs in our
monitoring software.

The point is that when we spot an irregularity we should investigate it
further to discover if it is in fact an instance of censorship or
something else.

Starting from this assumption we started designing what should be the
variables that a user interested in analyzing the data collected so far
should be adjusting. We set our target audience to be somebody that is
interested in integrating the data into some work they are doing. What
came up often as a practical example of this is "the journalist working
on an article on freedom of expression in country X".

At the end of the day we came up with this chart that shows what are the
variables that should be combined together to produce different views:


What basically happens here is that the user fixes the timeframe they
are interested in looking at. Once that is set they will be able to say
"Show me all the _interesting_ measurements that are related to the
country|test_name|input X".

I think that now Viviana and Silvia have a clearer understanding of how
OONI works and what it's measuring and they will be working on producing
some mockups of UIs for exploring the data in this way.
I will then implement these mockups based on the new REST API we have to
the data.

If you have questions on feedback on this it's greatly appreciated so
please contribute to either this thread or post on this ticket:

Have fun!

~ Arturo

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