Can we bring additional insight to parents researching schools in their area? The Alberta government hosted the Apps for Alberta competition to encourage the development of creative tools that provide economic or social value using Alberta’s open data. Digging into the available information, we identified a rich data set of high school grades that we felt could be more valuable to the public, especially parents, if it was communicated visually and interactively.
We began with the questions a parent might ask. What are the schools in my area? How do they compare overall? Across subjects? What about a specific school? How does it rank in the province? We then focused on designing something to make answering those questions simple and clear.
In the end, our tool automatically identifies your location and sorts schools within its radius by their overall grade. It affords quick and animated search, selection, filtering, and sorting to explore and understand the grades, revealing information such as private schools’ tendency toward higher grades, or the unexpectedly high grades of Social Studies students in St. Francis Xavier High.
The visualization won two awards: the Best Made in Alberta App and the Best Overall App. Contest officials were thrilled with the visualization and our project was deemed the best out of 28 other submissions from around the world. To them, the app showcases just how valuable open data and open data collaboration can be to the public.