Operating in the open

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I’m not actively involved with the findbusinesssupport.gov.scot team any more. But it’s still a service close to my heart.

I was part of the team that designed and built it in the midst of a global pandemic. And which suddenly learned, unwarned, that we would be the primary vehicle for the Scottish Government’s response to the emergency for businesses.

We were still in Beta in March 2020, so we were just routinely publishing all the data we had about usage. But, as we – de facto, if not officially – became a production service due to necessity, we just continued to do so.

Screenshot of search and filter data from findbusinesssupport.gov.scot from Sep-Oct 2023.
Screenshot of search and filter data from findbusinesssupport.gov.scot from Sep-Oct 2023

Google Analytics has changed a lot since then. We can no longer combine data collected in 2020 with more recent metrics, thanks to Google’s arbitrary decision to deprecate Universal Analytics and force everyone to use their new product, GA4.

Anyway, I made a new dashboard using Google’s new data standards. In the interests of openness, it’s just available to anyone who wants to access the data.

It shows:

  • A summary
  • Search terms
  • Location filters
  • Topic filters
  • Geographic filters
  • Sector filters
  • Support type filters

Unfortunately, Google seems more concerned about rebranding Data Studio to Looker Studio than making the platform actually usable on mobile, so this only works on desktop for now.

So there is a mobile-friendly version too.

I'm a service designer in Scottish Enterprise's unsurprisingly-named service design team. I've been a content designer, editor, UX designer and giant haystacks developer on the web for (gulp) over 25 years.

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