Open standards for data website design and development tender

The Open Data Institute is publishing a guidebook to facilitate the creation of open standards for data. We are seeking design and development skills to support the development of the website.

Building on our existing research, content guidelines and requirements, you will work with us to plan the new site layout, define the visual identity, choose technology, build the site and migrate content where necessary.

Target audiences

Key stakeholders new to or part of the community:


  • Public and private sector organisations developing data standards
  • Policy specialists
  • Domain experts involved in standards development
  • Data publishers and consumers
  • Funders


  • Standards development organisations
  • ODI delivery team

Intended uses

  • Describe the role that standards play in enabling data ecosystems, to solve problems across businesses, sectors and society
  • Identify when and how to develop data standards, with reference to a common process model that draws on comparative research across a variety of standardisation activities and standards organisations
  • Describe the variety of types of data standards and how they complement one another in developing robust data ecosystems
  • Collect together case studies and other reference materials that showcase a variety of approaches and methods that can be used to support creation of standards
  • Provide a series of tools, checklists and templates that can be used to help drive the creation and adoption of standards across the life cycle
  • Signpost communities towards standards bodies, tools and processes that can provide support in their goals to develop and improve standards in their sectors and communities
  • Support submission and improvements to the core content by the wider community

Budget: Up to £25,000 (exclusive of VAT) Tender decision by: Friday 29 December 2017 Contact for submissions and queries: Miranda Marcus: [email protected]/ [email protected] Tender closes: Thursday 21 December 2017, 23:59 GMT

1. Background

The Open Data Institute has spent the last few months researching the variety of approaches that organisations are using to develop data standards for their sector. The work has involved desk research, user research and collaborations with organisations experienced in standards development in a variety of sectors.

We have identified the need for better guidance and tools to support the creation of more well-designed and well-adopted standards by a greater variety of organisations.

Our goal is to create a guidebook that will support data practitioners in creating, developing and adopting open standards for data.

We are in the process of developing a variety of guidance documents, tools and checklists that will be used to populate the guidebook website. We are seeking a supplier to help with with the development and build of the website so that we can focus on content creation.

2. Aims

The guidebook is intended to support a variety of users, including policy leads, domain experts and technologists.

Our intention is to offer support to organisations and projects that have limited experience with standards development and need support to understand how best to approach the creation of new standards. With this in mind, the content of the website will be written to ensure that it is accessible a wide audience.

Rather than create lengthy process documentation and guidance, the website will aim to use a variety of approaches to ensure that the content is engaging and useful. This will include:

  • organising content based on both the stages in the standards process process, as well as its suitability for different audiences. This will help to guide users to the most relevant content and tools
  • use of infographics, visual references and iconography to help present process documentation and make the guidance easily navigable and shareable
  • use of video and/or audio to provide summaries of key points and to share insight using the voice of the community
  • inclusion of case studies that demonstrate the different approaches to standards development and the impacts they have
  • provision of template documents (e.g. canvases, checklists) alongside website content to make recommendations actionable
  • linking out to resources developed by the community to showcase a variety of approaches

A useful reference point for the guidebook is the GDS service manual. While that manual supports a wider variety of users and uses, at the core it helps to document the process of service delivery and its related activities.

We are intending to work with a graphic designer to commission some infographics for the guidebook, Our consultants will be working to produce and test the tools and guidance, and we will be working with a producer to create some audio/video content.

We will be looking to the successful supplier to help us design a suitable website structure and implementation that will support this variety of content types.

The website will be published as open source, under an open licence. We want to allow the data standards community to contribute to the website over time. The implementation will need to support an easy way to accept submissions from a variety of users, e.g. addition of links to new resources, corrections or improvements to content and submission of new resources, including audio/video, etc.

3. Audience


  • Public and private sector organisations developing data standards – we want these organisations to understand what a good standards development process looks like, identify the resources and partners available to support them in creating robust standards, and in sharing their success stories
  • Policy specialists – we want policy people exploring how open data and data standards can help implement policy goals or legislation to understand the impacts and benefits of data standards and the processes involved in their development**
  • Domain experts involved in standards development – we want individuals working to develop standards across different domains to understand the activities involved in standards development to help define and improve their processes, and collaborate effectively to achieve results. We want to share the voices of the community to help standards developers learn from one another
  • Data publishers and consumers – when asked to be involved in standards development, or to adopt standards within their applications, we want the guidebook to provide a useful resource that communicates the benefits of standardisations
  • Funders – standards development takes time to achieve results, we want funders to understand the need for ongoing investment and support around standards development


  • Standards development organisations – there are a number of sector specific, national and international standards development organisations, we want to help them promote their services and experience to those who could benefit from it. We hope to encourage contribution of content, including links or new tools from these organisations
  • ODI consultants and researchers – the ODI is involved in a variety of standards development projects, our team of researchers and consultants need to be able to maintain and improve the guidebook as we develop new resources in our work

4. Treatment

Data standards and their development can be seen as an abstract, technical process. We are keen to provide an accessible introduction to standards development that showcases the variety of skills, organisations and benefits that standards can achieve.

Our audience should feel:

  • Confident – in the guidance and support they are receiving
  • Informed – by an authoritative and engaging set of resources and evolving guidance to help shape their standards development practices
  • Encouraged – to take the guidance and tools and adapt and improve them for their own needs
  • Connected – to a wider community of organisations involved in standards development

5. What the website will be used for

The website is intended to act as a reference for any organisation or initiative who are currently planning, or are already involved in the development of data standards.

We expect the guidebook to include a mixture of

  • Short essays and summaries that explain the key stages in the development of open standards
  • List of resources and additional reading that are available elsewhere on the web, to help showcase the resources being developed by the wider community
  • Case studies
  • Infographics
  • Interviews with standards developers and representatives from standards organisations, as either video or audio podcasts
  • Downloadable templates, checklists and other tools to support standards development processes
  • “How to” guides that describe how to use, e.g. github to manage issues raised during standards development
  • Links to either new or existing e-learning modules developed by our learning team
  • Contact details of the ODI and other organisations involved in standards development
  • Signposting to community forums on Slack, mailing lists or other forums

The content for the website is intended to evolve over time and should easily accept new content from both the ODI team and the wider community.

We are developing a content outline and checklist which can be shared with the successful supplier at the start of the project.

6. What we need from you

To date we have carried out initial activities covering:

  • Research on user needs for those involved in standards development
  • Desk research to develop case studies and some initial content to be used on the site
  • Identifying the range and type of content to be included
  • Preparing briefs for the infographics
  • Early development and testing of some of the tools and templates
  • Collating lists of related work by other organisations
  • Identifying our needs around website analytics
  • Identifying our approach to making the guidebook open and sustainable
  • Identifying how the guidebook aligns with the ODI’s other outputs from its R&D projects and our other delivery work

In addition to these we will be:

  • Continuing to develop the content outline and checklist
  • Continuing to develop new tools and templates
  • Recording interviews with standards developers and organisations
  • Creating documentation describing how others can contribute to the guidebook, with your input

We would like you to work with us to achieve the following:

We’re open to the activities that you carry out to achieve the below and would like to hear your plans and proposed process as part of your response.

  • UX design work - creation of designs and layouts to reflect our requirements, including annotations in order to convey information such as journeys, states, and variants - this could be through sketches, digital wireframes, or prototypes. We will work with you to define content priorities/hierarchy
  • Creation of the information architecture and sitemap
  • ODI brand - work with our Head of Content and Head of Marketing to align the look and feel of the website with the existing ODI brand identity, including that used in our labs products
  • Accessibility and quality - work with our Head of Marketing to ensure accessibility and quality is up to the same standards as the main ODI website
  • Produce website designs
  • Development of the website:
    • Make technology recommendations
      • We plan to use GitHub pages or a similar host for the site, partly to support and simplify contributions via Github but also to minimise dependencies on paid services (to help with sustainability into the future)
      • We plan to use third-party services (e.g. Vimeo, Soundcloud) to host any audio/video content
      • We’d like your thoughts on the technology approach in your response, but we will work with you to make the final decision beyond the tender process.
    • We intend to track metrics on use of the site, e.g. which sections receive most attention and which downloadable content receives the most use. We would like to integrate tagging within the site. We may need to incorporate this into our existing use of Google Analytics within the ODI
    • We would expect that anything we are delivered would have undergone a degree of functional, cross-browser/device, accessibility, performance testing etc. We would not require more thorough tests (load, penetration etc).
    • Provide input to a short guide that identifies how to submit content to the site.
    • We would expect any site to use responsive web design principles, to be mindful of accessibility (to AA standards at a minimum), and to consider performance. A more detailed list of non-functional requirements and our digital principles will be provided.

Provide ongoing support

  • Guarantee period 1-2 months, with a response time
  • Bug fixes
  • Improvements or future new work on the site will be awarded separately, but we’d like an ongoing relationship

7. How we work

We work in an agile way across the team. You will need to work closely with the project lead and our consultants. We expect to run sprint planning with you on a weekly basis and hold team standups every two days.

We know that things change, and would want to work with you in an agile way to undertake this piece of work.

We use Google Drive to collaborate on documents, and will share resources with you in this way. We’re flexible about what you use, but would strongly prefer ways of working that involve collaboration and where any assets and documentation can easily have shared ownership.

One of our principles is to work in the open wherever possible. As such we would like you to deliver iteratively on a platform that we can test and gather feedback on throughout the project. We don’t want a ‘big reveal’ on the end date; we want to work extremely closely with the chosen supplier throughout.

All of our outputs, including all of the final code and documentation you provide to use will be published under an open licence.

Some face to face contact is ideal, but we’re happy to work with you on what the best working pattern is depending on where you’re based. Our team is already partly remote. You should be capable of working independently, and whilst meetings are required (remotely is fine) you’re not expected to work from our London office.

8. Timeline

The deadline for the project is 28 February 2017, with a detailed schedule below.

Questions may be asked up until the tender closing date, however please be mindful that the ODI team may not be able to respond if they are provided at the last minute!

Further pieces of related work after completion of this contract will be awarded on an individual basis.

  • Thursday 14 December 2017: Open tender
  • Thursday 21 December 2017 at 23:59 GMT: Tender closes
  • Friday 29 December 2017: Decision made
  • Thursday 4 January 2018: Kick-off meeting at ODI office in Shoreditch, London * (Note: if you intend to submit a proposal, please make this day available in your diary now, or let us know in your response if you can’t attend)**
  • Wednesday 28th February 2017, 17:00 GMT: Project completion

9. Form of response

Interested parties should submit a costed proposal (in English) to Miranda Marcus using [email protected] by Thursday 21 December 2017.

This should include:

  • an explanation of your proposed approach to the task (including how you would approach the tasks outlined above and any early thoughts on technology selection), project and budget management
  • a portfolio or case studies illustrating your most relevant work (maximum five projects), that showcases your ability to design and develop similar requirements
  • an explanation of why you are well-placed to deliver the work
  • a list of project milestones with prioritised deliverables
  • a detailed cost breakdown, including any third party costs (hosting, software etc) if you are recommending these as part of your approach)
  • risks, unknown areas that you would like to explore further, dependencies

10. Decision criteria

Suppliers (or those pitching to supply) will be assessed based on:

  • their understanding of the ODI’s plans and requirements
  • the proposed approach to UX, design, development and testing
  • their level of expertise, quality of service, and background

11. Contact

Please address all queries or responses to [email protected] Miranda Marcus and Leigh Dodds will be the main points of contact.

12. Resources

ODI’s procurement policy