Report from the Bring Your Own Data workshop: One of the aims of the Bring Your Own Data (BYOD) workshop was to understand more about the people who will use the Human Exposome Assessment Platform (HEAP) once it is completed. After all, knowing your audience is the key to good design.

The BYOD participants, which included HEAP’s future data providers and data users, were invited to one-to-one interviews about their interests, expectations and hopes regarding the platform.

Their job fields ranged from academic research, to software development, bioinformatics and biostatistics, from institutions including Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, the University of Oulu in Finland, Denmark’s Statens Serum Institut, the Medical University of Graz in Austria and Stanford University in the USA.

The HEAP “Persona” interview used an adapted template, including: Why did they want to use HEAP? What were their ethical considerations when handling and analysing data? Could they offer any training or expertise to other users?

These interviews give an overview of the profiles of future HEAP users. Common themes emerged, including the need for simple User Interfaces and tutorials for those without a background in data and computer science. The participants also said how much they had valued the chance for hands on work and collaboration with the other HEAP data cohort projects as they began testing their data within the platform, and stressed the importance of ongoing communication between software developers, data analysts and researchers as the HEAP platform takes shape.

Anouk Berger, Leader of HEAP’s Education and Dissemination Work Package, said: “Another benefit of developing “personas” is to help us identify knowledge and skills required to use the platform and define HEAP’s training needs. With these insights, we can start planning events and developing guidance and learning material.”

Sara Arroyo, a researcher at Karolinska Institutet, said “The BYOD workshop was the first time I have been asked in a project “What are your needs?” I very much appreciated being asked my opinion”. 

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