User-centered redesign


The mission

Since the Open.NRW portal was launched in 2015, both the volume of open data made available and the number of users have increased continuously.  In order to further increase the acceptance of the offer and more closely realise the concept of a “Wunderbox” (magic chest, as the data platform is referred to) that better connects the stakeholders in the Open Data community, there is to be a redesign of the portal that is oriented to the real needs of the user groups. The objective is to more easily integrate the open geodata from GEOportal.NRW and establish the mutual exchange with the Open.NRW portal. Moreover, a concept must be devised for the migration of the portal to the DCAT-AP.DE metadata standard, which is soon to be applicable throughout Germany.


The experts at con terra have superbly advised us with regard to the user-centered design and architecture for the Open.NRW portal. By means of UCD we were able to accurately compile the requirements of our users and discuss them quickly and understandably with the aid of demonstrative prototypes. Now the Open.NRW portal can be expanded based on a future-proof and widely-supported architecture.

Dr. Björn Fleischer - Head of the Open.NRW office

The customer

The Open.NRW office is part of the Ministry of Economy, Innovation, Digitalisation and Energy of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia and reports to the state government representative for information technology (CIO). Open.NRW puts the Open Government philosophy of an open, transparent and networked government and administration into effect in North Rhine-Westphalia on the basis of the Open.NRW strategy. The three pillars of the strategy  – Open Data, Participation and Cooperation – are an integral part of the active conduct and work of Open.NRW. 


Since the spring of 2015 the state government of North Rhine-Westphalia has publicly provided open data through the Open.NRW portal. The portal is the central assembly area for Open Government activities and open records from all over North Rhine-Westphalia. The user groups who work with this data are correspondingly diverse.




The solution

The revision of the open.NRW portal is split up, for one, in service offerings based on a user-centered design (UCD) and, for another, in conceptual services for the overall architecture. By applying the UCD methods, the specific requirements and contexts of the actual users and data providers are taken into account. The conceptual services include, among other things, the draft for a sustainable architecture for the exchange of data between Open.NRW Portal and GEOportal.NRW and with the municipal data providers.

The solution is based on


DCAT-AP.DE and INSPIRE standards (ISO 19119 & 11939)


ISO standard 9241-210, an iterative and incremental process


UCD workshops with relevant stakeholders


Personas, user stories and prototypes

The derived value

The results of the interactive UCD workshop serve as an important decision-making aid for the user-centric and sustainable revision of the Open.NRW portal. Thanks to the involvement of numerous relevant stakeholders (including departments of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, municipal authorities, users and developers from the business community, and the general public), a high level of acceptance of the measures can be ensured. Based on the results, a future-proof overall architecture will be created which meets all standards in the Open Data and geodata context. Among other things, this ensures a long-term and efficient exchange between the Open.NRW portal and GEOportal.NRW. This boosts both the efficiency within the state administration as well as in interaction between federal, state and local authorities.



The Open.NRW portal is an assembly area for Open Data and Open Government activities


A user-centric revision of the portal


Sustainable through standards in the areas of Open Data and geodata infrastructures


User-centered design from con terra


Interactive workshops with relevant stakeholders


Creating personas, user stories and prototypes


Transparency and acceptance on the part of the actual users


Open.NRW and GEOportal.NRW will automatically work “hand in hand” in terms of data management

Download Case Study
User-centered redesign (PDF)

Your contact

Dr. Thore Fechner

Dr. Thore Fechner

+49 251 59689 300