Announcing Our 2020 Roadmap

With full time developers working on the project for the first time in years, 2020 is going to be an ambitious year.

Please note that many of these goals are outside of the core requirements of our grants, so this roadmap is aspirational. We are also only funded through the first half of the year, and seeking funding and partnerships to help make these a reality.

If you’re interested in collaborating in any way, please get in touch.

If you’d like to make an end-of-year contribution, donate today!

Types of Users

We’re taking a look at how different types of users interact with Open States and looking at ways to optimize the distinct experiences people are seeking when they come to us. If you’re interested in this process, it is detailed below, if you’re just interseted in what we’ll be working on, skip ahead to the actual roadmap.

Over the years we have come to think of our audience as having five types of users:

Casual Web User

These are users arriving at the site via a web search, typically looking for information on a specific bill.

Goals: We aim to serve them as quickly as possible, getting them the information they came for quickly & accurately.

Web Power User

Users that use Open States a couple of times a month or more, who arrives at the site intending to search for information.

Goals: Provide deeper information and ways for these users to receive regular updates to the information they come to the site for.

API Standard User

People using a small portion of the API, such as for legislative lookup or small bill tracking widget.

Goals: Improve the reliability and ease of use of the API for one-off-queries.

API Bulk User

An organization using the API to keep a substantial portion of the data, perhaps to provide their own service atop Open States’ data.

Goals: Find new ways to serve this user beyond existing API & bulk data options.

Bulk Data User

A researcher looking for historical information.

Goals: Improve documentation and availability of bulk data, ideally add ability to download interesting slices of data.

Roadmap

Power User Site Features

  • Add user logins & profiles. (Q1)
  • Introduce bill & issue tracking. (Q1)

Data Quality

  • Improve data quality and timeliness. (Ongoing)
  • Provide publicly accessible data quality dashboard. (Q2)

API

  • Improve speed of most popular graph queries. (TBD)
  • Provide simplified endpoints for common queries. (TBD)
  • Introduce a pub/sub type mechanism for staying in sync with bill & vote updates. (TBD)

Bulk Data

  • Add new per-state CSV data exports. (Q1)
  • Add custom data-export creation page. (TBD)
  • Provide bulk geographic data ahead of 2021 redistricting. (TBD)

Community

And finally, we’re going to spend a lot of time working to grow our community. Community is an incredibly important part of the reason Open States is around, and paid staff will let us do work has tended to fall by the wayside:

  • Documentation updates (Q1)
  • New Contributor Support (Q1-Q2)
  • API User Dashboard (Q2-Q3)

Get in touch if you’re interested in helping or giving feedback as we build a better Open States.

If you’d like to make an end-of-year contribution, donate today!

If you haven’t already, please sign up for our mailing list.

We’ll keep an updated version of this roadmap in the documentation.