Data Repository Design

User Research

User Experience Design

User Interface Design

Axure RP






Organisations that provide research funding are increasingly demanding that funding recipients make their research outputs open-access. This requirement has lead to rapid growth in the demand for publications and data repositories.

EPrints is one of the most popular software packages for building publications repositories. By using various plugins and third-party services, EPrints can also function as a data repository. However, the default user interface of a data repository is the same as the default interface for a publications repository and this causes user confusion and reduces usability. In addition, the default, out-of-the-box interface is not user-friendly and does not meet modern web standards.

Recognising the increasing interest from the University of London’s existing and potential customer base, I undertook a short user research project to better understand the needs of users of data repositories. Based on my research insights, I created low-fidelity wireframes (password: dataset) that demonstrated how “quick-win” changes could resolve many of the issues identified by users. I tested these wireframes with different users and made improvements based on user feedback.

Using the wireframes as a basis, I redeveloped the default data repository interface using Perl, the EPrints API, HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. The first repository to get the redesigned interface was London South Bank University’s Data Repository. Birkbeck also implemented the redesigned interface for BiRD and requested additional features based on their specific requirements (e.g. a navigation menu on an individual dataset record page).

For a complete overview of the project, please download the Data Repository Design Case Study.