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Google Data Discovery and Access Platform: permissions management for a global genomics platform

The Data Discovery and Access Platform (DDAP) is an open-source platform funded by Google that securely exposes genomics data in a way that is discoverable and facilitates access for running analysis in the cloud. Working closely with data providers and life science researchers we identified key needs for sharing and accessing genomics data in the cloud:

  • Automatically deploying data onto cloud with configurable data access rules and levels conformant to their data use policies
  • Making data discoverable to external consumers (life science researchers)
  • Testing researcher data discovery and access
  • Testing running of analyses on genomic data
  • Releasing the tested configuration to their cloud production environment to enable discovery and access to their production datasets.
  • Securely exposing data with configurable access rules
  • Tiered access: with any account see public data, with authorized accounts providing varied levels of access to protected data

My first task as a designer: identify top-level initial components to facilitate sharing between providers and researchers.

User research and wireframing

Top user and administration use cases were mapped against the components to make sure that the flow provides enough flexibility for users to configure permissions with ease:

  1. The Identity Concentrator for mapping user identity between multiple identity providers;
  2. The Data Access Manager using dynamically configured access control policies to govern access to secured resources;
  3. The Data Discovery Portal allowing data custodians to automatically enable discovery for applicable data, and allows researchers to discover datasets, perform federated discovery queries, and request access to the datasets.

Wireframes were produced to test basic assumptions of the flow and future interface to be designed with Material Design.

Both user and administrator user flows have to seamlessly integrate in one application.

Accessing genomics data instantly from search results was a major consideration.


Researcher-facing interface was considered for general public accessing the data.

Complex configuration settings for administrators were translated into easy-to-use inputs.

View wireframes


After carrying out research, reaching a saturation point in our findings and narrowing down the feature set for both users and administrators, we designed all of the applicable flows and forms using both Material Design and custom-built components. Authentication, configuration flows and forms were implemented to allow users to set up and manage their own genomics data repository.

Login flows accomodate several ways for users to register and login to DDAP, both as a user and an administrator.

Identifying relevant genomics data in search results is a complex and unique challenge.

Quickly accessing genomics data is a key consideration in the dataset interface.

Complex configuration options are presented as user-friendly forms.

View prototype

What’s next?

New features are being developed and tested with a variety of parters and data sources, to be released as a complete open source solution.