Surfing to … Czech Republic

Hope you have all had a great summer and gained energy to continue developing your websites to provide the best a user could have. The summer has seen the development of the blog for these reviews – allowing feedback from readers. I am grateful to Katja Snuderl, Statistics Slovenia, for her work on this.

Last month I surfed across the Atlantic to the USA where vast resources are available for the presentation of statistics. The question that one has to pose is whether such vast resources are needed to put together a statistical site that allows users many ways into the statistics. The Czech Statistical Office used to be in the lead in the presentation of yearbooks on CD-Roms and the multi-faceted home page (http://www.czso.cz/eng/redakce.nsf/i/home ) is also in the lead of providers. This is because the user has different entrances to the statistics and differing provision from the one home page.

Both of the test statistics, CPI and population are shown in the left-hand column and also feature in more detail in the links at the top of the column under the heading ‘Most visited’. At the foot of the column is a link to animated charts: clearly something the office wishes to promote! Some charts are relatively simple bar charts or graphs which have been made more interesting to the younger user (e.g. that for number of job applicants per vacancy).

For those requiring even more detailed data, the tabs across the top of the page have drop down menus with greater depth of statistics – and the final tab is for ‘comprehensive data’!

As I was a fan of the yearbook from this office, I then followed the link on the left to ‘Yearbooks’. The past 9 are available electronically and each allows a drill-down into the inner depths. Tables are in Excel format or download; methodology notes in Word or PDF and charts in HTML. Because of the intuitive presentation, the user will find all of this exceptionally easy to use – and the site is bilingual.

The central column contains links to the press notices. And here I find my only suggestion for improvement: the words describe the series of statistics and not the message. The top notice for the day of the review was titled ‘Business cycle survey (September 2010)’: linking to the release gives the main message in both the heading and the first sentence ‘Business confidence in domestic economy decreased slightly in September.’ Putting this statement on the web link is more meaningful to users rather than the series.

On the right of the Home page, the e-book and datasets has links to a great number of tables, time series and methodology notes. Not once did I come across a page in Czech and even the detailed notes to tables and time series are all in English. For many of the products, two formats are available – one fixed format (PDF) and one usable by the user (HTML, Excel or Word). Navigation is easy and intuitive.

A minor inconsistency is noticeable between tables and some charts where the decimal separator is shown as a full stop in tables and a comma in charts; also between the statistics in the press release and the same statistics shown on the left-hand margin.

Despite these minor issues, the site is one that users will value and use often because it is easy to find what you are looking for.

Happy surfing …

This review was undertaken by Ed Swires-Hennessy using Internet Explorer version 7.0 on 28 September 2010 at 10.00 hrs GMT using a 20 Mb link to the Internet on a Pentium 4 1.7 GHz machine.

This and reviews since January 2009 are published in the blog; earlier reviews are published to my website, http://www.surfingwithed.org.uk 

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