The National Statistics Office, Republic of the Philippines, is an English language site at http://www.census.gov.ph/ . The Home page is over three screens in depth and obviously means that a user had to read/scroll a lot to identify what is available. The aim in design should be to have only the latest five or so releases visible – with clear pointers to where all releases can be accessed, by subject or by date. The main navigation is through the key data, the site map of the few graphics on the home page. All of the text, apart from that embedded in graphics, does change size to assist those with reading difficulties: additionally, the screen width also changes to accommodate the larger text sizes. Hyperlink colours and formats are not consistent through the site and the top navigation on the Home page is very difficult to read – more so if the largest text size is chosen. The link ‘Office Directory’ is a good example of openness showing both the e-mail and telephone numbers of all the heads of section. The revolving stars by the news items in the centre of the Home page add nothing but can be distracting and annoying to users.
The main data for the country is neatly arranged at the top left. Within the key data box all of the statistical descriptors and the data are hyperlinked to more detailed information. Following the population link, a four- page summary of population is presented in a very neat way with an additional navigation list to the left-hand side which links to more detailed data for the regions. The population projections link leads to a list of available resources in press notices or tables. The yellow colour on the top of this screen is not easy to read: on careful examination, it is found to be the top navigation commented on above. The inflation rate is one of the key statistics – and thus does not need to be found on the site. The presentation of information for exports is interesting: following the link from the key data area, the user is presented with a calendar with each element where data is available being hyperlinked. I noted this as good practice many years ago when reviewing the Bank of England’s site.
Although the main tables examined in this review were perfectly presented with very clear titling and data alignment, some of the information in the What’s New section, linked from the bottom of the population projection resources list, did not follow the same ideals, some data being centred in columns.
Hidden well below the first screen of the Home page are links to the publications Philippines in Figures and the Philippines Yearbook. The former has a great amount of detail in the 90 page booklet: many of the data are given to fine precision which is unnecessary in such a summary publication. The yearbook is not available online, the link going to a summary description page of the hardback book without details of cost or availability.
Amongst these links hidden immediately from view is a link to the NSO Reporter – the newsletter of the office! All editions from 2002 are available using a calendar link display.
This site needs to reduce the information on the Home page, ideally to fit into one screen depth. Important links, such as that for the NSO reporter, need to be made more prominent. Nevertheless, this site does have key statistics readily available for users with appropriate links to greater detail and, generally, information is presented well.
Happy surfing … and happy New Year to all readers.
This review was undertaken by Ed Swires-Hennessy using Internet Explorer version 7.0 on 31 December 2010 at 14.00 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