Surfing to … Turkey

Having just returned from Turkey, I thought that would be an appropriate site to review for this month. The Turkish Statistical Institute site can be found at and should open in English. If not the language switch is where you would have come to expect it – at the top right of the home page. As an aside, I did review a couple of sites recently that did not have the language switch in the top right-hand corner of the page – which sends the users hunting! The message here is do not go against the expected (Home page link on top left of navigation, office logo linked to Home page wherever you are in the site – which means you always need the logo on pages!! – black text not hyperlinked etc.). The Turkish Institute site does not have a visible link to the Home page in the navigation bar but a house icon appears when you move away from the Home page as the first item in a thread (but the tool tip was in Turkish) – apart from on several pages where a thread does not appear. On one page no link was available to any of the major parts of the site – including the Home page.

The Home page itself looks quite well set out at first glance. Then it becomes clear that you are only seeing half of the Home page and have to scroll down to see the other screen-full. The awful three-dimensional diagram is a waste of space, poorly presented and not hyperlinked. To the right of the diagram was a scrolling set of news items: on the day of the review only one appeared – with a flashing ‘New’ sign – despite it having been on the site for 20 days. Back to the top of the page. Only one item in the top navigation has a tool tip and that expands on the ‘Info Demand’ link. The drop-down menu from ‘About us’ is centered – making it harder to read: this could be ordered alphabetically. The ‘Site Guide’ is a mass of densely packed words to start which is very non-friendly to users.

The center top of the home page is a list of press release. Each is in black type as the list of statistical themes to the left. However, the press releases have a hover change to blue underlined text unlike the text of the statistical themes. The press releases are titles of the statistics only and do not give any indication of the key message from the release.

The top link on the right is to 5 years’ worth of press release. The words indicate a calendar of forthcoming releases but, in fact, it is 180 pages of historic releases. One visible in the first screen full on the day of review was the CPI release (issued 3 October).  The graph included within the press release was poorly presented. Then to find population. I spotted a link on the Home page, right-hand side, to current summary data: population was not there. Data in these tables was centered in the columns with a space as a thousands’ separator. To the statistical themes links on the left – Population, and to the Population and projections link in the pulled-out list: the population figure appears – with a full-stop used as a thousands’ separator.

Databases are linked from the right-hand navigation list. Following this link, the user is presented with a page of icons without any other navigation! Even the text under the icons is not hyperlinked. Rolling over an icon produces one or more links in the center of the page – the lists having different presentation characteristics. From the Population icon, I noted the non-user friendly titles: what is ABPRS to the ordinary user? I followed the link and specified a table to be produced in Excel – but was just returned to the first page of specification.

This site needs a major overhaul: some links need fixing, as some produced Javascript errors; remove the inconsistent and poor presentation; remove redundancy; improve the site’s user-friendliness.

Happy surfing …

This review was undertaken by Ed Swires-Hennessy using Internet Explorer version 7.0 on 19 October 2011 at 17.30 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,


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