Sufing to .. Spain

This week in Newport we are experiencing weather similar to that in Spain – significantly higher temperatures than usual. So I decided to surf over to the Institute of National Statistics of Spain (http://www.ine.es/en/welcome_en.htm). The first impression is that the colours are pleasant to look at and the relatively full page has order and, with a quick glance, most of what the visitor would need – and all from the wholly visible Home page.

The left-hand navigation not only links to eight major themes of data and the central database (INEbase) but also to some of the meta-information. The central portion is split between the provision of key data and the latest press releases – and it is interesting that the key data is before the press releases. This could be because the section is more stable with just elements of data changing.  Each of the key data lines is hyperlinked to a page with everything a user could want: simple explanation of the data series, press release, data, meta-information, methodology, historic data series and information and technical publications.

The news flashes in the middle are simple constructions of the title and, where appropriate, the key message. Obviously these are linked to the full press release – in PDF format. For the releases connected with specific data series, however, a link to ‘more detailed information’ takes the user to the series page with the information described above – including the link to the data.

At the top of the right-hand of the Home page, a chart is displayed with tabs above: one of the tabs is EAPS – which is not a generally used acronym – and means economically active population survey. A tool tip when hovering over this would be useful to those not used to this acronym. The chart for this topic is a poor representation of the statistics: it appears that the unemployed and the employed are roughly equal in number – until you look at the scale! The second link below the charts is to ‘Explica’ to help the user with understanding of the statistics: sadly this links only to a Spanish version of the help program.

INEbase is the central repository of tables of data that the user can extract information from. I looked for the births data and found it very simply with a great variety of different tables available in English. The user is presented with PC-Axis selection panes to choose the elements of each variable in the data cube. Further investigation in the Education theme brought topic pages in English but revealed tables and information only in Spanish – without a warning. This is obviously work in progress and the managers of the site are to be congratulated at having gone so far.

An unusual but very welcome page is linked from the very top of the left-hand column of the Home page – Navigability. I am not sure why I have tries to explain the site – I could have just referred my readers to this!!

A great site with many design and technical features to be jealous of! Have a surf around it – and identify some improvements you would want to put onto your sites. The only negative relates to the one chart.

Happy surfing …

This review was undertaken by Ed Swires-Hennessy using Internet Explorer version 7.0 on 27 March 2012 at 20.00 hrs GMT using a 30 Mb link to the Internet on an Intel Core i3-2100 3.1 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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