It is some 7 years since I have reviewed the site for official statistics at the Department of Statistics in Malaysia (http://www.statistics.gov.my/). Searching for official statistics Malaysia in Google brought the link for the site to the top. The first thing one notices on the Home page is the bright colours and the moving parts – including some sayings about statistics (a few of which were not translated to English)! The length of the page is roughly two screens’ deep which inevitably hides some important items. Unusually, the navigation is to the top and right – maintained through the site as the item of right-hand navigation stay displayed on many pages. This is the first site seen to have a direct link for mobile users – with a scan code.
At the bottom of the page is a quick survey for users to indicate how they knew about the organisation: at the time of writing almost 1,000 responses had been summarised to show 41 per cent of visitors knew about the site via the Internet and 46 per cent were looking for the site to get data to help with research or study.
The top navigation is through drop down menus, some of which also have sub-menus appearing from them. They are easy to use and certainly reduce the need for very long navigation choices. Can you put your navigation into a shorter hierarchy? Below the top navigation is another first – an attempt to provide different types of users with different pages of quick links on the same site. Then comes the search box– in a very prominent position. Hyperlinks are clear and consistent which makes life easier for the user.
The two statistics I look for – population and CPI – are both easy to locate: the population figure is in a graphic on the right-hand side along with the world population; the CPI is one of the highlights (even though it is cycling through many options). The information can also be found through the publications – though some were large (e.g. 24.96 Mb) and did not indicate the size. Many of the diagrams in publications were in three dimensions and thus lacked the precision of the data in presentation.
On the day of the review, some of the announcements (Home page, left-hand side, below visible screen) were only in Malay: this may be a technical issue or a linking issue. In a few places (CPI release tables and the Excel data for Economic indicators) data were centred in columns as opposed to right justified. The Excel sheet also appeared to have a picture in it which could not be accessed.
The organisation of this site is good but has used some poor presentation both in tables and in the site itself. Adding sizes to files would stop a user downloading very large files inadvertently – to look at just one figure. The cycling news of latest data would be better presented as a fixed set of key data with hyperlinks to the releases.
Happy surfing …
This review was undertaken by Ed Swires-Hennessy using Internet Explorer version 7.0 on 5 November 2012 at 19.00 hrs GMT using a 60 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