The Swedish Home page (http://www.scb.se/default____2154.aspx ) is like few others! It is a fixed width page and the content easily fits within one screen depth. All navigation is basically either in the top navigation of within each of the stories/key figures.
A cycling portion immediately below the navigation has just five elements and has a facility to switch to any one if just missed the link. A minor improvement would also be to link the picture to the story as well as the text – as the link in the text does not appear in the blue used for links until one rolls over it. The text visible on the home page is more extensive than key headlines for some stories – but only the main story of the day has more than the key headline.
Five key figures are shown with hyperlinks clearly distinguishable: below these is the link to four pages of further key data: it would be sensible to first display the headings at the top of these key data with bookmark links to the actual sections. Also, the headings to the columns of data do not remain visible beyond the first screen – so need to be repeated.
Going beyond the Home page shows a design with some contextual left- and right-hand navigation. The tab Finding statistics is a clear signpost: the reward is again a clear four-way categorisation of the possible routes in the centre section together with other entry paths to the left and right. Following the statistical databases takes the user to a page with lists of topics where the information is in English or Swedish. Population leads to a link to metadata followed by a long list of data cubes: choosing one allows, as expected, the personal selection of the required data – which can be easily exported. The data here are presented without thousands’ separators: other tables examined did have the space as a thousands’ separator. A new version of the database was linked at the top of the subject list which – as the statement says – is easier to navigate and does not have the language differences (apparently).
I also looked at life expectancy, a table on which I found in the old system but could not find in the new system – or in the alphabetic index (from left-hand navigation). The A-Z listing is helpful to the user in that an alphabet is at the top of the page and each section has a ‘return to top of page’ link below it.
From the alphabetic listing, I went to the CPI: the page was interesting in its layout and presented alternate forms of price measures, links to the latest release and, on the right-hand navigation, a link to metadata.
Back to the Finding statistics page, I took the path to the Statistical Yearbook on the right-hand navigation. The result was surprising! The page delivered was an overview of the publication and above this was a set of four tabs: I chose the tables and graphs tab and was presented only with one option ‘Sharp increase of elderly persons’! At the foot of the page was a link to the corrected publication and it appeared to give options for PDF files. Looking in, I found the whole was available (in English?) at 38 Mb but all of the sections were in Swedish.
The site is welcoming, very different and well worth a long look. Many of the features are presented in a fairly standard way but the navigation is user friendly and contextual.
Happy surfing …
This review was undertaken by Ed Swires-Hennessy using Internet Explorer version 7.0 on 27 November 2012 at 18.00 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