What a delight to go to a home page through a Google search of ‘Official Statistics Portugal’ and to have the first entry returned as the Home page – in English – of the National Statistical Institute of Portugal (www.ine.pt ). The Home page has all of the main elements on the one screen view and, at first glance, appears well balanced with colour.
A closer look at the navigation shows some confusion in design. The top navigation is white text on blue background but so are the non-hyperlinked major headings on the left-hand navigation. The press releases in the middle section have dates in blue and, having looked at the key data first (which has blue text as hyperlinks), I assumed the blue text here would also be hyperlinked. That is not the case – it is the black text that is hyperlinked! The black text under the REVSTAT journal graphic on the right-hand side is not hyperlinked. Following the Statistical data link in the top of the left-hand navigation produces a list of links in blue: following the Publications link produces links in black – together with black text that is not hyperlinked.
The two main indicators I look for are both in the key data section at the top of the right-hand side – and link to more data. In this section of the page, the thousands’ separator is a space and the decimal separator is a comma: in National Accounts tables, the thousands’ separator is a comma and the decimal separator is a full stop. Within some of the regional yearbooks, a third presentation can be found: thousands’ separator as a space with a full stop as the decimal separator. Consistency of presentation is a real requirement for the casual user.
Within the Housing stock data, I also came across some text in a table that was not translated: this also occurs in some of the tables within regional yearbooks. One other issue that is quickly apparent is that files for download do not have any indication of size until, that is, one follows the link and finds that, not only is size given but also one can have the information in either PDF, CSV or Excel format! Where a chapter or part of a chapter comprises many tables, the link opens a list of tables: unusually only the text within the first cell of the row is hyperlinked.
Two items make this an interesting site for me as a reviewer: first, under Help on the top navigation, the team are developing a set of Frequently Asked Questions. This may develop into a really useful addition to the site – and could save many hours of research to find definitions. However, if the number of questions grows a great deal, it will be necessary to categorise them and put a bookmarked list together. Second, under Contact Us on the top navigation, the link Feedback on website presents the user with a very short survey about the site. It would be interesting to find out how many people actually find this page and complete the survey.
The Census maps only currently return information in Portuguese and the metadata, though presented in English for those definitions that I tried, some had choices below the explanation in Portuguese!
This site is well worth a visit to get some of the developing concepts. However, a greater consistency of presentation both of data and hyperlinks would be needed to propel this site into a great site for users.
Happy surfing …
This review was undertaken by Ed Swires-Hennessy using Internet Explorer version 7.0 on 21 December 2012 at 21.00 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