Some friends planning a trip to mainland Europe from here in Wales mentioned Hungary and I remembered my week of teaching in the Hungarian Central Statistical Office some years ago. The beautiful city stretched across the Danube with magnificent views of their parliament building from the castle on the opposite bank of the river ..
So this month I visited their website (http://www.ksh.hu/?lang=en ) using Google to search for ‘Official statistics Hungary’ – and the first returned entry was the official site. The Home page fits very neatly into one screen with clear delineation between the areas of information. The top navigation is clear and hovering over any one word brings up a drop-down list of other links. For the rest of the page, the main colour for links is emboldened blue text but, for an unknown reason, the links at the bottom of some sections are in plain orange text. At the bottom of the centre section, the ‘In the Spotlight’ area has five cycling elements with an appreciated 10 seconds between switches – but also a set of links below the piece to enable the user to go back to any of the elements.
The Home page had just three of the latest press release – with a meaningful and sizable textual introduction to each. Just four key figures are shown on the bottom right with a link to more. The standard elements of the reviews – population and inflation – were both shown in the visible key figures.
Looking to the left-hand side, the statistical themes are listed in alphabetic order but the real surprise comes when the user follows one of the links. Take population as an example: what a great way of presenting the user with a vast range of choice in a simple way! The user can choose from long time series, annual series, monthly or quarterly series, census information, information from the dissemination database (and this is really worth looking at!!), interactive maps (again another must view – with options to change the parameters of the mapping and the colours), meta-information, press releases etc.
The database is very easy to use and select data required. Even if you choose the minimum for a table from the available dimensions, the user can extend the table by adding dimensions dynamically in a way that they choose (within column or row provision of population data by sex, for example).
And not only does the organisation of the information impress me as a user, so does the product delivery. If one looks into the publications or press release areas, one can have selections by type of product, released in last 7 or 30 days, etc. The press releases are available for instant download, priced publications can be bought through an easy to use shopping system.
Only two minor issues with the site. First, accessing many of the pages opens up a new tab in the browser so that, at the end of the review, I had a large number of tabs open. None of the individual pages open had a link back to the home page: even the one page with the office’s logo was not hyperlinked back to the home page. Second I used the office logo at the top left of the theme pages a few times and was always returned to a Hungarian version of the page.
Nevertheless, all my readers should visit this site, examine it for an hour and be excited at what possibilities could develop in their own sites.
Happy surfing …
This review was undertaken by Ed Swires-Hennessy using Internet Explorer version 9.0 on 28 February 2013 at 11.00 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