Surfing to .. Iceland

The cold weather in the United Kingdom at the moment reminds me of Iceland. A major difference is that here we are suffering a consequent shortage of gas supplies whereas in Iceland it is possible to get some geothermal energy for heating! It is some years since I have surfed over to Iceland and this trip provides a similar experience to last time – one of pleasure and a vital organisation. The site can be accessed at www.statice.is .

The Home page is subtle in colouring and pleasant on the eyes. Its organisation is good and the limiting of just three press releases in the top of the centre column allows a little more of the highlights to be shared here. Another four releases are noted in the section below but with no highlights. The left hand column is mainly navigation for the statistics by theme. Following the links here takes the user to a page of information on the theme and expands the navigation on the left-hand column to many more sub-topics.

The latest population datum is given in the key figures on the Home page but, to investigate the themed data, I followed the population theme and found the appropriate PC-Axis data cube for population and simply – within two seconds – had chosen from the four possible dimensions and had my number delivered! That is what I call user-friendly.

On the right-hand column four heading are given that are hyperlinked: all take the user to a simple chart of the various topics. The only issue I had was that, whilst the unemployment chart was showing the heading was still active – and I felt it was to link to something – like the latest press release. The same is true for the other headings when their chart is displayed. Below these chart links are the key figures. Both population and CPI are shown. It would be helpful to the user if these data could be linked to the latest respective press releases.

I looked into other themes of statistics and found the response to data requests just as quick as the first and easy to operate.

Looking at the About Statistics Iceland section, not only is there an organogram but also a full telephone and email list of the staff. And here I found the only inconsistency: on the Contact us page, the times of opening are given in the 12 hour clock format but the lunch hour is given in the 24 hour clock format.

So, just one or two minor suggestions together and one minor inconsistency add up to a very good user-friendly site. It seeks to please the user by providing clear and sought after information (names and temperature data) in a format that is easy to use. The use of PC-Axis is good from the user perspective as it allows export to various formats: the down side is that its charting facility does not always produce strictly intuitive charts (try searching on bicycle, choosing the traffic accident data, then drivers of bicycles over a 20 year period and graphing the resultant data: 20 bars on a bar chart – each of a different colour. Converting to a graph did not produce anything. Other options are available: adding persons killed to get a second series and then graphing produces nonsense instead of a comparative pair of graphs.)

Happy surfing …

This review was undertaken by Ed Swires-Hennessy using Internet Explorer version 9.0 on 28 March 2013 at 15.00 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

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