From Malta, its sea and sunshine, we surf this month to a land-locked country, Luxembourg. The Statistical Office has created a statistics portal at http://www.statistiques.public.lu/en/ where the Home page has a length of around 2 screens. A summary glance notes three reasons for this. First, that the top navigation is ‘open’, that is instead of drop down menus from the navigation, the menus are all visible. Secondly, the press releases have more than a summary key-point sentence: indeed, some did not have any figures in them and were quite general. The third reason is that the right hand column, which includes the key data and more navigation, extends well beyond the visible screen. Moving away from the Home page, the expanded menus that appear at the top are collapsed and appear as left-hand navigation. One can but wonder whether the site is in development.
On a positive note, the design is clear and crisp with the two statistics always looked for within the key data. Only 5 key data items are displayed and no link is given in this panel to others but the ones that are displayed are linked to more detailed data. A link to Short term indicators is within the next block of links and this takes the user to a non-alphabetic list of indicators. Choosing Industry Producer Prices, the Excel workbook is loaded. The workbook contains English and French editions of the metadata and tables– which have the office’s logo, date of issue and reference clearly displayed.
On an even more positive note, the data themes visible at the top of the page lead the user to a list of groups of tables and/or individual tables. The software used allows the user to switch dimensions of the tables easily and multi-dimensions can be nested to the user’s whim! I looked at the Migration within Population Movement. I was presented with a table of net migration by country and year. This ‘cube’ also contained the components of migration as well as the sex of the mover. It was simple to change the dimensions to give components within sex by year. Options at the top of the page allow export in Excel, CSV or XML and links via LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Other options include setting the table up for printing: I tried this – and the result was not good from a layout point of view with the numbers merging, left justification applied within the table and a split of the table into three parts. The last point is a little spurious as it is possible to set up the page for printing. I chose to set the page for landscape printing and only had then two parts to the table (the second one being a ‘Missing values’ pair of columns) but, on printing, it still printed portrait.
From the print view the user is given two links back to the original table view. The first of these seemed to send the site into space but the second worked instantly taking me back to the table view and thence a simple move to the Home page.
In the top right-hand corner, another set of links contains one for methodology. Opening this gives a clear hyperlinked list of available metadata which also contains methodology notes and legal arrangements.
For those required to complete survey forms, they are available via the Surveys link and a note gives the language version (either German or French as appropriate).
And, finally, if any reader has ideas whilst looking at the site, the navigation that is normally at the bottom of the home page appears at the top here – and includes a feedback link. You can answer 15 questions about the site.
The table manipulation on the site is good – but not as good as that provided by PC-Axis which allows dicing and slicing to provide the required table. The look and feel as well as visual appeal are good.
Happy surfing …
This review was undertaken by Ed Swires-Hennessy using Internet Explorer version 9.0 on 27 June 2013 at 20.30 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