Looking through the countries I have already surfed to, I noticed that Austria was not amongst them. So, yearning to see the delights of Vienna again, I found easily the link to Statistics Austria website (https://www.statistik.at/web_en/). The first impression of this site is a clean and well-organised Home page. Sadly, the user’s attention is quickly drawn to a cycling set of animated graphs in the right-hand column titled ‘How’s Austria?’ I could not stop myself from watching a few moments and then I saw a chart on labour productivity that I wanted to return to: it appeared not to be possible. Rolling over the next chart, showed it to be hyperlinked and so I followed the link and was presented with a new page with the chart enlarged and a set of three tabs below the chart with statistical series titles listed in each. Beside each title was a check box and clicking on this overlaid the graph for that on the one already displayed. On the other side of the series title was what appeared to be weather symbols in two columns headed ST and LT (short-term and long-term). To the bottom right of the chart a PDF symbol with the word ‘Overview’ takes the user to a display of all of the indicators – with the weather symbols. To be fair, a full set of the symbols is at the bottom of the page and it can be reasonably assumed that the full sun is a bright outlook!
Returning to my more normal review, I tested the navigation on the Home page. Some inconsistencies are present. Black text is hyperlinked in the left-hand navigation – except in the headings of the sections; in the centre column, the whole summary of a release is hyperlinked as are the standard or emboldened one line titles of releases but one of the red headings is not; in the right-hand column, the black text of indicator descriptions is not hyperlinked – but the headings, in red, are.
The Home page is actually the page obtained through the ‘Statistics’ link on the top navigation. Following the link to any of the themes, one is presented with a summary of the theme together with a set of links to data series contained in STATcube – the statistical database of Statistics Austria. Following a link yields the data series together with a structure on the left-hand side of the screen of all elements of the cube. In the cube that contains buildings and dwellings, some of the possible dimensions were in German and when ticking the box alongside and applying to the row or column of the table, the result is a table in with some of the row/column headings in one language and some in another and I don’t mean a fully bilingual table. Putting this small inconvenience aside, the STATcube delivery of data is quick and can be tailored by the user to produce the information required.
Above the table produced were three tabs: Tableview, Chartview and Colourview. I tried Chartview and was faced with a multiple bar chart for each of the four time periods. The later periods had 10 bars of different colours –with the legend replacing the possible cube dimensions in the left-hand column. The y-axis scale went up to 1.3 million but the numbers to 900000 did not have thousands separators and the numbers above that only showed .000000, .100000, .200000 etc.
The next tab on the top navigation is Classifications. This page illustrates an issue with presentation of information on the web. This page was last changed in 2011 but the final phrase of the text states ‘which is due to come into effect in Austria in 2008’. This issue is covered by the fifth of my key words for data presentation – Current. NSIs must have a means of keeping time specific information up to date either through a full regular review of the content or a specific review data attached to individual information pages.
The Surveys tab on the English language version of the site just lists surveys sorted by type – without links to the survey instruments or any information about the surveys. The German version of the site does have some survey information and links to survey instruments. The addition of a sentence explaining that the survey documentation and questionnaires are only available in German should be added to the relevant pages.
Meta-information is only available on the German version of the site.
The STATcube tables do not have totals: so looking at the population of Austria according to the 2011 Census, I was given two numbers, for males and for females. When I then broke the two figures down by the three regions of Austria, the total figures disappeared from the table! I looked at the Chartview – not too helpful. At the bottom of the chart was a set of options: I chose the pie chart option and was then given just two pie charts for male/female split – but there are three regions!
Nevertheless, the STATcube principle of being able to produce your own table as opposed to just having static tables is a good advance. Some of the ancillary parts do, however, need some attention.
Happy surfing …
This review was undertaken by Ed Swires-Hennessy using Internet Explorer version 9.0 on 28 September at 15.30 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