Africa is a continent that has had little surfing to, so this month I have decided to surf to Nigeria. Checking back through my records, I note this is the first review of that country’s website. The site of the National Bureau of Statistics of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (http://www.nigerianstat.gov.ng/ ) provides a strange mix of items on the Home page. The cycling top panel with pictures is vibrant but none of the pictures appears to be linked to anything advertised. Only on hovering over the pictures do the arrows to move backwards and forwards through the banners appear. The data portal is clearly visible at the bottom right of the banner – but why is this statistics site displaying general financial news feeds from Reuters? If they related only to Nigeria that would be just acceptable but one displayed on the day of the visit was ‘The Great British Tax Giveaway’ – irrelevant to Nigerians.
The navigation from the Home page is inconsistent with some parts linked and some not (Key indicators should be linked to the displayed data), some headings linked and some not (e.g. Resources is linked, Key Indicators is not). The key facts below the Latest News appear change each time the Home page is visited and appear to be hyperlinked – but nothing appears when trying to follow one of them!
The summary stories below the key facts do have arrows visible to move between them: but what are they? Certainly not the latest press releases – they are in the right-hand column. Most stories appeared to be about GDP rebasing which most visitors to the site would not be too interested in. Such prominence puts the real statistical news into a place of lower importance (right-hand column) or the Key indicators panel: the former does not have the key storyline shown – just the type of statistics.
Further down the page the available publications are shown: the Annual Abstract of Statistics can be downloaded – but it is 23.4 Mb! A lot to download if one is only looking for a couple of figures. So instead of using that to find my key surfing data, I chose the Data Portal. However, the Data Portal is a start to portray the statistics through data visualisation techniques and opens on Maps not databases. Looking at the first of the population visualisations (Distribution of the population aged 0-4), the map shown had each of the districts coloured according to a scale – but the scale colours were different for each division – not shades of the same colour. So the user cannot see the real distribution easily but has always to keep referring to the legend. And the title of the visualisation was neither shown fully in the left-hand schema nor in the displayed title.
After much searching, I did find the total population of the country through the Data Search in the Data Portal and examining the Annual Abstract. The data displayed were to two places of decimals!
Then I noticed right at the top of the Home page the option to Browse Sector Statistics. I chose population – but did not get any statistics – only words. The links to the right of the page did link to the latest press releases but these were those of the list on the Home page and not ones specific to population.
One interesting part of the Home page is the poll about the changes to the website and results to date: the presentation of the percentages is inconsistent with different numbers of decimal places shown.
Wishing all my readers a Happy Christmas and a wonderful New Year of Surfing for Statistics.
This review was undertaken by Ed Swires-Hennessy using Internet Explorer version 9.0 on 20 December at 10.30 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