Surfing to .. Croatia

Zagreb is an interesting city with a beautiful central square. Just off the square is the main office of the Croatian Bureau of Statistics but we can access their output through the Internet at (http://www.dzs.hr/default_e.htm ). The Home page is a little unbalanced with the very large graphic links just below the top navigation: indeed, three of the four graphic links are included in the top navigation as well! Apart from these graphics, the main part the user is attracted to is the large graph of GDP: above the graph three other links are shown to key data. Two of the graphs have conventional x-axes with time in a continuum from left to right and two have just months of a year with the lines representing the data for each year. Surely the user is interested more in the trend over the whole period rather than trying to spot seasonality. The first part of the left-hand navigation lists a series of topics under ‘Frist results’: these are not hyperlinked to the relevant information! A bookmark could easily be linked to the relevant part of the results.
The user gets a fixed view of the site, movement down the page being via a scroll bar on the right of the left-held page. A few small adjustments to the graphics on the page and the whole could fit in to one view – always desirable for users.

Going to the first release page, the left-hand navigation has changed significantly. The top two both begin with the word ‘first’: perhaps the top one would be better named key results. The second ink is to the first releases: this brings up a very neat selection screen for the user who can then select by year, topic and sub-topic. Choose a year other than the current one (as not much has been released yet) and you will appreciate the simple route in to the vast supply of releases. The next main block in the navigation is for the censuses: the first results of the 2011 Census are available and, sensibly, the CBS has chosen to release the information using PC-Axis tabulation on the Internet (Px-Web). I chose to look at the overall population table and was not only given choices with in each dimension of the table but also offered the option to download the whole table – together with options on the output format, delimiters and page specification. So getting the population figure was very simple. I found the inflation figure through the latest releases: the January 2014 release on CPI was actually found under 2013: surely these should be indexed on the month of issue. The resultant table was easy to copy and lift in to Excel for onward processing.

From the top navigation, the Press Corner take the user to the latest week’s releases and clearly shows what are the next releases to come. Those already released are hyperlinked to the release itself. The releases are well presented in bilingual format with an opening summary and then the data. Each release carries the methodology and coverage notes – which could perhaps be better placed centrally on the website and just a link given on the release.

The last item I looked at was the population by age and sex – via a link below the graphs. The user is presented with a basic population pyramid for 2011. But no scale is given so one is left only looking at the balance of the sexes by age group. Hovering over any bar does bring up the data for that age group and the percentage split: the raw data are formatted without thousands separators (a space is used in the rest of the site) and the percentages have differential rounding. Nevertheless, the user can choose to look through the different years of information available and even look to see what is forecast for 2061 ( a very different age distribution and a doubling of those aged 85 and over).
This site needs some development and updating particularly on the Home page. The use of PC-Axis makes data extraction so easy for the user – and the addition on this site is the availability of downloading the whole table with formatting options.

This review was undertaken by Ed Swires-Hennessy using Internet Explorer version 11.0 on 30 January 2014 at 10.00 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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