Information from Israel is always interesting from a presentation perspective since the two languages – Hebrew and English – are used on the website Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics
(www.cbs.gov.il/engindex.htm ). In Hebrew the text reads from right to left whereas in English the opposite is true: have a brief look at the Home page in Hebrew (right tab of the top navigation and switch back to English (left tab of the top navigation). The site’s Home page in both languages is of fixed width centrally placed in the screen. It is slightly too long to fit onto the one page but, with little adjustment of the sections, could be. Some of the headings are in capital letters so, with users are some 30 per cent slower reading words in capitals, these should be changed into lower case words. Some marginal inconsistency in the use of colour for links and emboldening can be seen: the ‘Select subject’ heading in the centre column looks odd and perhaps should be on either the top or left-hand navigation lists (which retains its visibility throughout a site visit: I went to prices and then wanted to go directly to population but ‘Select subject was not visible without going back). Unusually the Home page has a counter: apparently over two million accesses occurred in the month so far. I am not clear what the difference is between the ‘Last media releases’ and ‘What’s new’: apart from the fact that the latter does not have specific release dates. The ‘Last Media Release part could be greatly enhanced by giving the key statistical message from the release. The prices section in the centre column can also be accessed through the ‘Israel’s economy’ link in the left-hand navigation as well as through ‘Select subject’.
However, when one does access the Prices information, the user is presented with much detail, links to charts of the individual indices, media releases, tables of data and specific tables from the Annual Abstract (in PDF or Excel format). Next to Population and demography: here the information returned is not as extensive. Indeed, the ordering of the media releases was most unusual with two formats for the dates and no clear population table. The first release shown, ‘Selected data on the Occasion of Jerusalem Day’, presents a Word file and some data. The data are in two Excel tables – neither of which gives population. The Word file does, however, start with a paragraph on population – but only of Jerusalem. Looking at immigrant data, one table (Table 5) gives numbers on where the immigrants have come from and where they settled in 2012: numbers less than 5 seem to have been suppressed – but can easily be deduced! The tables are available in PDF or Excel format: all data were presented properly.
My next foray was into the Time series data. Looking into Energy from the left-hand subject menu, the user is presented with a list of available series. Choosing Energy balance, a set of options for the table appears: choosing appropriate options and displaying the results on screen, the data are presented centre justified! Trying to open the resultant data in Excel yields a message that the file is not in Excel but will be opened – and again the data are centre justified. I then changed subject and tried Construction – but none of the folders or tables were active.
From the Database and tools link on the top navigation, I looked at the GIS offering. I went to the list of Annual Abstract maps expecting to be able to display various subject data. Sadly, only a map of the districts and sub-districts appears without allowing the user to either use the back button or display a link lack to the Home page. Presumably this area is under development.
Overall some good features on this site though let down by inconsistencies.
This review was undertaken by Ed Swires-Hennessy using Internet Explorer version 11.0 on 28 March 2014 at 13.00 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