The country of Ukraine has been in the news much recently – but not from the statistical perspective. Some 10 years ago I went to assist the State Statistics Service of Ukraine (http://www.ukrstat.gov.ua/ ) with dissemination. The federal system of statistical collection did not make for easy compilation of data on a consistent basis. The Home page of their website offers users a choice of three languages (top right of the page): Ukrainian, Russian or English. The English version of the site does not have the same amount of information as the other two languages but sufficient to see the structure of the country and the website.
The Home page is divided into 3 columns: the left-hand column is short and fixed on the page. The centre and right-hand columns are around 5 screens deep. Worse, on my standard screen, the right-hand column was only just visible (it is fully visible on the Ukrainian version). The centre column was filled with press release links – just from May – though, in the latest day shown, the 10 releases only related to three topic areas and none had any key messages shown. The right-hand column had notes on the latest of each of the latest macro-economic indicators. The data in these were not rounded sufficiently in all cases: the exports of made up goods 14190,2 mln. $ dollars while imports totalled 14240,7 mln. $ dollars; the decimal place could have been lost and the user would have been helped if a thousands separator had been used. None of these key messages was linked to the relevant press release or a data table.
In the left-hand column three graphics are hyperlinked but the text on each is only in Ukrainian – so the user would not know what they were getting to.
From the top navigation I chose ‘Statistical information’: the link changed appearance on roll-over but did not give the correct identifier for a link (in my case a hand). Following through, I found the population data for April 2014: the whole table was without thousands separators and each cell of the table had a double line surround. This imposition of many lines in a table does not assist the user to read the information. Pasting the table into Excel, the resultant cell borders were just a single line. The latest CPI information was also readily available through this main heading.
I looked at Macroeconomic indicators from the same top navigation link: the second link produced a list of three items; the first of these, Social and economic development of Ukraine, January to March 2014, linked to a PDF document in English. Many of the data items had numbers with one decimal place (not necessary for the data being shown) and none had used thousands separators. The GDP page also had the data centred in the column and a three-dimensional pie chart which was hard to interpret as the legend was too small. Several other charts in the document were difficult to interpret and the clutter of all of the data being included within the chart did not assist. The list of statistical information does have one very neat feature – the inclusion of dates when last updated: this is obviously a new presentation as not all of the links have a date.
The link on the top navigation to Meta-descriptions does give a simple explanation of the data: a simple improvement here would be a link to the latest publication or to data. Publications can also be viewed from the link in the top navigation. Several editions are offered – in English – though the four earliest Ukraine in Figures’ links returned an HTTP 404 error. Sadly, though, the data are not too accessible since the publications are in PDF format.
Happy surfing ..
This review was undertaken by Ed Swires-Hennessy using Internet Explorer version 11.0 on 24 May 2014 at 14.00 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