The Statistics Portal of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg has a Home page (http://www.statistiques.public.lu/en/index.html ) that is too long for a standard screen and requires scrolling to get to important items such as the links to surveys in progress and the alternative means of accessing the statistics. A quick solution would be to have the menus shown at the top of the page as drop down menus and to reduce the number of news items to four or five. The news items shown on the day of my visit were varied in quality from the user’s perspective: only two of nine had the key message in the title and two had no statistics in the title or the brief description shown. A panel on the right-hand side gives five key statistics and those I always look for, population and inflation, are there. Further, each title is hyperlinked to more detailed data: the inflation table is in Excel and has a file size shown: the other tables were active, allowing the user to sort columns (though not apparently the date column in the unemployment table which was presented with time running up the page!). Other tables had the time running down or across the page, left to right (as the user would expect).
The provision of active tables allowing the user to sort columns is not always sensible and is not something I would generally recommend if the table can be extracted to Excel or similar programs for onward work. However, a plus point is the addition of information links in cells of a table to get the user to the definition and fuller descriptions – that is, the associated metadata. I followed the GDP through and came up with a clear description in English: however the associated table of letters on the page was headed in French (Choisissez une lettre de l’alphabet)! I looked at the data for road transport and the first table, Road freight by national vehicles, again showed the user option to sort the data by column. However, in addition, the user has a chart tab above the table and this produced charts by industry for each year – which were not sensible.
Tables are either given in Excel or in their dissemination product format: the thousands separator is a space in the Excel tables and a comma in the others. Nevertheless, the dissemination product works well to provide the basic data through a hierarchical structure of available tables.
In the right-hand column, below the first screen’s depth, is a very unusual panel – for the surveys in progress. Following links here not only takes the user to the metadata for the survey but also to forms and contacts for the survey. Following many of the links opened new tabs in the browser which can be irritating to the user. The user can also find a list of all surveys run by Statec with similar information.
Looking through the ‘Actors’ from the top right of the Home page, I found the organisation chart – which was useful only to know the picture and name of the individuals as the pictures were not linked to email addresses or telephone numbers (unlike Iceland Statistics where one can get a full directory of the employees including their responsibilities).
Overall, this is a good site which has developed well. Some attention to consistency and user options needs to be given.
Note: Ed’s book ‘Presenting Data: How to Communicate your Message Effectively’, ISBN 9781118489598 was published by Wiley on 12 September 2014.
This review was undertaken by Ed Swires-Hennessy using Internet Explorer version 9.0 on 23 December 2014 at 11.30 hrs. GMT using a 100 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