For those who have not been to the great city of Budapest – you have missed a treat! Coffee in the castle grounds overlooking the river and parliament is a must. But so is a visit to the website of the Hungarian Central Statistical Office (https://www.ksh.hu/?lang=en ) which opens in appealing colours and almost invites users to explore. The centre of the Home page has three distinct sections: First releases, Key Figures and In the Spotlight. The brevity of the first release messages is well done and certainly invites the reader to explore further. The top one on the day of this review was ‘More births and more deaths’.
The Key Figures section has just 5 tabs for what is considered the five most important key figures: please can the title of the last one change from ‘Vital events’ to ‘Births and Deaths’ – so the ordinary user can understand what is there. The real plus point here is that the data are not just presented as numbers but within charts: and hovering over the actual chart gives the data for the relevant period. The link to more figures produces a table of data.
The third section ‘In the Spotlight’ is a cycling section with eight elements. As the numbers are displayed at the bottom of the section, a user is able easily to return to one they may have just caught sight of. Each element has a description of the statistics – or publication – and links to the product. I chose to follow the link to the Hungary in Figures publication: this opened a new page with the description at the top, a file size and a link to the actual download (hyperlinking the PDF logo and publication graphic as well as the word ‘Download’ would be a marginal improvement). The booklet itself is well presented, downloaded very quickly and is sufficiently colourful for the lay reader to get really interested in the data. The right-hand column of the Hungary in Figures publication page has links to other related areas including ‘Statistical reflections’. These appear to be the historic elements from the Spotlight section.
For the more advanced user, the Home page has a list of statistical themes to choose from. Following my usual choice of population and CPI, I went first to population. What a wealth of available information – from long time series, through the meta-information and interactive presentations to press releases and publications! The long time series for population was quickly loaded and had provisional figures in blue – a different figure from the main table. The user is also presented with six or seven options at the top of the table (the order here could be changed to put the main options first – print or export to Excel). I noted that this table used spaces as a thousands separator whereas in the Hungary in Figures a comma is used.
Looking now to the CPI, the first table – a long time series – gives a table based on 1960. But many other tables are available for the user to choose in the topic. And again, meta-information is available to explain the concepts and definitions. Take a look at the meta-information for the CPI: I wish this was available for all organisations in this format with links to detailed methodology where appropriate.
And finally, look to the interactive charts and maps, linked from the bottom of the left-hand column. Choose maps of Hungary and be thrilled by the availability of data for this option. Having chosen a topic, the base map is displayed at the region level. But on the right of the map is the option to choose a different geography and the map is instantly replaced. The user can also (theoretically) change colours (the option did not work on the bed places map), change the colour shading to show the highest in the lightest shade (useful if looking at indicators where a lower figure is better).
This site was indeed a joy to surf to and showed the great strides of development with the user in mind.
Happy surfing …
This review was undertaken by Ed Swires-Hennessy using Internet Explorer version 9.0 on 24 March at 18.30 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