Lithuania, like Latvia last month, is one of the smaller and newer countries in the EU. It is adjacent to Latvia on the Baltic sea. The Home page of the Statistics Lithuania web site (http://osp.stat.gov.lt/en/web/guest/home ) was the top of the Google results when searching for ‘Official Statistics Lithuania’ and was quickly loaded – despite being just over three screens long. The first impression is that of emptiness – masses of space. However, it is clear then that much of the content is not visible in the presented page. The top navigation is a list of the data themes and the main menu is on the right-hand side. The cycling charts of key indicators all effectively have a table within the chart which detracts from the chart itself. The GDP per capita chart had three decimal places of Euros in both data and scale – none necessary! The population chart needs rethinking as it showed the last month’s population as almost nothing: perhaps a population change chart would be better. The other two main sections of the home page are a calendar of releases and graphic links to parts of the publication Lithuania in Figures. Sadly, the links to the latter take the user to the Lithuanian version of the publication without warning that the information is not available in English.
Looking at the indicators available (through a June 29 release link or the second link on the right-hand navigation), I selected a few indicators. The table produced on waste had only annual figures – though rows were shown for the months within the years – and the data shown used a full stop for the decimal separator whereas in the Lithuania in Figures this separator had been a comma. Worse, the data in the table were all left justified! The table on population did only show the annual rows but used a comma for the thousands separator (as opposed to the space in Lithuania in Figures): again the data in the table produced was left justified.
For my last investigation, I turned to the Statistical indicators on maps from the right-hand navigation and looked at the interactive maps within this. The selection of the statistics to be mapped was simple and the maps produced much quicker than the indicator selection tool. For each map produced (in grey scale only – no colour), a data table appeared on the right of the map which the user could sort through use of a drop-down menu. The data shown were left-justified in the table, used commas for the thousands separator and a full stop for the decimal separator. Hovering over the map of the total population map produces a figure for the area shown – but the data for population shown here did not have any thousands separator.
The pre-defined tables link on the right-hand navigation does contain many and varied tables: the few I examined all had data left justified. One was the average temperature from the geographical data section: above the table is an option to chart the data – I did and was horrified by the resultant chart which was unreadable!
The site does have some interesting presentations of data but these have not been refined sufficiently for release to the general user. The insistence of adding data values to all charts does not improve understanding or the message. Consistency of presentation of numbers needs to be addressed.
Happy surfing …
This review was undertaken by Ed Swires-Hennessy using Internet Explorer version 9.0 on 29 June at 10.00 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
Ed is author of the book Presenting Data: How to Communicate your Message Effectively,
ISBN 9781118489598. Published by Wiley in September 2014.