Surfing with Ed on the Internet…

by Ed Swires-Hennessy, Local Government Data Unit - Wales

Ed continues his appraisals of different national web sites to stimulate use of the Internet, share best practice and encourage debate.

The home page of Denmark Statistics (http://www.dst.dk/homeUK.aspx) is well thought out and presents a fixed format regardless of the screen properties. As with Slovenia (Feb. 2009 review), the right-hand column includes some key indictors, each with a link to the latest press release on the subject. Even the presentation of the data is different between versions taking account of the likely users: some of the indicators, however, do not have the unit of measure. Navigation from this home page is easy and the user is guided simply to 10 basic headings below which are the next level links. The order of the left-hand headings is excellent and clear for the user.

Both of my key statistics  when reviewing sites (population and inflation) are in the key indicators. The latest releases section in the middle section contains simple charts and links to the releases: sadly, the charts do not have titles or legends so the user can be left wondering what the data on the chart actually is. The charts do not link to a larger complete version themselves but a more complete chart is found in the press release (though the title of the Financial Accounts graph had the words ‘Net wealth’ repeated). Opening a release brings the full version just to the centre column – which means that the table in the Quarterly Public Finance release required horizontal scrolling to see the latest data – almost missed but a few parts of characters were apparent to the right top of the table.

At the foot of the home page is a link to the well-presented publication, Denmark in Figures. Clicking on ‘Read more’ produces a change in the page with the centre column containing a larger picture (not hyperlinked) and a link to the PDF document which has a tool-tip noting the large size (2.6Mb) of the file. The first time I went to this page I had a link on the right to the Statistical Yearbook: hovering over this link does not inform the user that the download file size is over 12 Mb! On other visits to the same page the right-hand elements had changed, one offering a link to ‘Read more’ about the yearbook. Following this link the user can either download the whole (without knowing how large the file is) or download individual chapters – as well as downloading the previous hundred editions!

From the top-left menu, I followed Statbank – to be provided with an exceptionally easy way into a mass of data by theme. Selection of the data from the large multi-dimensional tables is easy and the user is given some – not always complete – meta information including the contact details of the responsible person in Denmark Statistics. Having selected the data and produced a table, the output options are many and should meet all requirements!

Even the Scheduled release list has some very useful features for the user – including a link to the previous release.

This site has many excellent features that assist the user to find their way around the data and encourage use. Such accessible provision must reduce the number of enquiries to be handled by the office. Visit it, collect ideas for your own sites and ..   Happy surfing …

 

This review was undertaken by Ed Swires-Hennessy using Internet Explorer version 7.0 on 27 March 2009 14.00 hrs GMT using a 20 Mb link to the Internet on a Pentium 4 1.7 GHz machine.

This and earlier reviews are published to my website, http://www.surfingwithed.org.uk

 

Please send and comments and suggestions for sites to review to

esh@dataunitwales.gov.uk