Istat’s new website

Statistical agencies provide masses of data and every  launch of an agency’s new website is an exciting experience: how do they manage to present their data for different user groups? On August 1st Statistics Italia did it!

Here some words from the official announcement: ‘Information is organized by theme and territory, which increases content traceability along with tagging and search engine optimisation.
The new site’s strong points are a wider use of dynamic, interactive visual elements and content in open formats, available to users through a Creative Commons license. The opening of channels with Istat’s logo on Social Media, moreover, ensures timely and viral dissemination of institutional web content on the Net.’

My first impressions (a statistically not significant sample ;-))

  • A beautiful design, clear, fresh, good pictures, attractively animated header!
  • Innovative functionalities: graphic widgets and a simple but effective database widget (find local information)  on the first page and on thematic pages. But: after downloading a graphic widget no information about country or source of information visible in the chart ( lost context) .
  • Good outreach with news feeds in diverse formats  (RSS, Atom, JSON).
  • Output oriented, thematic structure (19 topics) and 19 thematic entry pages with 4 standard offers:
    1. news
    2. simple graphics (widgets)
    3. datasets (access to preconfigured database requests, the database itself is for specialists!), with EXCEL and SDMX (sic!) download. But no way back from to
    4. interactive presentation with maps and diagrams (using the NComVA toolset)
  • An innovative licence model using Creative Commons. (This could be well communicated as a step to open government data Italia):

  • Good social media integration on every page, i.e. a blog (rapporto annuale – Who is this?)
  • Navigation  distributed over the page from top to bottom, sometimes in the middle of  a content page: Not so easy to be understood intuitively. The (more and more important) mobile access hidden in the footer.
  • Interesting alternative to surfing by navigation: Data access also via tags (data objects stored and tagged in a database and displayed via search?)
  • An open philosophy: Not only open data licence but also open for using third party tools like fusioncharts and NComVA visualisations.

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