Statistics by variable

Consultation objectives

Statistics by Variable is a module prototype that enables website users to browse alphabetically for variables, statistical units and classifications; browse by subject for variables and classifications; and search using keywords.

The Statistics by Variable module would be an important tool for researchers, analysts, media, policy makers, students and survey designers looking for information on the variables, classifications and data collected by Statistics Canada across all of its surveys. 

The goal of this consultation was to identify usability problems of the module to ensure that improvements can be made before its launch.

Consultation methodology

Statistics Canada conducted in-person usability consultations. Participants were asked to complete a series of tasks and to provide feedback on the proposed module prototype.

How to get involved

This consultation is now closed.

Individuals who wish to obtain more information or to take part in a consultation may contact Statistics Canada by sending an email to statcan.consultations-consultations.statcan@canada.ca.

Please note that Statistics Canada selects participants for each consultation to ensure feedback is sought from a representative sample of the target population for the study. Not all applicants will be asked to participate in a given consultation.

Statistics Canada is committed to respecting the privacy of consultation participants. All personal information created, held or collected by the agency is protected by the Privacy Act. For more information on Statistics Canada's privacy policies, please consult the Privacy notice.

Results

What worked

Overall, the majority of participants described the Statistics by Variable online tool as easy to use, attractive, informative and easy to read.

All participants said they would recommend such a tool to a colleague and would use it for research purposes. Positive comments included: "I would certainly use this tool" and "Information is presented in a straightforward way." 

Areas for improvement

  • The majority of participants had some idea of the intended features of the module. However, participants thought that the main goal of the module was to access statistics and manipulate or sort data in multiple ways, rather than access information on the variables themselves.
  • Participants who were less familiar with subject matter requested to see more information when hovering over headings, definitions and tabs. As well, short descriptions providing users a brief overview on how to use the module would be helpful. 
  • The search engine was liked by all participants, but its location on the page could be reviewed.  The search functionality should also be revised to find all content appearing in the module.

Recommendations

  • Consider an alternate name for the module.
  • Labelling within the module could be more intuitive. All participants found the application relatively easy to navigate and were pleased with the overall presentation.
  • Consider changing the labels or adding additional information to each label. A hover-over functionality could be considered or an information symbol the user can hover over next to the label.
  • Reconsider the layout and placement of links within the module.
  • Include in the search engine's results all content within the Statistics by Variable module. 

Statistics Canada thanks participants for their participation in this consultation. Their insights guide the agency's web development and ensure that the final products meet users' expectations.

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