Interactive Data Visualization Products: Phase 4

Consultation Objectives

Every year, Statistics Canada collects data through hundreds of surveys and numerous administrative data sources. To complement the ongoing work of various Agency programs, interactive data visualization products are being created to help users obtain data in an easy, attractive and modern manner. These products include hubs, dashboards and interactive graphics.

As the use of this model increases, it is important to ensure that it provides a positive user experience and allows users to obtain the desired data efficiently.

This consultation aimed to ensure that the interactive self-serve products are compliant with a set of usability principles and to identify any potential usability problems so that improvements could be made going forward.

This was the fourth phase of a series of consultations on Statistics Canada's interactive data visualization products.

Consultation methodology

Statistics Canada conducted in-person usability consultations in Ottawa, Ontario. Participants were asked to complete a series of tasks and to provide feedback on the products.

How participants got involved

This consultation is now closed.

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

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

Three interactive data visualization products were tested. Overall, participants were able to complete the majority of tasks on all tested interactive data visualizations. In general, the three products were evenly received by participants in terms of usability and preference.

Participants noted that the following aspects worked:

  • Using a reset button within the dashboard to reset the filters
  • Using drop-down menus to filter the dashboard
  • Visually linking instructions to different areas of the dashboard in order to help find the relevant instructions

Participants suggested that the following areas could be improved:

  • Certain visually-similar interactive elements perform different functions on different data visualizations. This can make learning between products difficult.
  • Grouping interactive elements together. Participants missed some interactive elements when they were placed in different locations.
  • At times, it was unclear which elements of the data visualization interacted with the filters, and which elements did not.
  • Some labels did not change to reflect a selection made on the dashboard.

After analysis, recommendations include:

  • To create greater consistency between products, ensure that visually-similar elements (e.g. charts, maps) on different data visualizations perform similar or comparable functions.
  • Group all controls within one area of the dashboard, rather than having buttons and filters in multiple locations.
  • Use labelling to clarify and reflect selections made by users.

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