Introducing the most recent changes

First of all, thank you for your patience while we developed the changes that you’ll see from today. We introduced these changes to you back in May in our blog; these wouldn’t have been possible without all of the feedback we’ve received, and hope to continue receiving, from our users.

So what have we done?

You’ll see that we have a new geography explorer on our homepage. This shows you the areas that we hold on the site at a glance. It also allows you to jump straight into one of the collections that we hold statistics for. We’ve also added some descriptions to help aid your understanding of what the areas are and how they relate to each other. For example, if you start at the top you will see a map of Scotland with information about all the separate areas within Scotland listed below. You can click on the lists of areas that we hold within Scotland below the map, such as all 32 Council Areas, 73 Scottish Parliamentary Constituencies and 6,505 2001 Data Zones . Within any of these pages you’ll also see a further breakdown of areas within that; for example, from East Lothian you can navigate to its seven Electoral Wards or 120 Data Zones. We’ve worked with users to understand the most common geographies within an area to add to these pages.

You can also add any of these areas or collections to your data cart by clicking on the blue cart icon. The data cart lets you build your own area profiles within the system to save and download for reuse. We’ve added data cart icons on all the relevant area and dataset pages to help you add items to your cart.

On each of the map pages there is a ‘Data’ tab that will take you to a summary of the data we hold about that area, and below that a list of all datasets containing that area. This summary lets you see some quick statistics without having to delve into all of the individual datasets. You can also go to a richer view of the data by clicking on any of the observations where you can see visualisations such as simple time series and bar charts.

We’re still working on making area selection possible from an interactive map and we hope to share some of this work with you over the coming months.

We’ve also given the site a fresher look. We’ve simplified the layout and made it easier to find different datasets and use the search bar; all you need to do is hover your mouse over the menu at the top for it to pop up. You can also hover over some of the dotted-underlined descriptions for more detail about what these mean. We’ve tried to add descriptions like these to some of the more technical terms we use on the site. We’ll continue to simplify these as the site develops. Some features work slightly different in mobile browsers, such as on phones and small tablets, and we recommend using the site in landscape mode to get the best experience.

As well as providing better descriptions and help text, we’ve also simplified some of the technical language on the site. We know there’s more for us to do on this and we’d be really grateful for your views if anything should be clearer.

The dataset menus and table views have also been given a new look. We hope these changes will make it easier for you to access the data you need and to view columns of data in maps. On most tables we’ve made it clearer you can click on the header to ‘visualise this column’; for example, here’s a map of median house prices in Scotland.

We’re continuing to update our existing datasets and add new ones. Please let us know if there are any priority areas that you think we should focus on and we’ll get in touch with the data providers to do this. We’re also working with the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD) to make sure SIMD16 is available on the site when it is published.

We are working on ‘how to’ guides to help you get the most out of the data. The new geography explorer has made it easier to add single areas and area collections to the data cart but we appreciate that some further guidance is needed to help users quickly find the data that they need. We’re working on this as a priority and will make these guides available as blog posts.

You should notice some performance improvements when using the site too. While most of the performance improvements we’ve made are ‘under the hood’ you should still notice quicker response times when accessing some of the larger datasets on the site, or when saving large data carts. Again, this is something that we’re always reviewing as the site develops and we hope to upgrade the database before the end of the year.

Also, please keep giving us feedback and let us know if you need any help using the site. You can get in touch with the team in the usual ways: