FactFnder vs. Data.Census.gov

This is probably a question mostly to Census Bureau, but does anybody know what the plans are regarding FactFinder vs. data.census.gov website? So far, I am having a very difficult time navigating the latter to get the data that I need. (Maybe I am too well attuned to the quirks of FF2, and know precisely how to navigate it efficiently.)


  • Hi Stas,

    Thanks for your feedback about data.census.gov, the Census Bureau's new dissemination platform that moves all content and data into one single platform accessed through a single search bar on census.gov. We are currently in the development phase and our preview site, data.census.gov, is available for early review and feedback. We are developing using an agile software development process meaning we use short sprints of development, then review, then gather feedback and create requirements for another cycle of development. Subsequently, we release our Beta site incrementally to allow our data users to give feedback that informs our development. I agree with you that that the navigation is a clunky right now. We are working on that and our Advanced Search feature will hopefully address data users like you who want a filtered, drop down search similar to AFF. I know that you've submitted comments, but any feedback that you or other data users provide is folded into our development.

    The 2017 ACS releases will be released on both data.census.gov and AFF. The 2018 ACS is planned to be released solely on the new dissemination platform. We are planning on retiring AFF in June 2019; however, we cannot retire the site if we do not have the data migrated over with similar functionality. If any of these dates change, we will let this group know.

    KaNin Reese
  • In reply to kaninreese:

    , then you would want to put a feedback button on every page... maybe three or four times... asking specifically what the user has been searching for (and you will actually have their browsing history at this point), and if they have been able to find it in the Census products that exist elsewhere. For instance, "age by sex by county" gives me anything except S0101 by geography 050 (and you cannot apparently select all counties of the US).

    I can't say I *want* a filtered AFF interface. I am saying that I am *used to* AFF interface, and know how to navigate it to get what I need. (It's not the same thing to say, "I use SAS to make choropleth maps because I like it better than ArcGIS" -- vs. "I use SAS to make maps because that's the only package allowed on this restricted server".) Obviously AFF imposes way more structure on the queries than data.census.gov open-ended search does, which makes it easier to get there faster for experts who remember the numbers of their favorite tables and FIPS codes of their counties by heart :).
  • In reply to Stas Kolenikov:

    A year later since this missive and data.census.gov is still not an improvement over AFF. This is extremely concerning as the 2018 ACS is being released soon. I have seen the webinars and press releases, but this fix is no fix whatsoever. I cannot believe it is actually more difficult to find data in this new iteration. I think they need to shelf this for a year and run AFF in parallel.
  • In reply to Eric Grosso:

    I keep hearing all this talk about how the new data.census.gov team is using better software development processes, and that all this work is for the users.
    I keep seeing the exact opposite on the site; links that aren't anchor elements. images without alt attributes. broken back button. giving feedback regarding this and you can feel the team roll their eyes collectively.
    I would just appreciate some honesty; what has been done has been for the developer experience, and placing dx over ux, is not for the users.