Here we are, starting the assessment of the online policy observatories. Remember, I look forward to your suggestions regarding the best policy observatories you know in this Quora discussion .
The Health System and Policy Observatory by the WHO is certainly very interesting. The design is modern and appealing.
On the left, you have a common template for describing the key features of the health system, with indication of the latest update.
In the central column, you have two boxes which display information in chronological order, one is the “reform log” (nice name) and the other a more plain “health policy update”. The difference between the two is not very clear.
At the right, you have background meta-information.
What is more interesting, though, is the country comparison tool. It allows you to pick max 8 countries and 2 of the topics listed in the left column. It then creates a pdf document out of this information.
However, the document is not very readable as it simply collates the information one country after the other. Choosing just 2 countries and 2 topics I obtained a 49-page document.
In other words, it does not make comparison easy or intuitive. And it also lacks and form of interaction with content.
In summary, here is what I think:
Strengths: intuitive design, robust information; good division between structured and chronological information; easy tool to pick the comparison
Weakness: no way to interact/comment; the country comparison tool simply collates the information without allowing an effective comparison; all the background work is highly human-intensive (basically traditional drafting of reports).