A new day and the next Dutch political party is up for a website usability review. Today, my victim is ChristenUnie, one of the more Christianity-based parties of the Netherlands.
The homepage, found at http://www.christenunie.nl is a three-column-site with different shades of blue in its color scheme. It’s nothing special, but the lay out provides enough overview. The use of color and shape is consistent throughout the website. The style of the website is reflected both in the use of square blocks with images, polls and social media buttons, and in the sans serif fonts.
Clicking through the website, my main criticism is on navigation. At first, it seems to be easy to find what I need. Both the election program and candidates are easy to find through big buttons on the homepage and the program can also be accessed through the main menu bar. But when I get to the election program, there is a problem: the election program starts with a long visionary text. I don’t want to have to read it, and luckily it seems like I don’t have to: above the text there are 12 icons, one for each elections theme. Great! I click on one and hope to read what ChristenUnie thinks on the subject of youth and family. But the first thing I see is once again the long visionary text I was trying to avoid. Only when I scroll all the way down I’m able to find the views of the party on the different sub subjects in this theme. Yet another click is required to actually read how the party feels about e.g. youthcare. Which leads to another long text.
Basically, that’s the whole program: too many long texts, too little navigation possibilities to avoid reading it all. I think the ChristenUnie needs to realize the difference between a website and a paper. One doesn’t need to put everything on one website. Avoid information overload, shorten the amount of text on a single page.
Another navigation problem is with the top menu bar. This bar contains the menu items “home”, “sitemap”, “contact” and a member-only area. Judging by the items, one could say this menu bar is supposed to be the main navigation, but the light grey shade of the bar and the positioning in the top of the screen aren’t really helpful in making the menu be noticable. Making this bar more prominent could improve the ease of navigation.
Lots of multi media content and a call to action
The good parts of the website are in the use of content. For example, the site is very complete. There are sub sites for local and provincial departments of the party and an extensive background on the party’s political views . Another good thing about the content is the use of multi media. Photographs, short campaign movies and even a song make the website more engaging and lively.
Another very important aspect of this website (maybe even the most important one) is the rather explicit call to action. Buttons such as “I want to help” and “Join us, become an election member” (well, obviously the Dutch equivalents of it) are the first thing I noticed when I found the homepage.
Cross-browser functioning and conclusion
The website works well in different browsers. On mobile, it’s resized to the mobile browser window, but still performs correctly.
In the end, I’d say this website has potential to be engaging, but it’s really important to improve the navigation.
My final verdict:
- General design: 7/10
- Content: 9/10
- Navigation: 4/10
- Cross-browser functioning: 8/10
- Average: 7/10