LibDem (Liberal Democrats) is my favorite party in these elections and the reason I started these review sessions in the first place. LibDem is the party that is pretty much in the center of the political spectrum (if we assume there’s only one axis, which for the sake of the argument we do). LibDem states they want both a good climate for entrepreneurship and a good social safety net. Balanced. Let’s see if their website is as balanced as their views.
The homepage of the party’s website at http://www.libdem.nl looks plain, with a lot of white and shades of blue. There’s a short introduction on the party’s ideas, with hyperlinks for more information (good!), a poll (even better, interactive!), a news feed and a list of shortcuts to seemingly important topics on the website.
Let me first state: I really do not understand why most of the parties think it necessary to post their newsfeed on the home page. The only visitors who actually care are likely to be involved with the party. Send them a newsletter or put the news elsewhere on the website.
As for the list of shortcuts - I’d prefer “Call to action” buttons - they draw more attention. Also, be selective. You need a few topics to stand out from the rest of the website. A grid of buttons won’t trigger any action at all.
Completely outdated and what’s with the navigation?
But let me focus on content… there’s just two things I need: the election program and a list of the candidates. That’s not much, is it? Luckily, I can find both the program and the candidates very easily… on the elections of 2006 and 2009! Come on, what are they thinking!? I can imagine you put this information somewhere in the website’s archive, but to put a shortcut to the candidates of 2009 on your homepage?
In the end, I was able to find the candidates list of 2012. It went like this:
- On the homepage, in the news feed I clicked on the news item: “List of candidates completed”.
- I wasn’t taken to the article instantly, no. I got to exactly the same news feed on a separate page. Found the article again. Clicked.
- Ah yes, now the article opens… With a link to the actual list. Click!
- Ah, there it is! A PDF with a table with names and cities, no background information whatsoever.
I was able to find the program quite fast - there were several links to the party’s manifest on the homepage. Not sure if that’s the same as their program, but I’ll assume it is. It opens in PDF. It’s not terrible, but in my opinion less than sufficient.
More weird issues… What is it with the menu bar? It seems to work al right, but on some pages the last item is suddenly positioned somewhere in the middle of the bar below another item. I have no idea why.
Cross-browser functioning and conclusion
When I first visited LibDem.nl on my primary browser, a Chrome-based one, I was shocked. Actually, most things work just fine, apart from the most important thing: the text. Some pages look like they’re all written as one big header (I’m talking a 72pt+ font here, not kidding). Other pages have around 100pt of whitespace between every line of text. Both problems make the text completely unreadable. Problems occur in Chrome, Firefox and on my mobile browser. The only solution I was able to find - starting up Internet Explorer.
All in all, this is probably the worst site I’ve encountered so far in terms of content, easy navigation and cross-browser functioning. Remember how I said I wouldn’t judge a party by it’s website? Well, I lied. Based on what I’ve seen, I have no faith this party will get any votes - most of the potential voters who don’t use IE won’t even be able to read anything on the website. Better give my vote to a different party, one that’s more likely to accomplish anything.
It’s ironic how every politician understands it’s very important how they come across in public, but they just don’t seem to realize the importance of other marketing, like their website.
My final verdict:
- General design: 5/10
- Content: 3/10 (outdated and very basic)
- Navigation: 4/10 (4 levels before I can check out the candidates and then you give me PDF, really?!)
- Cross-browser functioning: 1
- Average: 3,25/10