Today I’m checking out the website of PVV, the Partij voor de Vrijheid (Freedom Party). The first thing I notice when I get to their homepage (http://www.pvv.nl) is that they apparently have changed their website since the last time I visited several weeks ago. The website is now slightly more modern and colorful. While gray and red were the primary colors last time, this time the website has more blue. Not exactly an original color, but I guess red, grey and blue are supposed to represent the Dutch flag (red-white-blue), which does make sense for a party that promotes nationalism.
On top of the homepage, there’s a slideshow of photos related to the party. I notice many websites offer this kind of thing. Here’s an eye-opener: people who don’t yet care about the party don’t care about the photos. Party members and voters do actually care, but they are not the primary group to target on your homepage. Of course it is very important to stay in touch with your “already-customers” group, the backbone of the party. Social media is are great for that. Almost everyone I know who is politically engaged follows their favorite party on Twitter or Facebook.
In the left column (because apparently two-column sites are so hot right now) on top there’s a double crawler. Why do I call it a double crawler? Because it has two lines of text moving with different speeds. To me that’s very distracting - I can’t focus well on either, and while the upper one has a reasonable speed, the bottom one moves very fast. Images and - as in this case - moving or changing content attract attention of visitors. That’s why it’s very important to use (moving) images for content you would like to highlight. Otherwise, images will just distract from the main message.
Moving on to navigation. The main menu bar seems to have mostly relevant items, though they’re not all clear and self-descriptive. For example, I expected the item “party” to have information on the party or party members. The item itself - and this is a really remarkable (in a bad way) choise - links to the website of the party leader. “One man party” suddenly gets a whole new meaning! The sub items of “party” list opportunities to participate in the campaign with campaign materials. Why posters for the campaign of two years ago are listed is a mystery to me.
More on navigation, I’m surprised about the chosen order of the items. Listing the agenda and news letter as first items seems to be very optimistic: wouldn’t you want to convince people first, for example with your party program, before you expect them to join gatherings or sign up for news letters?
The site structure seems rather flat - no complicated navigation structure and that’s great. I also like the fact that breadcrumbs are provided anyway.
Witty program but other content is minimalistic or outdated
The party program is an easy find: it’s a sub item of “Vision”. Surprisingly, it’s the only sub item and the item itself doesn’t have any content. Why not just change the main item in “Program” and skip the sub items? As for the content of the program - though a lot of serious politicians think it’s a joke, I like the witty style with plenty of one-liners. I also think it is highly effective marketing-wise. It’s like with commercials: people like to laugh and they will associate the program with their positive mood. I do think providing the program only in PDF, without an online version, is a miss. Not everyone has a PDF reader and especially with elder people I expect they don’t want to spend time researching how they can open the file.
The list of candidates is harder to find - I started searching at the item “party” but as mentioned earlier it wasn’t quite what I expected. The second item I tried was “fractions”. Indeed, this one listed the current and candidate members for the Second Chamber. For all candidates, only names, birth dates and photos are provided. I miss more extensive information that would let me identify with the candidates. In the end - everyone votes for the one person or party which they feel will represent them best.
As for other content - I would like things to be more up to date. The agenda item is empty, with the elections less than a week away! Both multimedia content and campaign content list outdated content from the previous campaign. It gives the impression the party (or at least their site) stood still for two years. With content, it’s all about quality, not quantity. Post relevant content and don’t distract visitors with outdated information.
Cross-browser functioning and conclusion
The website works well in all browsers and on mobile, though it doesn’t work as a responsive website, nor is there a separate mobile site. The website has potential if means are used correctly in order to reach the final goal. Moving content could be effective when used correctly. However, with the current navigation and outdated content, I don’t think the party has put much thought to the website’s purpose.
- General design: 6,5/10
- Content: 7/10
- Navigation: 6,5/10
- Cross-browser functioning: 8/10
- Average: 7/10