September 12, 2008 in Writing
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September 12, 2008 · Writing

Campaign web design roundup

2008 is a special year for political web design: the bar has been blown through the roof by How do Canadian sites do in comparison?

It’s election season in Canada and that means another fresh batch of web site redesigns.

2008 is a special year for political web design: the bar has been blown through the roof by How do Canadian sites do in comparison? Let’s just hope that we can get through this election without the rest of the world noticing how bad our parties’ sites are.

(For the sake of brevity, critiques of the Green Party and the Bloc Quebecois are left as exercises for the reader)

First, the good:

A solid design with lots of nods to Obama’s site. Compare:

  • a shot of Layton gazing into a brighter future (or is it the past? He’s looking to the left)
  • bold colours with glows and gradients all over the place: in the header, behind the icons, etc.
  • even the donation splash page is straight from the Obama playbook

There are lots of other little things that they got right. For instance, there’s a prominent place for the email signup. In spite of the wishes of us technophiles, most people still consume info via email.

It’s not flawless though: it’s a bit strange that the first three menu options don’t have any sub-options. Also, the sections of the plan page could be organized as drop down options. Also, why do they have to be listed using images instead of text.

Update: Could the site get any more Obama-like? This popped up on the site today:

Overall, the site does what it has to do and it actually looks like it belongs in 2008. Unlike:

The bad:

A pretty uninspired design.To be honest, I can’t even think about what to say about it since it’s so boring (does this say anything about Dion?).

The site is riddled with small problems that build up to give a bad impression.

A few picked at random:

  • Green videos? Is this a mistake?
  • The colour of the body type is a light gray and doesn’t give enough contrast against the white background. This surely won’t help with the geriatric vote.
  • Why is Flash being used all over? For instance, on the front page, all they’re using it for is to do mouseover effects — totally unnecessary.
  • The link to Dion’s profile is broken if you go via this page.

A bland site with little overall design; however, it’s not as bad as:

The downright ugly:

It’s almost a national disgrace that the governing party of Canada has a site that’s this ugly and childish. I’ll avoid discussing the controversial jabs that they make at Dion and note some of the design problems:

  • The header is brutal: there’s a logo that’s too fuzzy, a ridiculous little bump in the background image to accommodate Harper’s head, and a photo that looks like a snapshot from a point and shoot camera.
  • Bevels!? These were barely even cool back in the era when people were first discovering Photoshop.
  • Interior pages that look like they were ripped bleeding out of a Word document.
  • Really bad icons everywhere. Note the folder icons used on this page.

Perhaps it’s all just a guise. Good design? That’s for elites.

Maybe another election…

Very disappointing performances from Canada’s two big parties. It’s hard to believe that these national organizations could do so poorly on such a crucial part of any campaign.


This entry was written by Andrew Louis on September 12, 2008 and posted in Writing. It's tagged with , , , .