My local candidates, assessed on the quality of their web sites.
Tessa Jowell, Labour
IA and Design: Nice use of YouTube and Google Maps (don’t re-invent the wheel, use the market leaders where suitable). Two equal width content columns means the user doesn’t know which piece of content is more important. Labour Party banner ad at the top looks like a banner ad. Accessibility and Privacy links go to labour.org.uk so how can we tell whether they apply to this site?
Technical: Claims to be XHTML 1.0 Transitional, has 10 validation errors. Layout breaks in Opera 10.53. Email sign up things
doo.doo is a valid domain name and
admin-interface.tao are loaded on every page – maybe these should only be loaded on admin screens?
Kemi Adegoke, Conservatives
IA and Design: Best looking site, not much else to say about it – simple but efficient.
Technical: Based on WordPress. Claims to be XHTML 1.0 Strict, has 85 validation errors. Kemi claims to “enjoy web development and writing the occasional bit of code”. Layout breaks very slightly in Opera.
Jonathan Mitchell, Liberal Democrats
IA and Design: It’s a Blogger blog – with commenting disabled. Only been blogging since February apparently. Black text on a mid-green background. All the text is in bold.
Technical: It’s a Blogger blog – claims to be XHTML 1.0 Strict, has 363 (!) validation errors.
Shane Collins, Green Party
Couldn’t find an individual site, so http://www.greensarecoming.org.uk/ShaneCollins
IA and Design: Video should probably be instead of mugshot instead of tucked away at the bottom. Otherwise clean and efficient, if a bit basic.
Technical: Claims to be XHTML 1.0 Transitional, has 41 validation errors.
Elizabeth Jones, UKIP
Couldn’t find an individual site, so http://candidates.ukip.org/index.php?pg=show&eid=578
IA and Design: Photo looks like it came from MySpace. Nice use of UGC in the Q&A section (but … how can blood sports be “a matter for the individual to decide”?)
Technical: Claims to be XHTML 1.0 Transitional, has 131 validation errors. URL is terrible from an SEO perspective.
So, we’ve learnt that the big parties spend more on web sites than the little ones; that no candidate can make a site that actually validates; that XHTML is hands down winner over ye olde HTML 4 or bright shiny new HTML5. Not much help in actually deciding to vote for. 🙁