We set new UXB team member Amber Gregory the task of assessing how far the main political parties addressed her questions, needs and expectations online. Here are her findings:
As part of the younger demographic that politics tends to sideline, what are their websites doing for me? And how do the sites of the main parties compare when it comes to user experience? I want something visually pleasing, with logical user journeys and easily digestible information. I also checked whether their sites are mobile friendly too, thankfully they’ve all got this box ticked.
Arriving on the homepage I’m greeted with a full width video of a baby who is happily playing with a “Vote Labour” sticker. It certainly has the cute factor and there’s a pleasingly minimal design overall, but according to a recent study their site constantly crashes leaving them at the bottom of the site availability pile. What I liked were the key policies on the homepage in big call to action boxes. Each policy was clearly bulleted and the navigation was intuitive if you wanted to view another topic.
There’s not such a clean feel here, as a whole host of different items are battling for attention on the homepage, and it’s not clear where to go for a glance at key policies. In fact you have to find them in an 84 page manifesto. Not the quick answer I would have expected. On the plus side their site is reliable, with 97.33% webpage availability.
A nice clean design and no issue with overcrowding. Everything is logically placed and their key policies are easy to find. They have also broken them down into sub-categories, which none of the other parties have done. You can download the full manifesto if you want, but you don’t need to wade through it to take a glance at their policies.
There’s an unsurprisingly green colour pallette here. The Greens have given us some nicely straightforward user journeys. Policies are logically under what we stand for, in hashtagged call to action boxes. They’ve made a nice short animation for each of the key campaigns – an individual touch, but I would have liked some bullet points too.
Again if you want a clear breakdown of key policies, you won’t find one here. You have to go via the PDF of their entire manifesto. Despite being the slowest site of the bunch, the website is easy to navigate. I can find out who their candidates are and where they are located, though judging from the images that represent them, we must assume that budget was allocated elsewhere. There are some dubious head shots here and some candidates are visually absent – only generic silhouettes in their place.
However, it does include the finest stat of this or any election:
A clear winner
The Lib Dems have obviously taken some time to consider the experience they are giving to various site users, from supporters and donors to floating voters, and on any device they choose. The design balances visual flair with structured information, the navigation offers me clear and interesting choices, pre-empting what I might want to do next. The site is also pretty robust, so should stand up to high levels of visitors if the poll predictions are correct and the Lib Dems are kingmakers once more.
* As we now know, this was rather less close than everyone had thought. And the Lib Dems were the biggest losers, rather than the key ally of the winners.