I was up and out early this morning for the filming of a dance scene for Ireland’s first bollywood movie today (awesome fun, post coming later). Glancing in on Twitter during rehearsals I found out that the posts I had written about the Fine Gael website had made page 2 of the Sunday Tribune.
Fine Gael are still sticking to their guns and now claiming that all sorts of research was done into finding inspiration for their new online face. My favourite quote from the unnamed FG spokesperson:
“What has been asserted is not correct; there are grains of truth in this thing but they would get a life of their own on the internet,” a party spokesman said.”
Their lack of understanding of the issues surrounding the website now outweighs the seriousness of their actions. Their lack of engagement with the online community on top of the poorest of efforts in delivering a suitable, usable and useful website is the basis for a total failure in the management of their identity and image online. As Suzy said earlier:
“Above all this incident is about the second biggest party in the state and another example of it’s lack of serious commitment to on-line engagement with voters in the country, a lack of faith in Irish based web developers, and no imagination in the excuse making department either!”
I’m still disappointed and quite annoyed with how the party have handled the incident. FG don’t realise that they’ve missed the boat completely in terms of communication with voters & getting their message out there ahead of the local elections and in time, maybe even a general election before long. Their attitude towards the Internet and the online community (from bloggers to developers) is archaic and worryingly ignorant. I’d normally wish someone luck at this juncture (considering the mountain that they have to climb) but the feeling of disrespect is now a mutual one so they won’t be getting any best wishes (or votes) from this citizen.
So the *ahem* NEW Fine Gael website just launched at www.finegael.org. So what’s changed since yesterday’s short-lived first incarnation? Let’s see.
Updates to new version:
Colour scheme gone from blue to green (someone checked the FG branding guidelines, well done)
Fonts – we’ve gone from lovely sans-serif to the less lovely serif (at least that was an easy find & replace job)
Class names and IDs of pretty much all elements appear to have been changed in the source HTML & CSS (ouch, someone had a late night)
We’ve also got lots and lots of Paschal Donohoe all over the thing this time around but that’s another story. A decent effort at a coverup of blatant plagiarism but anyone who frequents the BBC website for their news fix would still spot the ‘inspiration’ or at least start rubbing their chin and say ‘it looks familiar but I’m not sure why’.
I will be emailing FG at lunch time. Can’t wait to see if I hear anything back. Guessing we still have no names of whodunnit in terms of overseeing the project/building the site?
Update @5.20pm on 17/04/09: Commenter points out that FG have violated the terms of the BBC.co.uk website. Senator Paschal Donohoe replied swiftly to my email to say (paraphrasing) he hasn’t seen any news or heard anything about the site but will look into it when he’s back from his travels.
Coz I’m a person who lives and breathes CSS from 9 to 5 I decided to dig a little deeper and boy was I surprised to see that their developers didn’t even bother to change the class names in the CSS files.
Update: To prove I’m not a nut, I’ve just pulled copies of both CSS files to my local machine & made a lickle video too :)
Update @11.20, 16/4/09: Seems www.finegael.org is now down completely. Stewart did some file comparing before the site went down, check the results here (thanks Stu). A web developer for the BBC has also added his comments. Had a chuckle to myself on the way to Handel’s Messiah at Christchurch reading the press release that went out to Fine Gael mailing list subscribers (which I have been since meeting Enda Kenny a few weeks back and him saying a new site was in the pipes). I’ll be emailing members of FG tomorrow to voice my views & following up on this post. I simply haven’t had time today.