Tag Archives: fine gael

Design copyright in the Irish Times

Today I got to see my name in ink in the Irish Times Innovation supplement courtesy of an article titled ‘Lost Property’ by former print designer & now journalist Jason Walsh. You can read the article here on the Irish Times website or soak it up in the form of a PDF of the printed article. Jason approached me about the article about 2 weeks ago and in anticipation of giving my thoughts and reflections on the Fine Gael website fiasco, I had a look back at the website to see if things had changed. It appears to be more or less the same as when I last visited some time around the beginning of May.

I still maintain that the site is not fit for purpose but obviously, they have chosen to stick with it and try to make the best of it. There are a few important issues that should be addressed in my opinion, however:

1. Information Architecture: Finding your way around the site is currently a nightmare. There is a reliance on swapping content in and out of the same container on a single page that sits approximately 600px down the from the address bar. It is quite possibly out of the view of many visitors & many will miss the fact that the content they seek has loaded at all. At the very least a comprehensive search facility should be integrated to allow visitors to pinpoint information they need accurately and efficiently. Failing that, a detailed sitemap (if possible to generate based on the frame-like nature of the website) should be generated dynamically and links provided to it.

2. Remove or fix broken links: The ‘Help’ link on the main navigation appears to be an empty link along with the RSS link in the footer. While the ‘Register to Vote’ link in the main menu is faded out, it still appears as a menu item. Leaving it visible on the menu although inactive might be optomism on the part of FG looking to the possibility of a general election sooner rather than later but it is misleading to users and should be removed.

3. Multi-lingual content: What appears to be the Fine Gael ‘mission statement’ appears only in Irish (as far as I can see) – where is the English version? The ‘Polski’ version of the website appears to be one long page of a variety of information translated into Polish instead of the entire site being translated, something easy to achieve with a HTML website. At the very least, all content should be available as Gaeilge and more information available in other languages such as Polish, Chinese etc. Check out the brand new EU Matters website for an example of how it should & can be done.

If you’d rather keep up with all things FG via other online means, they’re on Twitter at @FineGaelIreland and Facebook and YouTube although things in the YouTube department seem to have dried up since the election fun all died down.

Want to know what heck the ‘FG website fiasco’ is/was? Here’s the story. Got any comments, thoughts or queries on the new EU Matters website launched by my colleagues at X Communications during the week? Drop them a tweet at @xcommunications or leave a comment below.

Sunday Tribune features FG website rip-off

Story in Sunday Tribune

Story in Sunday Tribune
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.

Fine Gael website v2.0 up, overnight success???

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.

finegael.org v2.0
finegael.org v2.0
finegael.org v1.0
finegael.org v1.0

Updates to new version:

  1. Colour scheme gone from blue to green (someone checked the FG branding guidelines, well done)
  2. Fonts – we’ve gone from lovely sans-serif to the less lovely serif (at least that was an easy find & replace job)
  3. 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 @2.23pm on 17/01/09: Stu has been doing some more lining up while Vincent Gribbin is still adamement that the site is not a copy.

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.