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.

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