Irish Political Party Websites (Part 1)

I’ve decided to have a look at how design could effect people opinion on deciding what party to vote for. This is purely subjective and I’ve left my political views out of it and focused purely on design. For the sake of being succinct I’ve limited it to just the homepages of the sites, so what the initial first thoughts would be for anyone logging on. I’ll rank them based on my opinion then get into my thoughts after;

  1. Greens
  2. Fine Gael
  3. Fianna Fail
  4. Labour
  5. Soc Dems
  6. People Before Profit
  7. Sinn Fein

Websites change so it’s 11/12/21 at the time I looked at these. I’m conscious that someone designed all of these and it’s not my intention to tear anybodies work apart. I’m just giving my thoughts and hopefully it might be constructive. So, lets start with the least impressive first.

7. Sinn Fein

The jarringly obvious thing to note is that SF’s site begins with a huge splash page. Splash pages themselves serve a purpose, but probably isn’t best used to advertise products or raffles as it’s making the user do more work to get to the actual content they want.

Removing the /christmas in the URL bar still brings you to this splash page so it’s redirected as the default homepage. First impressions aren’t great. Selling products as opposed to policies isn’t what a lot of people would expect and I was quite surprised being honest given,at the time of writing, SF dominant opinion polls that this is the first thing users are greeted with. Unfortunately, the main site itself isn’t much better.

It views more like a glorified blog post than a major political party website in my opinion. Overall I was left with a large feeling of disappointment and confusion after it. Hopefully not a sign of future governments to come for their sake.

6. People Before Profit

First impressions were good. You get a real sense on the content above the fold anyway of a sort of against the grain movement, people powered etc and that’s purely down to the hero image used (although I think from looking at the signs in the background it’s from a rally in the US possibly but I could be wrong).

The homepage itself has some nice animations but possibly a little too much for me, it causes the eye to dart all over the place – maybe a little bit more subtle and on less elements would have been better. There’s a lot of different colours present throughout too, especially on buttons and backgrounds. It givens a slightly disjointed feeling that nothing really syncs up. You also have different angles and curves going on, different button shapes and colours and background colours which further adds to the lack of cohesiveness.

One last thing which kind of sums it up is just being careful for any other designers about readability with effects and rollovers especially when there are multiple colours involved.

5. Social Democrats

Overall a solid homepage. Branding comes across well, all the relevant information you could probably want is a click away and there’s nice designs on the buttons and some of the sections.

I really like the hover effect on some of the buttons, it’s a nice touch and subtle.

However to my mind anyway, there’s a little bit of over use with the rounded corner design on the buttons and the sections. In one particular part of the page it really could have used maybe just plain rectangle coloured boxes which would then allow the buttons to pop. Instead everything gets a little bit lost.

The footer seems a little sparsely populated too which is fine, it’s just when you compare it to the following websites you could see the difference in what could have been. Overall though a nice homepage and very nice.

4. Labour

Just nudging ahead of Soc Dems for me is the labour site. I suppose to sum it up it’s just solid design, everything you’d expect, no risks or anything outstanding but it does the job and all the information is clear with the branding clearly evident.

One small thing for me is that at times it seems a little bare. Maybe that’s just me it just looked like there was a little too much white space and it gave an impression of not that much content even though that’s not the case but it’s something to be aware of when it comes to perception vs reality. Another little thing is again, we see the use of multiple types of rounded corners and shapes which can just take the user slightly away from the content sometimes.

I’ll get into the top 3 on the next post here