Irish Political Party Websites (Part 2)

Part 1 is here if you missed it

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 Fáil
  4. Labour
  5. Soc Dems
  6. People Before Profit
  7. Sinn Féin

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.

We’ve covered 7-4 so now its the top 3.

3. Fianna Fáil

Really, this is a lovey site. There’s very little to pick fault at design wise. Everything does what it’s supposed to, the layout is nice, easy to read, branding is clear and consistent and overall pretty much the standard you’d expect from a major political partys’ homepage. The reason why it’s at 3? It will be clear when we get to Fine Gael next.

2. Fine Gael

FG take the second spot in terms of design and first impressions. Everything about the homepage itself says modern, fresh, cool (unlike the party themselves – alright I tried to keep politics out of it but just this one dig!).

Using the site is easy, it looks really nice and has some really nice design elements. One thing is that both this site and FF clearly have the same map feature, not sure who copied who. Being honest if I saw that same plugin or functionality on the other sites it wouldn’t really bother me, it seems like a good way to navigate candidates (curiously no candidates up north? alright, strike 2). There is some really nice use of rollover effects and highlights as well.

So how did I chose between this and FF? Well, this just does what FF have on their site a bit better in my opinion but there was a real sense that the two were very similar or had the same rough template or something like that.

1. Greens

By far the most original and unique site out of all the parties. While Fine Gael had a very cool looking site, it was beaten in the end by a more original and slicker design. The site steers away from the big splash video backgrounds of FF / FG and Labour and focuses instead on better layout, branding and good use of animations. It really left an impression both on first glance and returning to properly look at it. It’s what good design should do. Suck you in and on second and third viewing still give you a sense of satisfaction. Overall its the most standout homepage of the lot and a deserved winner. There are a few minor issues..

In some places it was just bordering on the edge of being probably a little too much when it doesn’t need to be.

The hover effect on the buttons is really nice but in my mind it’s probably best used for a button that you can toggle a function. It slides over and changes colour but it gives the impression that what it’s sliding to is different to whats on top when that’s not the case. You get the feeling the text should change but it doesn’t so maybe just a simple fade to colour would have been better.

Next then is just the usability on the candidate section. As you can see from the .gif below the hover effect again lets it down. Whilst it’s a really slick effect in itself, using it and hovering over multiple pictures and trying to swipe causes everything to moves around almost uncontrollably. Small issues, and scraping the bottom of the barrel for things to say but these things can sometimes make a difference.

Final Thoughts

There were a few minor issues outlined about with the Greens site but I felt that it was a better design overall and really stood out against the rest. It’s a good example of a more subtle but better use of animation compared to the PBP website which went a bit overboard. Always remember, just because you can doesn’t mean you should.

In the end good design can make up for a few minor issues elsewhere, but it has to be a really good design and I feel the Greens nailed it. What I remember thinking about all the sites is the big videos of FF and FG but I remember the more unconventional design of the Greens which took more of a risk and paid off.

If I was to design any of these sites myself I would go with what the Green Party have personally. It’s just what my style would be most like but that’s a subjective view. Hopefully the feedback might help improve design and bring more of an awareness to the little things. It’s clear from the seven sites though, objectively, anything is better than Sinn Fein. (website design wise obviously!)