Thursday, November 02, 2006

Review of Wales' political parties' websites in the Western Mail

To coincide with the launch of Plaid Cymru's new website, the Western Mail have asked Jon Ingram, manager of University of Wales Newport's website to review the website of Wales' four main parties. Here are the results in table format (I like tables) :

L D

P C

Labur

C

Appearnace

2

6

8

9

Usability

4

8

9

7

Speed

6

9

7

10

Special Features

2

0

3

7

Finding education policy

7

8

6

0

Finding local AM

7

3

5

10

Cool factor

1

2

5

9

Total

(out of 70)

29

34

43

43


Although it's a light hearted survey, I disagree with some of the scores and scoring method.

Welsk Language (what, you thought I'd miss that?)
There's no mention of the Welsh langugae, appart from Plaid Cymru's website which is 100% bilingual, the other parties would have had very low scores - the Lib Dem site is the second best with almost everything translated, appart from the news, but the 'Cymraeg' link is hidden right at the bottom. Labout have some Welsh pages on their site, but there's no link to them from the home page*. There are some random Welsh pages on the Conservative's site (which isn't really a site, but a sub-site from the British one).
*When Dewi Snelson from Cymdeithas yr Iaith phoned Labout to ask where the Welsh was on their website, the man just said "Look, it's there, alright!" and just hung up! You gotta love 'em.
Appearance
I doubt if the Conservatives deserve 9/10 for the appearance of their site.

Special features
The Conservatives get high marks for using blogs and podcasts (even if they are by members outside Wales) . The Lib Dems get 2 marks for having RSS (for British news) but PC don't get any points even though they have RSS for theri news. The Conservatives also have RSS, but it's very difficult to find. I think it's only fair to point out that UoW Newport's website doesn't have RSS feed.

I was surprised that UKIP (unlike the Tories) have a seperate site for Wales. I wasn't surprised however to find that it was shit and had no Welsh on it.

I knew that the Green Party have a seperate site for Wales, which looks quite nice, but has very little information concerning Wales only and i was dissapointed that there was no Welsh on it.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Daniel Cunliffe said...

I did a bit of work looking at the party political websites in the run up to the 2005 General election. Of the 17 paties fielding candidates in Wales only the Green Party, the Labour Party, the Liberal Democrats and Plaid Cymru were judged to have made a "Welsh language provision". There were issues with all four of the sites. The overall conclusions were that within these four it was possible to identify a typical approach to Welsh provision.
•Navigation is wholly or partially provided in Welsh.
•Highly dynamic content, such as news, is only provided in English.
•Static content, such as policy documents, is generally provided in both languages.
There were other issues as well - the redesigned Lib Dems site wasn't available in Welsh until after the election!
Of course, it is not clear whether web sites in general influence voting and it is also not clear whether the presence or absence of Welsh has an influence on voting behaviour.

11/03/2006 5:11 pm  
Blogger Rhys Wynne said...

I'd certainly not vote on the basis of a party's website alone, but as one who doesn't like poeple knocking on his door in the evenings, but is fairly interested in politics, I'd turn to the web looking for info.

As labour's commitment to the Welsh language is always under question (rightly or wrongly), it gives a bad impression when there's no link to Welsh pages from their home page - especially as they do have Welsh pages!
Maybe if they spent more time on their website and less on setting up blogs like Natwatch, they might get it right...

I think the article was quite unfair to Plaid Cymru's site, and not just because langugae wasn't taken into consideration. Dafydd (of Daflog) has also written a 'review of the review' as I have, but it's a little more technical.

11/03/2006 5:31 pm  

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