Web Reviews - Internet catches e-lection fever.
Is this going to be the first general election fought in cyber-space? Apparently not, judging by the number of party foot soldiers that were handing out leaflets at Mortlake station this week.
It seems email has yet to replace traditional pavement bashing and envelope stuffing, though any observer would be a fool to ignore the impact the net will have on the general election.
A few months ago, Accountancy Age looked at the main party sites. It’s now worth seeing how much progress has been made.
All three have now got their acts together. The sites have a good professional feel to them and are easy to get around.
www.labour.org.uk kicks off with the obligatory anti-Tory slogans on the home page. You can watch a video of the daily news conference and sign up for e-news alerts.
www.conservatives.com is a traditional dark blue sea of knocking copy, and offers similar news services to those of Labour.
At the time of review, it was the first to publish its manifesto on the web, though the others are expected to follow this week.
www.libdems.org.uk is ahead of the competition, even if this will not be reflected in the polls.
The Liberal Democrats were the first to realise the importance of the internet, and this is reflected in the party’s design.
It is easy to access details of local candidates, there are plenty of news stories, and the overall feel is very slick.
All the other parties have a web presence, including www.snp.org, www.plaidcymru.org, www.greenparty.org.uk, plus the Northern Ireland parties.
Even the Monster Raving Loony Party is out there. If you want an independent view of the election, it is worth clicking on either www.yougov.com or www.epolitx.com.
Both sites are exclusively political news sites, and have good election briefing stories.
The Freeserve-backed yougov site encourages a democracy through surfers’ polls – the ‘people’s parliament’ – something, that will become increasingly popular in the days to come.
Epolitix has a more grown up feel, but has a heavy bias towards Westminster.
The website has recently undergone a redesign and is an improvement on its earlier incarnation. The press review section is a particularly useful and timesaving section.
OUR TOP FIVE SITES
New Labour embracing new technology, though it is surprisingly tame and still embraces the old politics.
An equal match for the Labour site, a traditional blue overlays a slick use of the medium.
Just has the edge on the competition, clear design with easy navigation and plenty of interaction.
The future of democracy? Online voting on political issues ensures good interaction with the armchair observer.
Superior political news service, now benefiting from a recent redesign. Makes good use of its contributors.