With only a week to go before the general election, many of us probably haven't decided who to vote for yet. So we thought we'd take a different approach and see how the main parties rank based on their websites. Our quick analysis indicates that Labour is doing the best job online, closely followed by the SNP. Way down in last place is UKIP who get the lowest aggregate score.
All the main party websites make use of email sign-up forms to capture the details of voters. This is a good idea for obvious reasons but the Labour, Conservative and UKIP sites are quite aggressive in their tactics. These parties encourage visitors to provide their contact details immediately, and indeed they make it difficult to navigate deeper into the site without doing so. Even though this might be a sensible marketing tactic for some businesses, we think in this instance it is off-putting to the voters who are simply looking for more information.
So let's get down to the reports.
Coming out on top is the Labour Party with a good all-round score. Errors in code quality mean the site is not W3C compliant but they make up for it in other areas. Once into the main site there is large, clear navigation and the use of a background video grabs your attention. Although how useful some footage of a baby playing with a labour sticker actually is we aren't sure.
The SNP site comes a close second. This is lucky in many respects as they have missed out two key features of website funtionality. The lack of description meta tags means that Google does not have an optimised summary for each page and given that this is a party trying to reach the youth, having a site which is not mobile friendly is a big mistake.
The Green Party
The Green Party site is visually quite attractive and has very clear navigation and calls to action. They also fall down on incomplete meta tags but other than that they achieve a good all-round score.
The Lib Dems provide us with quite an uninspiring site, lacking in attractive content and several technical areas. The negative statement on the homepage is not good practice for capturing visitors enthusiasm but social media and news feeds mean the site is kept fresh with content.
The Conservatives put in a poor performance lacking in some major areas. Bad mobile compatibility, poor code quality and incomplete headings and URL formatting mean they only achieve a 5.8 for accessibility. The site itself is visually cluttered with too many calls to action and a block design which doesn't define different areas well for visitors.
Coming in last is UKIP. On the plus side, their simple 3 category top menu makes navigation very easy and they have calls to action very similar to the Greens. A 7.1 for amount of content could be better and they also lack in meta tags, mobile compatibility, code quality and printability. They do have an online store selling jewellery, flags, clothing and 'campaigning essentials' but it uses an extremely dull e-commerce template. Could do better.