Volume 94, Issue 47

Wednesday, November 22, 2000


Alliance visits Western

Massive report to USC tonight

Calgary high school stabbing shocking

Campaign 2000 attacks national children's poverty stats

Campus Briefs

Planet Me

Top parties surf for votes - Gazette evaluates big party Web sites

Top parties surf for votes - Gazette evaluates big party Web sites

By Mike Murphy
Gazette Staff

In an effort to gauge how well Canada's top parties are presenting themselves online, The Gazette took a critical look at the official Web sites of the Canadian Alliance, the Liberals, the Progressive Conservatives and the New Democratic Party. Sites were evaluated based on two main criteria: aesthetic appeal and ease of use.

Canadian Alliance (C-)

The first few visual elements one sees when loading this sight are eye-catching and sleek. For example, modern, stylized black and white icons accompany key links and the green and blue of the party's logo blends nicely into a pastiche of images of "average" Canadians.

Despite these nice touches, the page as a whole lacks aesthetic unity. There are too many colours (blue, green, orange, red) and too much variability in the style and size of fonts. The result is eye-offending and fails to draw the user's attention to the site's most important features.

Liberal Party (B)

The Grit homepage, www.liberal.ca, looks professional and slick. The opening page is well-laid out and takes the guess-work out of finding policy documents and information on candidates. However, clicking a link to London North Centre candidate, Joe Fontana, brings up a strange and unneccessary multimedia presentation as a series of red words like "sharing," "caring," and "inclusive" float across your monitor.

Finally, a portrait of a young-looking Pierre Trudeau centres itself and remains on-screen before an image of Jean Chretien superimposes itself over Trudeau. For a party trying to deflect accusations of capitalizing on Trudeau's death, the visual presentation is a big mistake.

New Democratic Party (B-)

Like the Liberals, the NDP site (www.ndp.ca) designers realized less is more and have created a smart-looking page by sticking almost exclusively to the orange of the party's logo. The layout of links is good, making it easy to find the information one seeks.

One problem with the design, though, is the huge right and left margins of white space on either side of the main body of text and graphics. Almost a quarter of the screen's width has been consigned to margin-space, which tends to make the information look small and unimpressive.

Progressive Conservative Party (C),

This page, www.pcparty.ca, might have scored higher, but there is currently no active link to get information on London North Centre candidate, Lorie Johnson.

To its credit, the site looks good, using the same collage of "average" Canadians design as the Alliance to create an eye-catching main page. Another smart feature is the large photograph of Joe Clark that greets users when they first log on. The image makes it immediately clear who this page wants you to vote for and will probably ingrain Joe's mug in the minds of those who see it.

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Copyright The Gazette 2000