Part 3 – The Liberal Democrats – www.libdems.org.uk
The Lib Dems have a compact homepage that signposts to all the main tasks. The navigation is well labelled and includes all the main purposes of the site –find out who the Liberal Democrats are, what they stand for and how to get involved.
The homepage banner rotates fairly quickly through images of Clegg speaking in various locations– there are no real messages here, only signposts to read the manifesto or watch the first debate. It feels as though they are capitalising on the recent TV debate to create familiarity with Nick Clegg. There is even a link to a separate site – nickclegg.com, for those who can’t get enough of him.
A link to their manifesto and main areas of policy are shown as icons down the left of the homepage, possibly in priority order. There is a distinct difference in the areas they have given priority compared to Labour and the Conservatives, with environment featuring first. Short sub-titles explain the focus of their policies before clicking.
Their manifesto page contains videos of Nick Clegg talking through the key points, which is much more engaging than a long document. Options to share on Facebook or tweet are included appropriately.
The policy pages themselves are text heavy but do show highlights first with links to full details. They are much less slogan led than the Conservatives and use positive, action-led language (‘we will..’) with specific details.
Quick links to the most important calls to action are clearly grouped together down the right hand side of each page. This includes find your local candidate, sign up to emails, volunteer, donate, join or renew your membership. There are also links to their social activities and their ACT site which is a microsite supporting this. Unlike the other parties, they are not using their main site as a hub of social activity. This makes the site less cluttered and it is easier to achieve the main tasks as a result.
The postcode look up to find my parliamentary candidate works well and correctly gives me the details of the constituency I live in and who my local Liberal Democrat candidate is with a short description. It’s a little off-putting that the contact email address for my local branch turns out to be for a local solicitors firm. This makes it feel too obvious that this isn’t a seat they think they can win.
The Lib Dems have a well-organised, straightforward site with a clear purpose. This isn’t a new site but they have successfully incorporated their manifesto, election information and some social elements to bring it up to date. Taking a different approach to Conservatives and Labour, they haven’t bombarded it with feeds of their different social networking activities. This means they lose some of the appearance of activity and popularity it gives the other parties but it also makes the most important actions on the site easer to find and the user journeys feel clearer.