“Web Design doesn’t matter” – Irish Government

web design

The other day i came across this post on michele.me and like Michele, was shocked to discover that this goingdigital.ie website has been created & endorsed by the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources…

What’s it all about?

I’d like to think that this is all just a genius marketing plan to build an awful looking website, get the tech community’s backs up and then roll out a ‘proper’ website as a kind of ‘ha, fooled you all’ PR stunt. I don’t think that’s the case…

going digital

There’s so much wrong with this site that if i were to stumble upon it for the first time not knowing what it was about or who was behind it, i’d immediately think ‘secondary school student’ learning the ropes or just playing around with a website. That or else i’d think it was created in the early-mid 00’s and neglected since… but no… this is a website which gets the government’s stamp of approval.

It’s designed to inform the public that they basically need to get a new TV or a new box because we’re scrapping the old analogue TV network and going all digital. Given the fact that it’s a tech related project and a website created by the government equivalent of their ‘tech’ department, you’d expect the website to be of a decent standard.

Some Constructive Criticism

Firstly, the black background doesn’t work for me. I never like black backgrounds on websites. Stay on the site for 5 minutes then visit google – congratulations, you’ve just blinded yourself. Now let’s move on to margins, alignment and spacing… zero margins on a website is a very minor thing that has a huge impact on the overall look and feel. This is just poor design… no defence. Same with the menu items… some of them just look squashed and all run in to one.

Don’t ask me what they’re trying to achieve by having the facebook & twitter icons right aligned, text left aligned that runs on to two lines when it could clearly fit on one line… and what about those ‘squashed and stretched’ photos underneath the video? Too lazy to spend 2 minutes in photoshop with them? That’s what it looks like…

But wait, it gets better… at the bottom is a link for ‘accessibility’ (because these guys clearly pride themselves good design practices). To the right of the footer you’ll see a little question mark. That’s *supposed* to link to the ‘accessibility’ page too but it doesn’t. It’s a broken link which links to a 404 error page, not even a custom 404 error page, just a default one where the only way you can get out of it is to click the back button. The site also fails markup validation on w3c.org showing 44 errors. Might want to rethink promoting accessibility as if to say you care about the people using the site…

going digital

What about the content? Well whoever put this site together clearly doesn’t give a toss about design or best practices. If you take the time to actually run through the content it’s clear they don’t give a toss about that either…

going digital

going digital

Those two images above are screenshots with some content pages from the site. You’ll see some diagrams in them. Try reading them. You might be *just about* able to make out the text in them.


Out of 10, knowing this is a government department backed site and is launching a social media  / PR campaign, i’d give this site a -1. It’s almost like a joke… it’s the type of website i’d expect on April Fool’s Day set up by bored 1st year IT students as a really elaborate prank. Mind you, even the mix tape amnesty website (which was a prank) looked a hell of a lot better than this and got more exposure too. In the world of web design, this is the equivalent of murder. The fact it’s endorsed by a government just makes it a million times worse.

To round off in style, i’ll leave you with a screenshot of how the website looks on an iphone… (i had to zoom out a bit to fit the video in)

If this cost more than free, then somebody has an awful lot of questions to answer…

1 thought on ““Web Design doesn’t matter” – Irish Government”

  1. Very late to the party here, but just wanted to tip my hat to you for highlighting what a disaster this is. What a waste and terrible representation of a supposedly informative public campaign.

Leave a Reply