August 07, 2007
A recent visit to the White House web site led me to wonder what the web sites of other world leaders looked like.
Were they valued as a key way to communicate with the electorate or treated as more of a dumping ground for manifestos? Did they follow any good design principles and have any aesthetic qualities? I was keen to find out.
Here's a collection of 20 or so sites I looked at. Click on the image to view the web site.
Don't miss: Kazakhstan's crazy Flash masthead and President Ahmadinejad's blog.
Not a badly designed site, although a little heavy on the blue. The color palette could do with brightening up — say, a little accent red from the colors of the national flag?
I love the the "welcome to my site" section on the right sidebar (although for all the wrong reasons). It reads like something you'd find on a Geocities page:
Welcome to my site. Here you will find information on different aspects of…
Did anyone actually read this content (out loud)? Surely there is something more important than this to put in such a prominent position on the home page?
This site appears well laid out, although the promo boxes on the right look like ads so I'd imagine that they are largely ignored. Because of the color scheme (and the World Cup) it is instantly recognizable as being related to Brazil, so they must have their branding right.
I tried to find the Chinese version of this site, but couldn't. A particularly uninspiring and static site with not a hint of news or anything approaching current affairs. It also reminds me of one of the first sites I ever built (yikes).
A functional and largely uninspiring site. I wonder what the purpose is of the red right hand borders on the navigation? It certainly calls attention to these links, although whether it's intentional or not is hard to say.
It certainly has a very minimalist logo (I wonder how much that cost to develop). The site's design is clean, if rather bland and a bit heavy on the beige.
My oh my, where to start? What is up with that color palette — you can use any color you like as long as it's some shade of brown or orange? Clearly, this site has not had a redesign since it was originally launched back in the early days of the internet.
Given that my standards have been dropping as I've been reviewing the above sites, this one doesn't look too bad (did I really just say that?) And judging from the banner, President Yudhoyono lives in a really big palace.
It's interesting to see a site designed to be read from right-to-left. However, aside from the elegant Iranian script, there is little to recommend from a design standpoint. I'm not sure what the flowery motif in the banner is supposed to convey, but it looks like a bunch of dolphins playing.
On the bright side, President Ahmadinejad has a blog, which is available in English (to frequently amusing grammatical effect). However, credit where it's due — what other leader is communicating in such a personal way, and even allows you to post comments?
Visually this site is a mess, with no overall sense of cohesion. It's hard to believe that this site represents the leadership of such a globally important nation.
The hidden gem in the sites I looked at. Seems like nothing special from the screenshot and was most likely designed by the president's nephew who happens to do a bit of web design on the side.
However, if you click through to the site and wait a moment for it to load, you will see that banner animate in all its glory — with waving flag and clouds rolling across the sky. Classic stuff, if a little disconcerting for some reason.
Finally, a modern-looking site. The layout is well-proportioned and clear although the color scheme is a little muted.
Yet another sad example of nepotism in government. Just how many world leaders have nephews moonlighting as web designers? Surely the Office of the Prime Minister could have sprung for a real agency to design the site?
What's particularly bad is that due to the long left sidebar, most of the main content area is empty, making it look like there's nothing going on as far as the prime minister is concerned. Not a great first impression.
Nice site — bold colors; good composition. Enough said.
What does this home page tell you? Clearly, this site is about the holder rather than the office of the presidency.
The consumer electronics section, over on the left, seems a little out of place. Icons probably would have worked better.
I don't see why the main navigation requires some explanatory text as it doesn't tell you anything useful. "Newsroom" — "Latest news from the Office of the President." You don't say?
A cleanly designed, content rich site, although it feels somewhat disorganized and could do with a stronger adherence to a grid layout.
A well designed and laid out site, with the exception of the unnecessary welcome message. The right side bar seems a little weak with links to mystery PDF documents.
Not bad, but the content is crying out for some paragraphs and some better spacing. Why go to all this trouble to develop a site and then not organize the content so that it can be read easily?
The empty gray header seems like a missed opportunity to utilize this valuable real estate — maybe some Google Ads?
I like this site. It's straight forward, utilitarian and content-rich. I'm not a huge fan of the color-scheme — some of the colors seem a little too 'muddy'.
However, this looks like a site that would have answers to my questions and would be worth exploring.
The font is tiny on my 1920×1200 resolution monitor, but I guess I'm the exception.
I'm not sure why the left nav is so wide; however, overall it looks like a pretty good site — maybe a little fussy in terms of visual design, but clearly full of content, well laid-out and easy to navigate.
As I looked through the sites, it was interesting to see that two camps emerged — those that had a photo of the current incumbent splashed across the home page and those that did not.
I assume that those that did not were trying to convey that the office of the president, prime minister, etc is bigger than any one person. However, it does seem a little odd in some cases (Brazil) to not even include a single image of the leader of the country.
Posted on: August 7, 2007 | 5 Comments