Wednesday, 1 September 2010

UUP Revamp - Updated

I'm happened upon the UUP website this evening and it's had a bit of revamp (when this occurred I do not know as I'm not a regular visitor.) 

Light blues are in as is the emphasis on the UUP branding.  As with much website design it goes for the good old boxes approach to differentiate sections on a page and the front page works as two clearly defined parts when you scroll down. 

The prominence of the flickr account I think is possibly a mistake. It may be fine when you get a pic like this but maybe not as good a first impression with a pic like this.  Sensibly they have some smiley bright younger people on the get involved section (Joanne Dobson and Sandra Overend if my eyes don't deceive me) but the back drop takes away from the positivity of it somewhat (looks like they were standing in front of a memorial of some sort when it was taken - not a good semiotic). Equally having the facebook logo more prominent than your own branding seems a bit OTT.

It appears to be having some teething troubles in terms of links too.  The read more on top story, the leadership election, leads to a blank page as do some of its latest press releases. (UPDATE All fixed now).  The Latest News Headlines link goes to the speeches section with the last contribution to that in June.  However, nothing that can't be ironed out.

Overall it doesn't work for me.  It is too sparse with a lack of a real identity to it.  If it were a building it would be breezeblock with a coat of paint over it and a few nice pics put up to take away from its bare look.

UPDATE 2:  Davy Sims the UU Director of Comms explains the process he is undertaking with the website and is seeking feedback in the comments and on facebook.


Anonymous said...

The idea seemed to be a good one when it first appeared.

However, this particular channel has only had about a dozen programmes on it in a year.

They obviously like repeats!

davy sims said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
davy sims said...

Thanks for taking the time to look and comment (no, really I’m not being sarcastic). Some of what you say I agree with – but the opportunity I have is to take a starting point and to build from there which is the general idea.

It’s essentially a re-skin and that's where I'll build from. I’ve opened a discussion on the UUP Facebook page which I hope you'll contribute to.

The real challenge of any website is not how it looks, but how it works. I know there is a long way to go to achieve the ideal, but over the next six months, that’s what I want to do. I hope that will be with input from all users.

To simply take a website on how it looks misses the point – it’s all about how it works – user side and management side. Subjective observations on how it looks are facile – subjective. Yes it should be appealing, but it should be functional. We buy door handles to (first and foremost) open a door - how the door-handle looks is a subjective decision.

What I want to do in time is an objective ‘how it works’. It'll take a few months. I used to do this on development servers with focus groups - frankly I'm happier to do it live and get real responses from real people.
Oh, and I don't do the design - I commission it from people more talented than me.

But thanks for taking the time – there are a couple of objective points which are going on my list of things to fix.

Always interesting reading on the great guru of design Jakob Nielsen at


UUP's Director of Communications

Just noticed the comment on - I'm also doing a bit of work on videos, too. But don't expect broadcast standard stuff - that's not the way the web should be. It is what it is itself and shouldn't imitate other media - subjective opinion I know.

davy sims said...

Lee - posted an additional comment that hasn't shown up to say I found some typos on my original comments and to congratulate you on your top 20 NI blogs.

Well done.

Lee said...

No worries I never shy away from offering an opinion (even when shutting up would be very sensible).

Thanks for the link. My impressions last night were essentially my first look and a few minutes hoking about the site in content terms. In a site I'm looking for three things - navigability, content and an attractive look/design. I've updated the blog to highlight your comments and desire for feedback.

davy sims said...

Thanks and I've linked back from Facebook.

Lee said...


I thought it was a double posting so didn't ok it. I can if you want me to.

Thanks, it was a complete surprise. (I hadn't even bothered to vote for myself)