Introducing the all-new LibDems.org.uk website

If you’ve visited the Liberal Democrat party website in the last 24 hours, you’ll have noticed quite a dramatic change. Here, David Loxton, the party’s director of marketing, fundraising and members’ services explains the thinking behind the new site, and previews some of the other exciting new changes emerging within the party’s web strategy.

The new Liberal Democrat web strategy has been launched with a redesigned libdems.org.uk as its first stage. The new version is much more focused on setting out what the Liberal Democrats stand for, who we are and what visitors to the site can do to help.

Lib Dem web screenshotOver the summer the party surveyed users and conducted focus groups to find out opinions on the old site and want people expected to find on the main Liberal Democrat website. The research backed up the view that the party was trying achieve too many different tasks on the old site which made it very busy. The multitude of options distracted some users from finding what they wanted.

The new strategy splits the party’s internet presence across three websites, so that each can deliver a specific need, rather than trying to achieve everything in one place. The new libdems.org.uk has less content than the old version, but it organised in a much more user-driven way than before. The content that has gone is the internal, member-orientated material and this will reappear later on the other two sites.

The site makes use of the Party’s extended colour palette which was rolled out in the Euro-election campaign and at conference. This adds new colours to the existing black and gold.

The next stage to be released will be a new social action network site called ACT (previewed here on Lib Dem Voice) which should be ready in a couple of weeks. It will be open to all Liberal Democrat supporters, members and non-members. Users will be able to join groups, organise events, watch videos, talk politics and join in campaigns. The aim of the site is to mobilize an online community that reaches beyond the boundaries of formal party membership.

The final stage is a completely new members’ site. This will replace the existing members’-only page, and will give members access to party news, resources, training and information about how the party works. It will incorporate the material currently available through the Party’s extranet. The aim is to provide a unified on-line resource centre for members.

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38 Comments

  • Croslandist 4th Nov '09 - 1:48pm

    The new site looks great. I’m really looking forward to seeing what Act has to offer as well.

  • Pavement Politico 4th Nov '09 - 1:54pm

    Still too much teal.

  • David Loxton 4th Nov '09 - 2:34pm

    LDV caught me out slightly by putting the above straight up as an article, so I want to add a namecheck to Cat Turner, Sam Lockwood, David Angell and our partners at Being Digital for doing the work to get the new site up and running.

  • Can we please have the Extranet material back sooner rather than later? Yes, it was confusing and difficult to navigate sometimes so I welcome any improvement but I miss it already!

  • The extranet is still there – just the link which has gone

  • Would prefer “Fairness”, “Equality of Opportunity” or “Equity” to just “Equality”. We are not all equal, and any party that celebrates diversity should recognise that.

  • To Clarify:

    eq·ui·ty (kw-t)
    n. pl. eq·ui·ties
    1. The state, quality, or ideal of being just, impartial, and fair.
    2. Something that is just, impartial, and fair.

    e·qual (kwl)
    adj.
    1. Having the same quantity, measure, or value as another.
    2. Mathematics Being the same or identical to in value.
    3.
    a. Having the same privileges, status, or rights: equal before the law.
    b. Being the same for all members of a group: gave every player an equal chance to win.
    4.
    a. Having the requisite qualities, such as strength or ability, for a task or situation: “Elizabeth found herself quite equal to the scene” (Jane Austen).
    b. Adequate in extent, amount, or degree.
    5. Impartial; just; equitable.
    6. Tranquil; equable.
    7. Showing or having no variance in proportion, structure, or appearance.

    Equality has too many illiberal connotations; equity is more nuanced.

  • If hte Extranet is still there but the link isn’t, how do I find it? My favourites link doesn’t work any more. (ldextranet.haecceitas.com) .

    Kay

  • David Loxton 4th Nov '09 - 3:43pm

    The Extranet link is: extranet.libdems.org.uk

  • Herbert Brown 4th Nov '09 - 4:04pm

    Maybe I’m getting old, but I don’t think light grey text on a white background is the easiest thing to read.

  • Richard Huzzey 4th Nov '09 - 4:18pm

    Alix – The pocket guide to policies has copy that is neither too vague or too long. I think it would be good to use the material from that on different sections of the site, rather than expect people to open it as a PDF.

  • Hmm, I still can’t find specific policy motions easily. I’m told that we had one on software patents in 2005. Since that’s not mainstream enough to be covered in one of the vague overviews, I have no idea what it said or what the votes on it were. A search box on the policy motions page would be ideal.

    I also can’t find whether a Liberal Democrat government would hold a referendum on whether or not the UK would be in the EU. It was in our European manifesto in June, but all I can find on the site now is that we’ve “argued for it” in the past, and that if there is a referendum it should be on membership of the EU and not the Lisbon Treaty.

    Finally, the links to news stories still look bloody awful, with those UUID things on the end. It’s embarrassing to e-mail links like that around – perhaps we could have an automatic short link thing like libdems.org.uk/news/298 which redirects? Would probably be good for the Twits too.

  • In terms of layout, the site doesn’t play well with different sized browser windows or font sizes, which is bad for accessibility. The layout’s pretty poor in a text browser / screen reader, and the front page is too cluttered.

    I’m not convinced that the new site is an improvement on the old.

  • The grey text on white is quite hard to read. I have good eyesight for colour, but a friend commented to me that they found it hard to spot what was blue and what was grey, so perhaps making the grey bits black would help with distinguishing what’s what?

  • Layout is more modern. There’s a bit too much teal, but at least the ghastly neon yellow is gone. I can now read the site without going blind.

  • rantersparadise, I’m not sure how you go from I’m not convinced that the new site is an improvement on the old to assuming I liked the old one.

    I’m sure not all users think like me. But one of the claimed improvements of the new site is to make it easier for people to learn what the Lib Dems stand for – I’ve given a couple of examples where it’s no easier on the new site than on the old, based on Lib Dem policy I’ve actually been asked about by voters.

  • Paul Griffiths 4th Nov '09 - 8:03pm

    Herbert Brown:
    Like me, you probably are getting old, but that’s no excuse for low-contrast web typography. Darker text, please, Mr Loxton.

    Dave Page:
    OT: I can’t find anything relevant in 2005, but Spring Conference 2003 debated Policy Paper 54 “Making IT Work” which included only a passing reference to software patents. The accompanying policy motion was even more oblique: “Conference in particular welcomes the Paper’s proposals to … reconcile the interests of the digital producer and the digital consumer while maintaining a commitment to a well-regulated free market by … supporting continued widespread innovation by resisting the wider application of patents in this area.”

  • Paul, did you find that information from Spring Conference 2003 by looking on the new site? And if so, how?

  • Paul Griffiths 4th Nov '09 - 8:29pm

    Er, no. I found that information because I have:
    (a) A copy of every Conference Report and Policy Paper for the past 15 years.
    (b) No life.

  • Well a revamp was overdue, but frankly, this attempt isn’t very good. Try for instance finding the PPC for your area
    by scrolling though 4 at a time in alpabetical order. The policy stuff goes from brief to tedious with no middle ground (as others have noted) The volunteering/supporter section is too long winded.

    I am beginning to think that the party is incapable of producing a clear, concise explanation of what we stand for, as certain key people don’t seem to know.

    Is it just me or are photos misisng for some MEPs ?

  • Croslandist 4th Nov '09 - 9:21pm

    I’m not sure that “it’s quite difficult to locate ancient policy papers” is a very good criticism. How many people go to political party websites looking for these things?

  • People go to political party websites looking for policies on issues, Croslandist. It doesn’t matter how ancient the policy is, but people should be able to find them.

  • Aside from my (major) reservations about the colour scheme we also seem to have airbrushed another chunk of policy papers from existence as only 6 show up on the relevant page – as opposed to the greater number actually passed by conference.

  • David Loxton 5th Nov '09 - 12:09pm

    The docs should all be PDFs and they will be soon. We are taking a look at the body-text contrast issue. I think that the policy content is bound to evolve, particularly as we are now in the run-up period to the general election. There is actually more on-the-page policy content (as opposed to downloads) than there was on the old site. The new site also has more analytical tools, so we can see how users respond to, or find their way around, the various sections.

    As I said in my article, this launch is not the end of the process of developing the Liberal Democrat presence on the web.

    Thanks for the feedback here and elsewhere, which we do read avidly!

  • Oh dear, just tried submitting some feedback on the website itself at https://www.libdems.org.uk/contact.aspx but the form doesn’t work in either of my browsers (Konqueror and Iceweasel) – both say “This field is required” under the (filled-in) “Enter your Comments” box.

    Any idea how to submit feedback without using the feedback form?

One Trackback

  • By The future’s turquoise? on Sun 13th December 2009 at 4:47 pm.

    [...] Coincidence, or not, that turquoise features strongly in the Liberal Democrats’ new extended colour palette? [...]

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