This Charming Man…?

April 28, 2010

Of politics and technology

Filed under: Uncategorized — ihaventgotastitchtowear @ 6:20 pm

I usually blog about education and technology, or something that approximates that.

But I have been oh so slightly intrigued by the UK election and what’s happening with technology. A few years ago I did this presentation for on e-learning 2.0. The US primaries were on and I said that the primaries and the election would be lost or won in engagement with social media. Not too far off the mark I think. Well pretty obvious really.

So, I am a Brit and I’m living in Australia, and confession time I’m a life long Labour Party voter. So I am going to interested in what’s happening over there.

The thing that strikes me is how dull the websites are. Dull but the Labour and Lib Dems have at least had some usability thought given to them (that’s for you Ant). The manifestos are above the fold – bang straight in. Labour have some nice roll overs and the Lab and Lib Dems those get involved, volunteer, join buttons nice and prominent. the Tories use their real estate for the ‘call to arms’ type of thing with roll overs for various press releases and video streaming. Which we all know (but I’ve never figured out is a usability no-no).  The Tories have tried the whole social media, Facebook, Twitter presentation on the website but it just looks blocky, cluttered and inelegant.

What of the otherstuff? Well Facebook is just tribal and trollish, Twitter is really the place to be and some interesting stuff is being done using the iPhone.

The #ge2010 tag has been the one to watch with the big and little guns using it  and giving a real sense of what people are thinking, doing and saying. With less than 10 days to go this traffic is going to go through the roof. Also about a third of the big party candidates are tweeting away – they it has to be said are generally less interesting than those observing – but good on them. When elected let’s see if they keep it up.

I came across this website from some tweet. The Labour Party has an iPhone app that allows tele-canvessing from the phone. Pure genius. And something borrowed from the Obama campaign if I remember rightly. The piece argues that all the sexy stuff is happening under the hood, and isn’t at the presentation layer. So Labour is using smarts to mobilise its base, and the Tories are attracting voters through the web. 60,000 people have been contacted using the virtual phonebank. That’s a pretty interesting figure. I want to contribute something to the campaign but don’t want to spend 4 hours in a call centre. That’s OK download this app and do a few while you are waiting for the dinner to cook. Voila activate your base with the anytime/anywhere technology of social media. Class.

And on a final note – the Lib Dem manifesto. These guys must have been gutted by the delay in the release of the iPad. That thing was designed for a gesture device and just does not work for the web.

Well as this is my personal blog – vote early, vote often, vote Labour.



  1. Thanks for the shout-out!

    I’m struck by how similar they are in layout and interaction, particularly Labour and the Tories. The Tories page fonts don’t render well in Chrome (at least on my PC). Both L and the T’s home pages are too long with too much information IMO, the LibDems do better with an attempt to fit it all in above the fold.

    Comment by Ant — April 29, 2010 @ 10:40 am | Reply

  2. Oh apparently Nielsen did usability evaluations on the email campaigns – result, tories win on usability!

    Comment by Ant — April 29, 2010 @ 5:08 pm | Reply

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