NDP Website an Embarrassment… Stolen from Obama.

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Old NDP siteHistorically Canada’s political branding and websites have been sub par at the best of times. But the one exception to that rule in the last few years has been the New Democratic Party (NDP), their recent re branding and online presence previous to this election has been a refreshing break in that trend. So when I went to visit the party websites after an election was called on the 12th I was disturbed at what I found.

It’s no secret that Layton is trying to import American style politics into our election this year. The party pridefully admits that their media strategy, their online campaign and their fundraising campaign is from south of the boarder; it’s painfully obvious that the NDP are hoping to catch some of the enthusiasm in the American Presidential campaign by borrowing from Senator Barack Obama.

But despite concepts being lifted wholly from Obama’s website, the execution of it is, quite frankly, horrible. The most obvious similarities are the donate splash page, and the sites header and navigation. However the thought put into Barack Obama’s layout and graphics are notably absent.

The content of the site appears to be jammed wherever there was space, action items are marginalized, and the content not directly inspired by the Senator’s site seems hapazard. The riding map page is one example of missing the boat entirely, and while I wouldn’t pick Drupal as my first choice to manage the sites content, the use of tables to layout the site, an archaic practice, is embarrassing.

Riding Maps

It’s clear that the shape of political branding is going to follow in Obama’s footsteps for years to come, it is undoubtedly one of the greatest brands to grace the political landscape in a long time; and Layton’s NDP are not the only party to recognize the success of Obama’s campaign. In the UK the Labour Party has adopted elements from Obama’s website into it’s own, but unlike the NDP they used them as jumping off points and not as something to be copied whole.

This new NDP site is not only an embarrassment but a huge step backwards from what was one of the only good political party websites in Canada. And for what? To trick people into thinking you’re Canada’s Barack Obama? How about a made in Canada solution for Canadian problems? We don’t need to copy our neighbours ideas, strategies, and designs; esspecialy if the execution is going to be so obvious and poorly done.

I believe Canada can do better, do you Jack?

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3 Responses to “NDP Website an Embarrassment… Stolen from Obama.”

  1. B Frank Says:

    John, while I agree that Canada could do much better than the NDP…

    I hardly see anything wrong with stealing good ideas from one of the most exemplary sites on the entire web. What makes the NDP site bad site is what they don’t steal (or what you can’t steal) — a sense of visual coherence (as you point out) and organizational elegence.

    My biggest beef with it is redundancy. The slim “Top Stories” column is a distraction the real top stories in the center. Obama’s site integrates their top news and featured items into the the same kind of dynamic thingy used on any major media sites that have been redesigned in the last year — but wasn’t copied by the NDP.

  2. John Leschinski Says:

    There isn’t anything wrong with stealing ideas, but they stole more then the idea of the top portion of the sites graphics. It’s a pretty blatant rip.

  3. B Frank Says:

    Ya, when you see things like, “Change that will move us forward” on the NDP site, it’s pretty tough to dispute your claim.

    How about this: who stole the casual, at-home sweater pose, Layton from Harper or Harper from Layton?

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