Sunday 4 November 2012

Glen Murray's web page

Glen Murray, Toronto Centre MPP and former mayor of Winnipeg, announced today that he's running for the leadership of the Ontario Liberal Party in the wake of Dalton McGuinty's resignation.

We at the Peanut wish him luck in this new endeavor. He may very well make a decent Premier. I believe that had he stayed on longer as Winnipeg's mayor, we would be in a better place today than we currently are. He seemed like a credible guy and he had some vision, but unfortunately he didn't stick around to follow it through. Perhaps the higher office of leader of a provincial party / Premier will satisfy his ambitions.

Winning an election is about connecting with people, and to that end Murray is off to a bad start with his new web site:

The web site is terrible. His picture is blurry because it's a low-res photo blown up to a larger size; the logo looks like it was ripped off from Target; the website emphatically blinks every 10 seconds as it refreshes; but most of all the layout is awful.

The most common screen resolution of visitors to this blog,, is 1280 x 800. This is what his web page looks like on that size of monitor:

Not only is the right side of the page cut off, even with a 1280 pixel wide screen, but all of the actual content of the web page is not visible. Even worse, on a traditional 1024 x 768 display you can't even see the DONATE and GET INVOLVED buttons. Literally all you see is the home page stamp in the top left corner and part of the giant banner.

That banner ... that banner is massive. Glen Murray's face alone consumes over 10% of the visible area on a 1024 x 768 display. If you've ever seen Glen in person you'll know that he does indeed have a big head. Physically. It's quite a large melon. However on a web site these are things you have control over.

Compounding the inefficiency of the web site is a vast amount of wasted space. A good web site will have a clean look and appear uncluttered, but this web site has gone to the extreme of making the welcome page almost entirely devoid of content.
To reiterate: the major problem here is that there is little to no actual content visible when a visitor arrives at the web page. The useful stuff -- Twitter feed, discussion links, news items, upcoming events, etc -- all occur 770 pixels down the page. When you add on the menu bar for the browser, the content starts at about 900 pixels. Perhaps as Premier, Glen will implement a government program to provide every computer user in Ontario with a giant monitor, but we can assume that today many people will be visiting this web site from laptops or desktops with modest monitors. If his visitors mirror those of this blog, 65% of them will not see a single link to any of the content mentioned above without scrolling down.

As for the content itself, I have to assume it will improve, but some initial thoughts are:

Twitter: this is NOT a Twitter feed from Glen Murray. It is a feed of tweets from Glen's RenewLiberal campaign twitter account, ensuring that nothing of interest will ever show up here. This ought to be a real-time feed of Glen's own tweets, and Glen should ensure that his tweets are not the usual boring drivel that most politicians are prone to. (More on my thoughts about this here.)

News: Here you will only find undescriptive links to policy statements by Glenn himself. These are not news items at all, and there is no information to grab the reader. Why not at least add a brief synopsis of the item? "Smart Government" is nothing more than a catch phrase. I'm not going to click on that. Sorry.

Upcoming Events: as of right now, the only event posted has already passed. Perhaps this should be renamed "Past Events" if they don't plan on being proactive with this.

Discussions: I'll cut him some slack on not having anything here yet, but it would have been a great idea to get a discussion ready for the launch of the web page. How likely am I to return if I see nothing there?

To summarize: I don't understand what they were thinking when they set this thing up. Premier hopeful Glen Murray will have a difficult time engaging voters if his web site is not the least bit engaging.

Glen's head actual web-site size:
warning: do not make this the last thing you see before you go to bed.

1 comment:

Brian said...

It's not hard to speculate on what they were thinking if you check out the politics involved instead of assuming Glen or the OLP thinks online-first instead of politics + news cycle first.

For a week now, major-league candidates have been bowing out of the leadership race. Glen is ever-ready to grab any opportunity to run for any higher office if one comes available; "ambition" seems too generous when words like "crave" and "lust" are also around. But he's not always *that* ready. He resigned on Saturday, then announced on a Sunday, racing to be the first out before Wynne and others make their own announcements which had been formally scheduled for early next week as of Friday.

Note here, for example: in this Star story, Murray claims his visuals + materials prove he's been preparing for "weeks," rather than rushing to upstage Wynne. McGuinty only announced his resignation 20 days ago. Judge for yourself...

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