Considering my line of work, I want to state at the outset that the following opinion has nothing to do with my employer and is mine alone.
The Irish Times is reporting that the re-development of ireland.com, the domain bought by Tourism Ireland for €500k late last year, has cost €2.5 million. That’s a combined total of €3 million for the entire project. I’ve attached a screenshot of the homepage below:
You can click through to see the actual site here. The Irish Times piece claims that the site was “specifically designed with touch-based tablets in mind”. How is that the case when the site isn’t responsive? 2013 may be the year of The Gathering but it’s also the year of responsive design, according to Mashable. Spending that amount of money on a site in the first place is, to my mind, simply excessive but not building it to the standards we’re adopting around new devices is crazy. Add that to the fact that:
- – There’s way too much going on. Your eye is drawn all over the place and there’s no flow. You cannot expect users to learn how to use your site. It leads to frustration and they will leave. I’d love to see the initial Google Analytics data.
- – As pointed out by @tadywankenobi: “in French, all the accented chars in titles are full html entities. e.g. Découvrez l'Irlande”
- – @lexia points out the problems with colours. Can you see this button says?
- – @paulmwatson points out that the asp.net viewstate is downloaded every time a page is requested. That’s additional code burden for any device, let alone a tablet or a phone.
This would sound like nitpicking but when you’re spending €2,500,000 on a product, I would expect that it would shine from top to bottom. I’d have user tested it inside out to ensure it was fit for purpose because I believe this site will not enhance Tourism Ireland’s ability to attract tourists. If anything, it will do the opposite.
Note: This is a blog post written quite quickly and isn’t comprehensive in terms of the site’s issues. I’d recommend reading @cloudsteph’s constructive feedback here and also searching Twitter for ‘ireland.com‘