Posted by Declan Magee | Posted in Web Design & Development Dublin | Posted on 20-04-2009
As many of you may have read over the last week or so, Fine Gael have made a massive blunder when it comes to their online profile. They basicaly have taken creative inspiration from bbc.co.uk , (which i think is fine) but to actually use the exact same code as the BBC and not even attempt to change CSS class names, that’s just the epitome of plagiarism and down right laziness.
As @cloudsteph posted on their blog, the CSS class name values were exactly the same as the BBC website, which another developer from the BBC has said “the ‘blq’ class names refer to the ‘Barlesque’ container uses to roll out the central masthead and footer across all BBC sites so it’s very unlikely they also used this obscure class name by co-incidence.”
As you can see from the screen grab of Steph’s post below, the developers of the site used the exact same class names as that of the BBC website.
Once this spread rapidly via Irish bloggers, it forced Fine Gael to make a statement defending themselves, “What has been asserted is not correct; there are grains of truth in this thing but they would get a life of their own on the internet,” a party spokesman said.
“We looked at all the best news and political websites around the world and we liked the look of the BBC site so we wanted to have a template that looked like the BBC.
“We looked at the Republicans, the Democrats, Labour, the Tories, the SNP, Sarkozy, Merkel; we looked at all of them – Sky, the BBC, Unison, Time – all the main strong websites to see what worked and looked the best.”
At present, Fine Gael have updated their CSS and changed code to cover their tracks on a badly run project, that obviously cut some major corners. This brings up another topic, of Irish political parties and politicians wanting to add in “Facebook, Twitter and other social networking campaigns” to their site just to tick off a box and hope that people will be engaged. You can have all the functionality in the world, but getting the end user to actually interact with it is another thing entirely, therefore more investment is required otherwise the initial “checklist” website is not worth the screen real estate it holds.
Fine Gael and BBC websites compared side by side: