, Really?

Kenya @ 50 Logo

On 20th October 2013, Kenya celebrated Mashujaa Day (“Heroes Day”) and launched the Kenya at 50 website. As curiosity would have it, I immediately logged onto the website to have a look (“criticize”). Here’s what I found.

1) Essential Information Left Out:
Sometimes it’s what bad design leaves out, not what it puts in, that causes the biggest problems. Creating a website that lacks significant and relevant pieces of information can be disastrous. By failing to fully answer your visitors’ questions or fulfill their needs, your website will quickly fall short of their expectations and potential return traffic will instead move elsewhere.

One of the main problems found in bad website design is a lack of contact information, as clearly exhibited in the Kenya @ 50 website. In the minimum, there should be a contact form to send the website administrator our feedback.

2) Website Lacks Personality:
Website visitors are goal-driven. They arrive at your website looking for a specific product or piece of information, so if your site lacks a clear purpose and sense of self, these users will quickly move onto the next option listed by their search engine. Bad website design first and foremost involves a homepage that does not adequately represent your site or prove why this site is relevant. Imbuing your site with the look, information, and personality that will speak to your niche audience is essential for capturing their initial attention.

First impressions are everything. Whether or not visitors move onto other sections of the website hinges on this initial presentation.

The website homepage is boring. It’s purpose is stated in lifeless copy that is NOT engaging. It is not clear who the target audience is. There’s no call to action for more in-depth site exploration.

3) Failure to Establish Credibility:
Failing to inspire confidence in your readers is a major problem that can easily get in the way of a website’s success. It is necessary that your design features elements which prove to visitors that they can trust the information found within your pages. Immediate warning signs that diminish your site’s credibility are poorly written copy, errors in grammar and spelling, a lack of visual cleanliness, and a site that looks outdated.

This site exhibits most of the problems highlighted above. The choice of background is poor, it does not reinforce communication of the main goal of the website. Some sections of the site have copy that is left aligned, others are justified and others are centre-aligned.

The designer should have chosen a given mode of alignment and stuck to it.

Think about it: If a site looks old, then might you conclude that the information contained therein is old, too? Therefore, it’s imperative that you continue to update and improve your website over time, being careful not to fall behind new trends. Messy visuals such as poorly aligned images and text in paragraphs give the impression that the website creator hasn’t put a lot of thought or effort into the site.

4) Inconsistent Site Navigation:
Navigation is one of the most critical elements of a website. It enables a user to find content in your website, while also allowing a user to determine what kind of information is available on the site and whether it is relevant to them.

This site has quite a number of links that do NOT work among them the Events Calendar, Partners & Sponsors, Video and Photo Gallery & Latest News. Wouldn’t it be more prudent for the website designer to have left out the links if they have no content?

5) Inconsistent use of Design Principles (proximity):

  • The padding (space between an element’s border and the content within it) between logo and body border not there.
  • Images in post content are also aligned next to text.
  • Video feed and video highlight sections poorly implemented. Alignment is off.

Unprofessional web design, to say the least. Could someone please pull down the website?

What’s your take? (Please leave us your comments.)