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Parliament still hanging?

8 May

Britain have been left with a Hung Parliament for the first time in 36 years. A Hung Parliament is not the result that Britain was hoping for. And no it doesn’t mean that the winning party went out and got stupidly drunk resulting in a bad hangover! It means that we are still waiting for a decision to be made and us as a country have been left ‘hanging’ to know who will take over (or remain) as Prime Minister due to the fact that no Party gained an absolute majority of seats.

Neither party reached the necessary 326 seats to win so at the moment Gordon Brown remains where he is until a joint decision can be made. The Conservatives won most votes (306) falling short of the majority, they have asked the Lib Dems to support them in order to form a government.  If the Lib Dems were to join with the Tories then the majority of seats would be settled, however many people are scared at the prospect.

Nick Clegg has said that the party who gained the most seats in the election should have the right to take charge. However he still stands by his word saying that the Conservatives need to prove they have strong enough policies to govern the country.  Clegg states “It is now for the Conservative Party to prove that it is capable of seeking to govern in the national interest.” (BBC)

Brown have offered the Lib Dems talks if no agreement can be reached with the Tories. However Gordon Brown might decide his best option is to resign, in which case it is likely the Queen would invite David Cameron to form a government.

So is this what the UK really want? Can the Lib Dems actually form a coalition with the Tories, the two most opposing parties of the three? Clegg has called for the UK’s electoral system to be reformed, saying it is “broken” believing it “simply doesn’t reflect the hopes and aspirations of the British people.

So who is to actually blame for this situation. Is it us? The queues at the polling station proved that people flocked to vote, but are people actually voting for the right reasons. Students complained that they were put in ‘slow queues’ because it was imminent that they would choose to vote for the most fashionable and liberal party by supporting Clegg and the Lib Dems. Others simply may vote because they have heard one policy that strikes a chord? After all the continuous media coverage in the run up to the elections did make it hard to understand who stands for what!

It leaves the question of what is the best outcome of this hung parliament, Clegg to join forces with Cameron and Brown to step down politely? (Will that actually happen) Or Brown to take a stand and prove to the Lib Dems that he should remain PM. There are a number of options but they will have to hurry with their decisions that must be made by the time the Queen declares the new Prime Minister on the 25th May where she has the final say.

Now all we can do is wait until the so called leaders of our country reach a mature and joint decision on who will run the country best- like that’s going to happen anytime soon!

For up to date news on the 2010 Elections visit the BBC website, click here.

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What Election Party are you going to?

5 May

It’s nearly crunch time and Gordon Brown, Nick Clegg and David Cameron are sure to have a restless night as election voting gets under way tomorrow.

I have never been that interested in voting, but it is believed that more people will vote than ever before and I don’t like to be left out of things.  After all it is something we haven’t been able to get away from what with the continuous news coverage and manifestos broadcasted continually on radio stations and now the all of a sudden interest in Social Media to attract us ‘young people.’

If you’re having a bit of trouble and are confused about who to vote for why not visit Yahoo’s elections PARTY MATCHER (Click here). The short quiz style questions allow you to select what you most strongly support and oppose matching the beliefs to the parties. The Party Matcher definitely helped confirm who I will be voting for tomorrow.

These people are running our country and the decision is in our hands, so get to your nearest polling station and vote!

Polling stations open at 7am and close at 10pm tomorrow (06/05/2010)

Time to analyse

3 May

The Times is a daily national newspaper which has been being published in the United Kingdom since 1785. The Times has a dedicated website which provides its users with a database of news stories, new and old as well as extra features that are written especially for the website. Well known organisations such as The Times must be “aware that they have to give their visitors good reasons to visit their site and good reasons to return to it.” (Geest,2001, p1) There are a number of aspects of a webpage that if not done successfully can automatically put a reader and viewer off.

Searchability

In order for a site to be effective it must be searchable. When typing ‘times’ into Google, the Times Online is the first webpage that is presented. As well as a link to the site there are direct subject headings that will take the user directly to a specific type of news category for example “sport”. A search bar means that if the user is looking for a specific news story the Times Online search bar will allow the user to make a search before even entering the website.

Navigation

A website’s navigation scheme should be intuitive, predictable, and easy to find. (Summers & Summers, 2005) The Times Online site is simple to use, its main toolbar makes it easy for a user to navigate to their desired topic of the website, whether it is ‘businesses or ‘travel’ for example. Once selecting the desired toolbar the link is highlighted and another toolbar underneath gives a number of further options.  A Clearly labelled navigation bar is one of the easiest ways to create a satisfying navigational experience for its users (Cox and Koelzer, 2004).

Usability

A professional website must be faultless when it comes to the links. All the links on the Times website work fast and efficiently, taking the user to and from their selected topics of news. The simple layout of the toolbar allows the user to navigate around the website successfully. There is no overcrowding on the site and although at times attention may be given to the adverts bordering the page, the main information is centred in the middle of the homepage making it easy to gain the user’s attention to the most important news stories and features.

Design

According to Burgess (2008) a “website needs to objectively promote visual, functional and design consistency.” The design of a website is the first aspect that pulls a user in and persuades them to read on further.  The Times Online uses a plain design with blue, green and clear black font and a number of different headlines and images all placed on a white background.  The Times has a well known reputation so therefore the design of the website must work with the newspaper and its reputation in the industry. The majority of the layout suits the newspaper, and the plain white background promotes maturity. The green, white and blue colour scheme is kept across the whole site to follow through with the theme of keeping the site simple and business like.

Content

Content for the Times Online must be rich and informative to follow the reputation that the newspaper has held for many years.  At an initial glance it is clear that the site will fit within this requirement, the amount of news stories is ongoing, and when reading them they match closely to what would be expected of the Times newspaper; mature yet engaging news stories which are well written and presented.  The website boasts a high quantity of feature articles and other articles such as recipes, league tables, reviews, and interviews to name but a few. The news stories are sorted correctly under the specific headings on the toolbar. Burgess (2008) says that “content should be organised clearly and in a logical manner so information context is maintained.”

Video/Audio

A large variety of the news stories are supported with images or appropriate media, allowing for the user to support their reading with other mediums. Any media on the website which is provided in the format of audio, videos or slideshows load fast and play effectively on a regular internet connection.

Interactivity

“Interactivity” describes communication with a medium (Jucker, 2002, cited by Janoschka 2004). It allows a user to get involved with news topics and debates. The Times’ website allows people to comment on every news story published in a “have your say” box at the bottom of each story.

User Generated Content

User generated content comes from the “my profile” section, once registering with the Times Online the user is able to set up a personal profile and manage their own account. By registering the user is able to take part in competitions and promotions and sign up for free email bulletins.

To conclude, it is the clear that The Times Online works closely alongside the theme of The Times newspaper which has a high reputation in the newspaper industry. The website follows a simple yet effective design which reeks professionalism. Not only is the website easy to function but the straightforward layout makes it easy to navigate to a specific area of choice. On the whole The Times Online and its effective database provide its users with a satisfactory website experience.

For the full version click here

Barbie Princess

19 Feb

Okay so it’s not long since Princess Tiaamii, Katie Price’s daughter had her gorgeous curls cut off by Pete’s brother. Katie repied to the shock as she posted on Twitter: “Petes brother has cut princesses hair off can’t put it in a pony tail why would they do that to prove what point!”

Then Princess was shown on ITV posing as Katie Price’s “Mini Me” in fake eyelashes and make-up much to Pete’s disgrace. Pete replied saying: “It’s a two-year-old girl with false eyelashes, full make-up for the whole world to see. To be honest I’m disgusted with it – I don’t want to see that.”

The pair who split in May have continued feuds over their children’s hairstyles. (Junior’s bleach blonde hair and Princess’  curly locks) The next level was reached when Katie’s sister posted photos on her Facebook of Princess happily posing in lashes and make-up. Katie doesn’t see anything wrong with her daughter in the make-up and to be fair to her I agree. Every little girl thinks of themselves as a “Princess” and attacks their mums make-up bag! They find it even funnier when even though they are completely aware of being in the wrong they continue to pose to their parents who dig out the cameras when unable to keep a stern, angry face.

If the eyelash drama didn’t rattle Pete’s cage enough, then this is sure too. Princess posed with a new ghd treated hairstyle. Personally I think it suits her, but yet again it is totally unecessary. The last event may have turned out to be a initially innocent fiasco gone wrong, but we all know Pete will definitely not be happy with the straight locks his daughter was rocking on ITV2.

I suppose he does have a point, after all Daddy only wants to protect his little 2year old Princess!

The Sun online – good or bad?

2 Feb

Evaluating the official website of The Sun newspaper, how did I rate the website that runs alongside the famous newspaper?

Searchability: The site is the first to come up when typing “The Sun” into Google, the URL of the site is exactly the same as the name of the newspaper, so people shouldn’t have any difficulties with finding the site.

Usability: Despite the many flashing multimedia links and the diverse range of articles on the homepage, each page seems to load quickly when the links are pressed . All the pictures also act as links so if the picture catches your eye before the heading does, you can just press on the image.

Navigation: My first thoughts of the homepage is that it is overcrowded! As you click on the site you’re faced with a rainbow of different multimedia and articles. Although the link navigation proves to be successful; in my opinion the navigation could be hard in terms of finding exactly what you want. However the search bar at the top is an easy way of finding a specific article.

Design: The homepage uses a large heading at the top and a left hand side toolbar and a red and white colour screen. Although the toolbar layout seems pretty simple, there are a lot of links, and it could be time-consuming finding exactly what you want in the toolbar. In the middle of the page are print screens of popular newspaper articles, these flash from one to the other, although eye catching they take a huge amount of attention away from the website and in my opinion are not necessary. Along the right hand side there are many annoying adverts which take up too much space, wedged between the adverts are more articles headlines accompanied by small thumbnail images. Ticker lines and flashing images take the much-needed attention away from the headlines of the stories. As you keep scrolling down (quite far) there are more article headings all jumbled between forums and features. The design has a lot of potential, the colour scheme is successful in catching the eyes of its user, however the overcrowding of the features and articles makes me feel pretty claustrophobic!

Content: The content runs alongside the news of the day. However the website has taken the content out of hand. There are a good selection of well written (depends what you personally describe as well written, but well written in terms of “The Sun”) articles. On the other hand if you can’t find the articles then there is no point in having the site. The content needs to be presented simply. If the toolbar was used alongside a print screen of the newspaper’s front page article then I think it would be easier to find a specific article or just browse for the day-to-day news. The multimedia is not necessary and makes the site look tacky. The site is definitely not well signposted! The homepage left me feeling overwhelmed by the amount of articles the website is presenting.

Interactivity: The reader is invited to become involved with the website in the numerous polls named “have your say”. However these forums are lost in the homepage until the user navigates precisely to the dedicated forum “discussion” page.

UGC: The user is welcomed to create their own account in order to enter competitions and reply to discussions and forums.

Overall, although The Sun website does include a numerous variety of articles, I as a user felt lost and confused about exactly where I start to to find my particular chosen news. If I was unable to use the search bar then I would feel completely confused as to where to start a search for a particular item. The site has too much information and links which can go on forever. The headlines are wedged between flashing outside advertisements. I feel bombarded with the amount of eye-catching headlines, and feel that there is no priority given to the top stories of the day.

The essentials

26 Jan

Most people will agree that without their specially selected websites they would be a little bit lost, I definitely couldn’t live without these ones…


1) Facebook.com: The best way to keep in contact with friends online, and snoop for goss & photos as well as sharing my own.

2) Youtube.com: Provides easy links to funny vids, film trailers and music, there’s always something guaranteed to make me laugh on here!

3) Asos: A way to keep up with the latest fashions by drooling over clothes I can’t afford,as well  as searching for online bargains!

4) Arsenal FC: As a true gooner I check the site regularly for updates on injuries, scores & fixtures. Not forgetting tickets, which I usually can’t afford!