The National Consumer Agency (NCA) has a site at www.consumerconnect.ie advising consumers of their legal rights, as well as tips and “how-to guides” for consumers in general.
The content is no-nonsense, explained simply, and covers sensible topics like how much it costs to get a new connection to electricity or gas or how to save money by swapping banks.
Although the material is fairly comprehensive and useful, it is nested away among submenu after submenu and therefore there’s no clear way to know where you came from and how to get back to a topic you were reading about.
The design is clean and neat though, all white with some bright cheery graphics and pictures, and in fairness there is a news feed on the home page with an RSS (Really Simple Syndication) option.
The overall navigation is a bit weird though: when you click on a news story to read it, the news menu disappears from the side so you have to click the back button on your browser to go back and read more stories.
Generally design like that frustrates me and I won’t bother visiting again purely for browsing pleasure because I can’t be bothered relying purely on my back button to get me around a site.
Although, like I said, the content is very useful, I can’t help but feel that whoever wrote it thinks the reader needs thinks broken down really simply for them in a primary school level.
I was mildly interested in reading about scams and how to avoid them but my enthusiasm faded when I read this: “Pyramid schemes come in all shapes and sizes, from clubs to chain letters. But in every case the scam is a con.”
This is almost condescending in its simplicity but obviously not aimed at children, seeing as how kids aren’t big on investing in pyramid schemes. I think maybe the site visitor should be given a bit more credit for understanding basic concepts.
This aside, there is a podcast on scams available on the homepage. I listened to some of it and it wasn’t a sober discussion on scams, their legality and what your rights are when you’re caught. It was more of a pop music countdown of top 10 scams.
Basically, this website is an information service which I’m glad exists but I was disappointed by the layout and the fact that some of the content was over-simplistic.
It’s a good place to get up to speed on the basics, perhaps. I had a look at who was on the NCA board and saw that Eddie Hobbs was present. That might explain a lot.
By Marie Boran