8 Apr 2004

What is it?
The address for the new look Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources. It is also accessible at www.marine.gov.ie, though it would give the false impression of a solely seaworthy theme. It was obviously felt in the department’s corridors that a revamp was necessary to make it easier and faster for visitors to find the information they required. This objective worked — navigation has been simplified with a sitemap, dropdown search menu and a keyword box.

What does it do?
The site endeavours to illustrate what each division of the department does, as well as covering the additional areas of broadcasting and energy. Each of the five sections has a subsection providing links to information on current projects in progress.

Using WinZip or Adobe Acrobat, visitors are free to download regulations, recent legislation and reports, including the strategy of the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources for the period 2003-2005. The latest news section (the online bank of press releases) is updated every two to three days, but with a department portfolio covering such a wide area of activity this is not surprising.

There is also a feedback section where visitors can register their likes or dislikes about the site and submit suggestions to improve the site’s appearance. This feedback may be taken into consideration in the next stage of development that is planned for the site over the next few weeks.

How does it look?
Visually unimpressive — there’s very little colour and illustration to lift the otherwise text-heavy pages. For a site that proclaims itself as having a new look it doesn’t say much for the previous version. Text appears quite jumbled when viewed on a Mac but looks normal on a PC. But one observation that could be taken on board, the 280-character hyperlinks on the press release page could well do with a trim.

By Brian Skelly