8 Apr 2004

What is it?
The website of Invest Northern Ireland, a body set up in Belfast in April 2002 to accelerate the country’s economic development by encouraging existing businesses to widen their horizons and develop external markets.

What does it do?
The website provides visitors with further information about the advantages of locating in Northern Ireland and the assistance provided by the organisation. The short cut menu directs them to sections on Start-up, E-business, Recruitment, Trade and Property topics.

Other sections include links to latest news, an interesting panel outlining the top 10 reasons to invest in Northern Ireland and an online events planner, which is a searchable index of business events staged throughout the country. The publication section of the site offers visitors the opportunity to download, either in Microsoft Word or Adobe Acrobat (pdf) format, documents relating to equality and economic development, including the ‘Accelerating Entrepreneurship Strategy’ report, which outlines a strategic response to a commitment made in the Programme for Government for Northern Ireland to increase business birth rates (ie start-ups).

How does it look?
Its look is sharp, uncluttered and functional, with a touchy-feely aspect provided by lots of smiling faces. There are versions of the site available in German, French, Japanese and Taiwanese. Despite the existence of a handy dropdown menu, site map and three tabs on the homepage, navigation is cumbersome and confusing at times with new windows popping up occasionally to lead you down frustrating blind alleys.

By Brian Skelly