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Website review

Web posted on October 12, 2008

As usual during election campaigns, The Fountain Pen has done its due diligence and examined all available web sites of the candidates. This time around, it's a rather poor lot. Generally, not one web site met even minimal web accessibility guidelines (WAG). Some were so poor that The fountain Pen reviewers ran away screaming. In addition, only two were hosted locally - something to which we give a high priority.

As usual, we used the W3C validator (validator.w3.org), the official standards body for the world wide web, Total Validator (www.totalvalidator.com) In addition, we tested for a basic speech reader, colour blind (protan) accessibility, the ability of older web browsers to manage the site (approx. 2% of people surfing the net are using old browsers)and mobile access (WAP cell phone). Read on for details of each candidate's web site.

NDP candidate Tom King - his web site can be found at www.tomking.ca. This is a very slick site with a lot of multi media (fine if you have all the plug-ins installed). However, it does not meet w3c. In terms of web accessibility, a blind or vision impaired person could read this with some difficulty. It tried to set cookies, a no-no for Fountain Pen critics. We vehemently oppose political websites trying to spy on its visitors. It attempted to write to current standards Tom's site fell short. The site is relatively easy to find your way around - a positive. You can read the issues with one click. A negative is that it crashed older web browses and is hosted in California. Shame on the NDP where there are lots of local web hosters. Rating: B.

Marxist-Leninist, Manuel Couto - no web site found.

Communist, Drew Garvie - no web site found.

Libertarian candidate Philip Bender - has a single page hosted in Atlanta, Georgia on the Libertarian server at http://www.libertarian.ca/english/candidates/Phil_B.htm. The site is not valid html and does not meet w3c. No problem with colour blindness or speech reader. It managed old browers and mobile devices with ease. rating: C.

Marijuana Party candidate Kornelis Klevering. Web address is http://www.marijuanaparty.ca/article.php3?id_article=410 This site is hosted in Vancouver on the Marijuana Party's web site. This one is really bad. It does not meet w3c, the speech reader cannot figure it out and it crashed older browsers. Mobile access is poor. Rating: D.

Conservative Gloria Kovach - www.gloriakovach.com. Hosted in Guelph - supporting local business. This web site is also slick in appearance. However, the content appears to be lacking. We should be able to find the meat of her site in a single click - and we're not sure if we ever found it. Accessibility is good, but the site does not meet w3c standards. Colour blind access and speech reading are good. IT took forever to load on a a mobile device and would not load on an older browser. Rating: B.

Animal Alliance Environment Voters party of Canada Karen Levenson - no web site found.

Green party Mike Nagy - website at www.mikenagy.ca/. Hosted in Guelph, Thanks Green Party. We were disappointed with Mike's site this time around, as in previous campaigns, Mike's page has tried to be as accessible as possible. Last Federal election both Brent Barr and Mike Nagy strived to have their sites meet the Web Accessibility guidelines (WAG), This time around NO website even made it to the "A" rating, never mind the coveted Triple A. For comparison, The Fountain Pen is a single A, this close to an AA. Biggest problems with the Green's site: it wanted to set a cookie and access for colour blind readers was poor. (Note: the colours used by the Green Party are ones that many colour blind people have trouble with). Navigation was good. You can find policies and issues easily. Worked poorly on older browsers. Good on mobile devices. Rating: B+>

Independent Juhn Turmel - John has a website (http://www.cyberclass.net/turmel/), but it is not an election website. Rating: F-.

Liberal Frank Valeriote - www.frankvaleriote.com. Located in Toronto, hosted on the Liberal Party web site. While the appearance is good, the site does not meet W3C. It is reasonably accessible but the policy issues could not be found in a single click. The site really preaches to the choir instead of the undecideds. It tried to set a cookie (see Conservative review). Not bad for colour blind and speech readers. Poor on old browsers and mobile devices. Rating: B.

Final comments - IF we were voting based solely on the candidates' websites, The Green's Mike Nagy would get our vote. NDP Tom King would be a close runner-up. The Liberals and the Conservatives fall down because they do not clearly describe their issues to the undecided voter. Again, it's preaching to the converted.


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