General Election 2015: UKIP And Labour Websites Struggle As SNP Leads Digital Race

government parliament big ben public sector bus clouds © CristinaMuraca Shutterstock government parliament big ben public sector bus clouds © CristinaMuraca Shutterstock

Website data tests show some parties are not making the best first impression ahead of the General Election

Just a week before the UK electorate heads to the polls to vote in the General Election, new data shows some of the main parties need to do more to ensure their websites can cope with increasing demand.

Dynatrace used its Synthetic Monitoring Tool to test the websites of six of the major political parties for load speed and reliability every hour of every day between 9 and 27 April. All tests were conducted using real life locations rather than data centres or similar in order to get the most accurate results.

“This year’s general election is being fought on the digital battleground like no other before it,” said Michael Allen, solutions vice president at Dynatrace. “As voters try to decide on which way to go in the run-up to the election, they will be turning to the web to stay abreast of all the latest information on party mandates, politicians’ promises and those all-important election gaffes.

General Election 2015

government parliament big ben public sector clouds bird © Samot Shutterstock“It’s no surprise then that each of the main political parties have an online presence, giving them a direct line through which they can try to win those essential votes.”

UKIP, whose election manifesto made little or no mention to technology, had the slowest website, taking an average of 9.015 seconds to load – significantly longer than any of its rivals. SNP had the quickest average response time of 3.381 seconds, ahead of Labour on 6.446 seconds, Liberal Democrats with 7.401 seconds, Conservatives on 7.832 and the Green Party on 7.861.

But despite having the second fastest website, Labour was found to have the least reliable, failing to load 23 percent of the time. All of the other parties’ websites loaded at least 95 percent of the time, with the SNP again leading the way with 98.77 percent reliability.

Dynatrace said the results showed there likely to be some “major issues” with the way the Labour website had been built.

“First impressions on the web really do count; so in the run-up to the election, you’d expect the party sites to be optimised to deliver the very best user experience,” added Allen. “It should be as important for a political party to be the fastest and the smartest in reaching out to the electorate as it is to a bank or an online retailer to conduct a transaction swiftly and neatly.

“These days, it’s not enough just to have a website, users expect them to be flawless and they’re very unforgiving if they aren’t. Slow loading pages can quickly lead to frustration and cause visitors to click off and go to a competitor for the information they need. It’s a little surprising that there’s such a divide between the parties’ digital performance so close to the election; you’d expect to see a lot more effort going into optimising the user experience given how important each and every vote is going to be this year.”

Read More: Party-By-Party Technology Guide to the 2015 General Election

Who are you backing in the 2015 General Election?

  • Conservatives (32%)
  • Labour (27%)
  • UKIP (17%)
  • SNP (10%)
  • Green Party (5%)
  • Liberal Democrat (3%)
  • I'm not voting (3%)
  • Undecided (2%)
  • Plaid Cymru (1%)
  • Other (0%)

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