IPSO : Standards slipping

A dull and wordy home page sends all the wrong messages about the UK’s new press regulator.

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The feature

The UK’s Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO), an independent watchdog set up in the wake of the recent tabloid phone hacking scandal to prevent similar misconduct by the media, started work in September.

Given the publicity surrounding the new regulator, including pervasive doubts over whether it has enough teeth, the organisation’s website home page is surprisingly basic. Three dense columns of difficult-to-read text appear on an out-dated (and visually dull) yellow, black and white background. There are no images, and the single headline is perfunctory and uninspiring: ‘Welcome to the website of the Independent Press Standards Organisation’. A ‘Latest Tweets’ feed is tucked away in the bottom left-hand corner, and the most recent tweet was from three weeks ago, advertising for a ‘complaints officer’ (with a closing date that was already past when we looked at the site.)

The takeaway

One of the most important functions of an organisation’s home page is as a billboard or ‘shop window’, presenting a crucial first impression to visitors about credibility, competence and priorities.

It is particularly crucial for IPSO, a new and controversial institution, to use its web presence to help communicate a sense of early credibility with the public, media and government. The home page (and indeed the rest of the website), rather than communicating competence, gives the impression that either IPSO does not have enough resources to build a modern online presence, or did not think it was important.

By investing so little time and effort into its home page and website, IPSO has squandered a crucial opportunity to persuade the world that it means business.

First published 29 October, 2014
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