The internet in Sri Lanka has a much larger audience than people think. It holds many people who unlike others don’t read the newspapers. So its natural that our two favourite presidential candidates have launched websites to capture this audiences.
The home page of both Sarath Fonseka and Mahinda follow the same layout. A large header with a picture of each candidate with a background of the Sri Lankan flag.
Below that is the page link line up. Sarath’s website has the standard webpage links such as “Contact us”, “About” and “News”. Mahinda’s on the other hand has used a bit of creativity and given the page links colourful names. “Tell Mahinda” being one of them.
Below the link list is a GIF image that both websites have. On Saraths it shows various pictures of him with quotes signed by “~Fonseka~ 2010 President”. On Mahinda’s it shows a lot of his achievements and the typical campaign pictures of kissing babies and high fiveing the elderly. The same stuff we saw on Duminda Silva’s posters (where is he btw?).
Below all that we have the News section. Labelled “Latest News” in MR’s site while in SF its just “News”. MR uses pictures per post making the section more colourful. It shows more of his achievements and how he’s won over certain various parties. SF has gone for a simpler approach. He uses no images and a simple black and white format which is quite boring and does not catch the audience like MR’s does.
The right side of the home page contains small web banners and links. Much fewer in SF’s. 3 to be exact. One is for joining the mailing list and for donations. The second one is for a Thank you letter written by Sarah Fonseka which can be read in English or Sinhala. The last banner contains all the links to other websites which contain the candidate. Facebook, Flickr, Youtube and Wikipedia are the links. The Wiki link is to a profile of him.
MR has much more material on his right side. A video gallery, photo gallery and meeting calendar to name a few. He even has a twitter page. Which only contains more links to his youtube channel. A download section got me intrigued but it only has one item, a PDF file of sorts. A link titled “How can you help us” is a nice way of saying “Make a donation” but they’re not asking for a donation. They’re asking for banners, posters, songs or any other creatives that can be used in their campaign. If it was asking for a donation, which 99.9% of the time is money they’re attracting flames cause despite recession the govt has a lot of money.
The About Page
The About page of SF is very simple and less than a page long. It contains a picture of him and his family. It explains about his present state and what type of man he is. Very simple.
MR’s About page is called “Our President”. It has about 3 pages worth of information all the way from his birth to today. It has been written by someone who likes to add big words where ever he/she can. My favourtite line being ” He walked an earth nourished by ancestral ash and the sweat of proud labour.” It goes on talking about his children and his wife and so on and so forth.
While Mahinda has an achievements page to showcase all the he has done for he country, Sarath has an Issue page. In this page he has categorised the issues of the countries and stated his solutions for each. This is a much better approach than in MR’s site and is easier to read as it is in simple bullet points. There is a fantastic picture of Sarath there asking for some knuckle.
The media tab in Sarath’s site is a mess load of links to various videos and images. But the best section is the wallpaper section for proud supporters to savvy up their desktop with.
In Mahinda2010 the “Four Year Progress” page contains a 52 page booklet of all what he has done in his first term as President. The full book can be downloaded and read in PDF format.
The News tab in SF’s website is the same content that can be found on the home page. Unnecessary.
“Manifesto 2010” is a PDF file that is available in Mahinda’s website. It shows all that he had promised to do in his first term in 2005. The book is called Mahinda Chinthana and can be downloaded in all 3 languages.
The final page on Sarath’s website is “Contact us”. It’s a simple image which has the address, phone number and email address of the office of Sarath Fonseka. And next to it is the donation link. Clicking it takes you to paypal. Summing it all up is a quote from Saraths.
“I pledge to work to free human rights, media freedom, social justice, ethnic unity and peaceful coexistence. I will be by your side like a shadow.:
Creepy but it does the job.
While we are done with www.sarathfonseka.com, www.mahinda2010.com continues on with his speeches page which contains all his speeches in HTML format. Easy to read and loads fast. Also categorized by year for easy access.
The final tab on mahinda2010 is the “Tell Mahinda” page. It is a form that is to be filled out and claims to be sent directly to him. That is yet to be proven.
One of the greatest and most important features which is on Mahinda2010 and not on sarathfonseka.com is that Mahinda2010 can be read in all 3 languages while sarathfonseka.com is available in only English.
That is a vital option as more online users surf the web on Sinhalese and tamil webpages.
All in all Mahinda2010 is a better website. Too much information but if your interested read it. Its got a good layout and has been done on a better standard.
But then again websites don’t win political battles. It just helps.