Users need binoculars to read Tory budget website

Eschewing expensive (and insecure) off-the-shelf systems from Republican consultancies, the Conservatives have attempted to salvage their online reputation today with the the Your Budget Response 2010 site. Unfortunately for CCHQ, what it lacks in tweet-bombing hilarity it more than makes up for in general lameness.

Designed to crowdsource budget scrutiny from the masses, the site sets the Web 2.0 scene alight with all the hot-rodding innovation of … a comments box! Abandoning their rigorous corporate branding for a basic WordPress template, pages of the full budget document are displayed alongside a response text box. The spartan site appears to have been thrown together in about two minutes: they can’t even manage a YouTube clip of Osborne’s Commons response on the front page.

Lazy Hyena (@lazyhyena) – not one of the usual suspects agitating against #CashGordon – was first out of the traps in asking why the system didn’t use (freely available) searchable PDFs:

With large portions resembling the lower end of an eyesight test, the design left Scrapbook wondering if the site was some subversive plot designed to blind their opponents before the election.

The image below is – honest to god – the maximum you can zoom in!

If you want to read the budget without opera glasses you can do so on the Treasury website.

Well, at least it didn’t cost $15,000.

UPDATE 18:33 Jeremy Hunt makes specific reference to PDFs in his Blue Blog post on the crowdsourcing initiative:

So in the spirit of mass collaboration, we are going to crowdsource our response to the Budget and we need your help in doing just that. We will be publishing it online in an easy-to-read format (not like the enormous PDF documents so beloved of the Treasury) as soon as possible after its release, so if you check back tomorrow afternoon you will be able to start getting past the flashy headlines to dig through the small print.

“Easy-to-read”?! Whoever drafted this has a good career in comedy writing ahead of them with the reference to “small print”. This blogger isn’t a massive fan of large PDF files either.

But congratulations on creating something even more crap.