And Ye Shall Know Them by Their Websites

Okay, this is an attempt to evaluate the websites of the Cordillera provinces and Baguio City. First off, I would like to say that I have no idea how to design a website. If I knew how, I wouldn’t be using this blogger template. Nonetheless, just because I am ignorant of the how-tos doesn’t mean that I can’t tell the difference between a good website from one that needs improvement. A movie critic need not know how to direct a movie. A coach need not be an athlete. And you don’t have to be a president to say something about President Arroyo’s (mal)administration of the country’s affairs. Now that you get my drift, let’s look at the criteria that we will be using in making our judgment:

First, overall website design, (40%): This refers to how the website looks or its visual impact.

Secondly, website content, (40%): Refers to the information that a visitor gets from the website particularly the relevance and usefulness of said information.

Lastly, other factors (20%): This takes into account factors like navigability of the website as well as feedback mechanisms, regularity of updates, etc. etc.

The above criteria are, admittedly, personal and arbitrary but then maybe some can come up with suggestions on how we can refine it the next time around. Here’s how the websites stack against each other. To see and judge the provincial (and city) websites for yourself, click on the links.

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BENGUET: www.benguet.gov.ph

Web Design, 35%; Content, 35%; Others, 20%. TOTAL, 90%

COMMENTS: The website is excellent. It looks great, the photo gallery is fantastic. There is enough information for those merely browsing, those doing research, and for the Ibenguet’s outside the province who would like to relieve their homesickness. On the other hand, this website may only make them more homesick and head for home. The website appears to be regularly updated and it has discussion groups, information on Benguet munipalities, a directory of schools, churches, hospitals, etc, etc. Navigation is also a breeze. Whoever designed this site and whoever took those photographs deserve the highest kudos.

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BAGUIO CITY: www.baguio.gov.ph

Web design: 25%; Content: 30%; Others: 10%. TOTAL, 65%

COMMENTS: This website is a letdown. It can’t compare with the Benguet website. Its main page looks like a mimeographed newsletter designed by a high school student circa 70s/80s. Okay, I know I’m being unfair but I had high expectations for Baguio considering its financial resources and the talent pool that it can draw from.

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MT. PROVINCE : www.mtprovince.gov.ph

Web design, 20%; Content, 23%; Others, 8%. TOTAL, 51%

COMMENTS: I’m from Mt. Province and so it is embarrassing for me to give the above barely passing score. (50% is the passing grade by the way). Nonetheless, this critique is meant to encourage the province that it is now high time to improve its website. The main page looks okay but the other pages are ho-hum. Content wise, there’s only a very basic information about the province and some tourist spots. It’s also kind of embarrassing that the site displays the governor’s Yahoo email address. He he he. I’ve nothing against Yahoo and it’s perfectly alright for the governor to have a Yahoo email but to have that email address displayed in an official government webpage is something else. It’s sort of uncool. There are better ways of getting feedback through the website if that is the intent for displaying the governor’s email.

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KALINGA: www.kalinga.gov.ph

Web design, 19%; Content, 24%; Others, 8%. TOTAL, 51%

COMMENTS: Overall, the website looks very much like the Mt. Province website mainly because they appear to have been designed by the same person/group. However, the main page (but only the main page) for the Mt. Province website is better because it comes across instantly as an official government website. The problem with Kalinga’s main page is that it looks like an advertisement for the 1990s movie, “A River Runs Through It”. I know they are trying to promote, Kalinga as a river rafting destination but this should be secondary to promoting the provincial government and the province itself. Also, what is the penguin doing in that page? It is so culturally inappropriate. Still the Kalinga website contains more information so it beats Mt. Province content-wise.

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IFUGAO: www.ifugao.gov.ph

Web design, 25%; Content, 25%; Others, 10%. TOTAL: 60%

COMMENTS: This website looks very promising. The homepage is dramatic with those rice terraces. The website is still under construction so I might revisit it in the future and give it a new score. It might beat Benguet if the designer is going to continue what s/he is doing and, additionally, get clues from the Benguet webpage.

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APAYAO: www.apayao.gov.ph

Web design, 25%; Content, 18%; Others, 10%. TOTAL, 53%

COMMENTS: The website looks good but it has the least content of all the websites. It looks professionally designed but it doesn’t evoke any emotion like the professionally designed Benguet webpage. Okay, if the Benguet website could either make an I-Benguet homesick or cure his/her homesickness, the Apayao website would not do either for an I-Apayao away from home. The forum is nice though. However, because it is not moderated, it has tons of spam messages promoting Viagra, gambling, and pornography. Governor Bulut should spank whoever is managing this site for allowing/not deleting such kinds of messages.

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ABRA: www.abra.gov.ph

Web design, 32%; Content, 20%; Others, 8%. TOTAL, 60%

COMMENTS: The second best in terms of overall design but there’s not much information here. In fact, the information only pertains to the 2005 Arya Abra festival. I remember visiting this site three years ago and back then it had much more information about the province. I think someone changed the website to promote the Arya Abra festival but then forgot to restore the original content when the festival ended. It is also quite a turn-off that the homepage prominently features the pictures of Abra Governor Vicente Valera and Mayor Zita Valera. I know that the practice of putting one’s face in government websites is very common but in this case, the pictures really dominate the page. The effect? It comes across as a personal website rather than an official one.

8 thoughts on “And Ye Shall Know Them by Their Websites”

  1. maybe you should also conduct ratings on websites which are not the official site of the provinces. They can be better with the official ones.This are websites that are created dedicatedly for the sense of love for their provinces. Eventhough they do not received budgets from the LGU they still makes it.

  2. hmmm… that’s an idea. i just might do that, but i’m afraid that i really don’t have the credentials to critique websites. he he. baka kung ano-anong nonsense ang aking maisulat.

  3. Hi Jiji,
    Thanks. Will try to review them again in the future in case they make some changes. And will also review other sites as suggested by anonymous 🙂

  4. This is just me:
    minus 5 percentage points for both Apayao and Kalinga for web design, therefore, failed your rating system garnering grades of 48% and 46% respectively. Why they asked? Simply coz of the word “Lalawigan” which I thought means City. If I’m wrong, I stand corrected and my deep apologies to those artistic designers!
    Being a baguio boy, I reluctantly take minus 15 percentage points for web design but a passing grade nonetheless of 50%. The design is awful, like a copied letterhead. What happened to the great and creative minds of Pines City?
    Bill – thx for the email. Hope abs-cbn will find other entries.
    Well, too much ferric hydroxide yata iyong can opener ko. It’s a fossil.
    Yes my alltime fav standup comedian died in 1997 of Liver problem, tomador pala si Chic, palagi sigurong on the rocks!!
    Joke lang yun, huwag naman sana sa katotoma.
    Goodhealth to all….

    TruBlue

  5. Hi TruBlue,
    Mukhang tama naman sila 🙂 Lunsod is the Tagalog for city while lalawigan is province. Yeah the original design for Baguio isn’t so good but they have a new beta version which is really promising and looks much much better than the original. So don’t give up hope on Baguio 🙂

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