The Ugly Showcase of Military, Intelligence And Defense Websites

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Members of military and intelligence forces around the world risk their lives daily to defend their countries and assist in peacekeeping and aid missions both at home and abroad. The men and women who make up the world’s defense forces make sacrifices that most civilians wouldn’t consider to serve their countries.

So, with everything they do for us, shouldn’t they be represented online by website designs that reflect the honor and responsibility they undertake every day? Unfortunately, that’s not the case in many countries out there. Many military websites out there are some of the worst designs in any industry. Whether they’re outdated, broken or designed by amateurs, some of the websites showcased below are bad enough to make you cringe.

There are some good ones, though. A number of countries have obviously dedicated the time and resources necessary to project a professional and polished Web presence for their members. A number of other websites have obviously put in some effort and are pretty close. If you know of examples of other great military or intelligence websites from around the world, please add them in the comments!

The Outdated

The websites featured here might have looked great 10 or more years ago (which was likely when they were created). But either their designs haven’t been updated in a very long time or their designers are still borrowing conventions from the late ’90s.

Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Argentina1
Everything from the color scheme to the header image to the skinny three-column layout dates this design.

Screenshot2

Royal Bahamas Defence Force3
This website wouldn’t look quite so dated if it weren’t for the drop-shadows behind the content blocks.

Screenshot4

Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela5
The overall layout of this website screams early-2000s.

Screenshot6

Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Belarus7
Very minimalistic website. Unfortunately, gradients, tiny links and many &nbsp-empty spaces make it look dated.

Screenshot8

Colombian National Police9
Here’s another great example of a website that would have looked right at home in the late ’90s or early 2000s.

Screenshot10

Hellenic Navy11
The thing that dates this website the most is its width: it would look right at home on a screen with a resolution of 800×600.

Screenshot12

Macedonian Ministry of Defence13
The layout, the partially rounded corners and the drop-shadow against the background all date this website.

Screenshot14

Pakistan Maritime Security Agency15
Using an image like this one as a background was very popular in the ’90s.

Screenshot16

Serbian Ministry of Defense17
The layout here is almost grid-like, but it doesn’t quite make it. The color scheme is the most outdated, though.

Screenshot18

Slovenian Armed Forces19
Another website that would have been current 8 to 10 years ago.

Screenshot20

Spanish Armada21
The rounded colors and glossy buttons would have looked great a few years ago, but now they just harken back to the earliest days of the Web 2.0 style.

Screenshot22

The Russian Federation Ministry of Defence23
The design has a striking resemblance to traditional Google AdSense blocks, and the line-height property for the content area certainly should be increased..

Screenshot24

Sri Lanka Ministry of Defence25
The color scheme and typography here are definitely reminiscent of Web design 5 to 10 years ago.

Screenshot26

U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation27
The skinny layout, color scheme and overall look of this website feel at least 6 to 7 years old.

Screenshot28

U.S. National Reconnaissance Office29
This website screams late ’90s and early 2000s, especially the navigation and typography.

Screenshot30

Uruguayan Air Force31
This looks like it was based on a standard template from 5 to 10 years ago.

Screenshot32

The Poorly Coded

These websites might not have been so bad if they were cross-browser compatible and adhered to Web standards even a little. But they are all so poorly coded that they don’t render correctly in browsers such as Firefox or Safari.

Luckily, there aren’t too many of them.

Brazilian Army33
The coding on this website isn’t noticeably horrible… except for all the thin white lines running through the backgrounds and borders of the content blocks.

Screenshot34

Pakistan Navy35
I don’t even want to begin figuring out how they got the rounded-corner background to repeat like that in the main content area.

Screenshot36

South African Army37
This website wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t for the giant gray bar running down the main column, effectively blocking half the content.

Screenshot38

United States Special Operations Command39
The headers for all the content blocks here are fine, except the one for the news feeds, which prefers to be higher up on the page.

Screenshot40

The Poorly Designed

These websites are just poorly designed. Some look like they were based on stock templates… bad ones. Others look like they were designed in programs aimed at hobbyists or those needing to set up personal websites (in any case, definitely not appropriate for government agencies).

Venezuelan Bolivarian Army41
Between the color scheme, the header (which doesn’t come close to spanning the whole design) and the broken icons, this website just doesn’t look good at all.

Screenshot42

Cuban National Defence43
I’m not sure where to begin with this one…

Screenshot44

Egyptian Armed Forces45
It looks like they couldn’t decide whether they wanted a minimalist website.

Screenshot46

Republic of Fiji Military Forces47
This looks like your classic template website, with minor modifications.

Screenshot48

Ministry of Defence of Georgia49
This wouldn’t be so bad if the content areas weren’t so disjointed.

Screenshot50

Indian Air Force51
This might have been salvageable, except for the horrible alignment.

Screenshot52

Kenyan National Security Intelligence Service53
The padding and margins in this website aren’t adequate, and the alignment is off in places. The concept is sound; it just needs to be better executed.

Screenshot54

Lebanese Army55
This website might not have been so bad if the colors complemented the camouflage background, rather than clashed with it.

Screenshot56

The Philippine Marine Corps57
This is another one for which I’m not even sure where to start.

Screenshot58

Polish Land Forces59
Forget for a moment how amateurish this one looks. Notice how the text doesn’t even match up with the navigation buttons.

Screenshot60

Portuguese Army61
From the header alone, it’s not so bad. It’s the lower area of this website that doesn’t seem to have any aim.

Screenshot62

Romanian Land Forces63
I’m still trying to figure out if that white bar across the top of each column is supposed to be there. Beyond that, they should have paid more attention to how the header colors go with the rest of the color scheme.

Screenshot64

Royal Thai Army65
There’s just way too much going on here, and no focal point to grab your attention.

Screenshot66

Turkish Air Force67
This almost made it into the “Not So Bad” category below, except that it doesn’t have any focus, and the alignment of some elements is off.

Screenshot68

Ministry of Defence of Ukraine69
The ads on this website should be better integrated in the overall design. Other than that, the design looks very dated.

Screenshot70

United Arab Emirates Ministry of Defence71
Where’s the content?

Screenshot72

Zimbabwe Ministry of Defence73
There’s no color scheme here, and the entire thing looks like something a kid did in class.

Screenshot74

The Not-So-Bad

The websites here aren’t terrible. In most cases, only minor things hold them back. Most of them could be great with just a bit more work.

Ministry of Defence of The Republic of Armenia75
Other than the width of this website (which is a bit narrow for even an 800 x 600 display), it’s not a terrible design.

Screenshot76

Australian Secret Intelligence Service77
This design is just fine, other than being a bit boring. And the text could be slightly enlarged for easier reading.

Screenshot78

Ministry of Defense of Bosnia and Herzegovina79
If more attention was paid to the baseline or vertical rhythm, this would be a reasonably good design.

Screenshot80

British Secret Intelligence Service81
The angles in this design should either be better incorporated into the other elements or removed altogether. Other than that, it’s not bad.

Screenshot82

Bundeswehr83
This is one of those websites that doesn’t have anything particularly wrong with it. It’s just underwhelming.

Screenshot84

Ministry of National Defense of the People’s Republic of China85
The elements on this website don’t quite have enough continuity, but the color scheme and overall layout are good.

Screenshot86

Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Croatia87
This website is also underwhelming. Nothing particularly “wrong” with it, but not impressive either.

Screenshot88

Ecuadorian Army89
The header here isn’t that bad, but the rest of the website doesn’t match up, and it feels a bit like a generic template.

Screenshot90

Ecuadorian Navy91
Parts of this website are great (the slidehow in the header, for instance) but other parts don’t quite match up, particularly the buttons on the right-hand side and the off-center navigation elements.

Screenshot92

Armed Forces of Honduras93
This website isn’t bad. But again, nothing makes it stand out.

Screenshot94

Norwegian Ministry of Defense95
Another example of a website that doesn’t do anything to stand out.

Screenshot96

Peruvian Air Force97
The idea here is good, but the result isn’t very interesting.

Screenshot98

Portuguese Ministry of Defense99
Another inoffensive yet unimpressive website.

Screenshot100

Portuguese Navy101
This would be great, but it has just a little too much going on. Some negative space would make a huge difference.

Screenshot102

Saudi Arabian Ground Forces103
This website is more interesting than some of the others here, but it doesn’t quite pull it together.

Screenshot104

Sri Lanka Navy105
Here’s another website that looks like a template. The use of white space could be better and makes everything look a bit disjointed.

Screenshot106

Swiss Army107
Another underwhelming, uninteresting design. At least it looks professional.

Screenshot108

US Air Force109
A professional yet boring design. But maybe that’s how military websites should look?

Screenshot110

US Central Intelligence Agency111
This website is way too narrow, and overall it’s just not eye-catching.

Screenshot112

US Department of Defense113
Too much is going on here, and the social media links (the icons especially) on the left look out of place.

Screenshot114

US Navy115
The icons and banners in the header don’t really fit the rest of this design.

Screenshot116

A Few Good Sites

The websites below are the stars of this post. They are well designed, easy to use, professional and worthy of representing the armed forces and intelligence services.

Austrian Armed Forces117
This one’s clean and well laid out, with plenty of white space and a great color scheme.

Screenshot118

British Army119
A professional-looking website, with a background that’s more interesting than most.

Screenshot120

British Royal Air Force121
Another website with an interesting background and a clean overall design.

Screenshot122

British Security Service MI5123
The color scheme here is great, as is the overall aesthetic, which is a cross between minimalist and magazine-style.

Screenshot124

Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Bulgaria125
A clean, well thought out design that makes good use of textures and gradients.

Screenshot126

Chilean Navy127
The header here is fantastic, and the rest of the layout works well.

Screenshot128

Ministry of Defence and Armed Forces of the Czech Republic129
Another great header design: this one doubles as navigation. Each section of the website has a different color scheme, while maintaining the same basic look.

Screenshot130

Defence Command Denmark131
A minimalist layout that leaves plenty of white space.

Screenshot132

The Finnish Defense Forces133
A clean and organized design, with double-tabbed navigation bars.

Screenshot134

Netherlands Ministry of Defence135
The purple color scheme here is unexpected, but it works well and sets the website apart.

Screenshot136

Polish Ministry of National Defense137
This is one of the nicest designs in this post, especially because of the header.

Screenshot138

Swedish Armed Forces139
A good clean design with a minimalist aesthetic and great typography. The transparent titles over the images on the right really take it up a notch.

Screenshot140

US National Security Agency141
Professional, easy to use and coherent: everything an intelligence website should be.

Screenshot142

US Army143
The US Army website brings together a lot of content of various types while maintaining a usable and consistent user interface.

Screenshot144

US Marine Corps145
This website stands out mostly because of the grid used for the main content area and the ample white space everywhere else.

Screenshot146

(al)

Footnotes

  1. 1 http://www.mindef.gov.ar/
  2. 2 http://www.mindef.gov.ar/
  3. 3 http://www.rbdfmil.com/
  4. 4 http://www.rbdfmil.com/
  5. 5 http://www.mindefensa.gov.ve/
  6. 6 http://www.mindefensa.gov.ve/
  7. 7 http://www.mod.mil.by/news_eng.html
  8. 8 http://www.mod.mil.by/news_eng.html
  9. 9 http://www.policia.gov.co/portal/page/portal/HOME/Home/operatividad
  10. 10 http://www.policia.gov.co/portal/page/portal/HOME/Home/operatividad
  11. 11 http://www.hellenicnavy.gr/index_en.asp
  12. 12 http://www.hellenicnavy.gr/index_en.asp
  13. 13 http://www.morm.gov.mk/morm/en/homepage.html
  14. 14 http://www.morm.gov.mk/morm/en/homepage.html
  15. 15 http://www.msa.org.pk/
  16. 16 http://www.msa.org.pk/
  17. 17 http://www.mod.gov.rs/
  18. 18 http://www.mod.gov.rs/
  19. 19 http://www.slovenskavojska.si/en/
  20. 20 http://www.slovenskavojska.si/en/
  21. 21 http://www.armada.mde.es/ArmadaPortal/page/Portal/ArmadaEspannola/_inicio_home/
  22. 22 http://www.armada.mde.es/ArmadaPortal/page/Portal/ArmadaEspannola/_inicio_home/
  23. 23 http://www.mil.ru/eng/
  24. 24 http://www.mil.ru/eng/
  25. 25 http://www.defence.lk/english.asp
  26. 26 http://www.defence.lk/english.asp
  27. 27 http://www.fbi.gov/
  28. 28 http://www.fbi.gov/
  29. 29 http://www.nro.gov/
  30. 30 http://www.nro.gov/
  31. 31 http://www.fau.com.uy/
  32. 32 http://www.fau.com.uy/
  33. 33 http://www.exercito.gov.br/
  34. 34 http://www.exercito.gov.br/
  35. 35 http://www.paknavy.gov.pk/
  36. 36 http://www.paknavy.gov.pk/
  37. 37 http://www.army.mil.za/
  38. 38 http://www.army.mil.za/
  39. 39 http://www.socom.mil/SOCOMHome/Pages/default.aspx
  40. 40 http://www.socom.mil/SOCOMHome/Pages/default.aspx
  41. 41 http://www.ejercito.mil.ve/index.php
  42. 42 http://www.ejercito.mil.ve/index.php
  43. 43 http://www.cubagob.cu/otras_info/minfar/default.htm
  44. 44 http://www.cubagob.cu/otras_info/minfar/default.htm
  45. 45 http://www.mmc.gov.eg/
  46. 46 http://www.mmc.gov.eg/
  47. 47 http://www.rfmf.mil.fj/
  48. 48 http://www.rfmf.mil.fj/
  49. 49 http://www.mod.gov.ge/?l=E&m=5&sm=5
  50. 50 http://www.mod.gov.ge/?l=E&m=5&sm=5
  51. 51 http://indianairforce.nic.in/
  52. 52 http://indianairforce.nic.in/
  53. 53 http://www.nsis.go.ke/
  54. 54 http://www.nsis.go.ke/
  55. 55 http://www.lebarmy.gov.lb/?ln=en
  56. 56 http://www.lebarmy.gov.lb/?ln=en
  57. 57 http://marinecorps.mil.ph/
  58. 58 http://marinecorps.mil.ph/
  59. 59 http://www.army.mil.pl/
  60. 60 http://www.army.mil.pl/
  61. 61 http://www.exercito.pt/portal/exercito/_specific/public/allbrowsers/asp/default.asp
  62. 62 http://www.exercito.pt/portal/exercito/_specific/public/allbrowsers/asp/default.asp
  63. 63 http://www.en.forter.ro/en/
  64. 64 http://www.en.forter.ro/en/
  65. 65 http://www.rta.mi.th/torbor.html
  66. 66 http://www.rta.mi.th/torbor.html
  67. 67 http://www.hvkk.tsk.tr/homeEng.aspx
  68. 68 http://www.hvkk.tsk.tr/homeEng.aspx
  69. 69 http://www.mil.gov.ua/index.php?lang=en
  70. 70 http://www.mil.gov.ua/index.php?lang=en
  71. 71 http://www.mod.gov.ae/en/
  72. 72 http://www.mod.gov.ae/en/
  73. 73 http://www.mod.gov.zw/
  74. 74 http://www.mod.gov.zw/
  75. 75 http://www.mil.am/eng/index.php
  76. 76 http://www.mil.am/eng/index.php
  77. 77 http://www.asis.gov.au/index.html
  78. 78 http://www.asis.gov.au/index.html
  79. 79 http://www.mod.gov.ba/en/
  80. 80 http://www.mod.gov.ba/en/
  81. 81 http://www.mi6.gov.uk/output/sis-home-welcome.html
  82. 82 http://www.mi6.gov.uk/output/sis-home-welcome.html
  83. 83 http://www.bundeswehr.de/portal/a/bwde
  84. 84 http://www.bundeswehr.de/portal/a/bwde
  85. 85 http://eng.mod.gov.cn/
  86. 86 http://eng.mod.gov.cn/
  87. 87 http://www.morh.hr/
  88. 88 http://www.morh.hr/
  89. 89 http://www.ejercitodelecuador.mil.ec/
  90. 90 http://www.ejercitodelecuador.mil.ec/
  91. 91 http://www.armada.mil.ec/
  92. 92 http://www.armada.mil.ec/
  93. 93 http://www.ffaah.mil.hn/
  94. 94 http://www.ffaah.mil.hn/
  95. 95 http://www.regjeringen.no/en/dep/fd.html?id=380
  96. 96 http://www.regjeringen.no/en/dep/fd.html?id=380
  97. 97 http://www.fap.mil.pe/
  98. 98 http://www.fap.mil.pe/
  99. 99 http://www.mdn.gov.pt/mdn/pt/
  100. 100 http://www.mdn.gov.pt/mdn/pt/
  101. 101 http://www.marinha.pt/PT/Pages/homepage.aspx
  102. 102 http://www.marinha.pt/PT/Pages/homepage.aspx
  103. 103 http://www.bariah.gov.sa/
  104. 104 http://www.bariah.gov.sa/
  105. 105 http://www.navy.lk/
  106. 106 http://www.navy.lk/
  107. 107 http://www.vtg.admin.ch/internet/vtg/de/home.html
  108. 108 http://www.vtg.admin.ch/internet/vtg/de/home.html
  109. 109 http://www.af.mil/
  110. 110 http://www.af.mil/
  111. 111 https://www.cia.gov/
  112. 112 https://www.cia.gov/
  113. 113 http://www.defense.gov/
  114. 114 http://www.defense.gov/
  115. 115 http://www.navy.mil/swf/index.asp
  116. 116 http://www.navy.mil/swf/index.asp
  117. 117 http://www.bmlv.gv.at/english/index.shtml
  118. 118 http://www.bmlv.gv.at/english/index.shtml
  119. 119 http://www.army.mod.uk/
  120. 120 http://www.army.mod.uk/
  121. 121 http://www.raf.mod.uk/
  122. 122 http://www.raf.mod.uk/
  123. 123 https://www.mi5.gov.uk/
  124. 124 https://www.mi5.gov.uk/
  125. 125 http://www.md.government.bg/bg/index.html
  126. 126 http://www.md.government.bg/bg/index.html
  127. 127 http://www.armada.cl/prontus_armada/site/edic/base/port/armada_ingles.html
  128. 128 http://www.armada.cl/prontus_armada/site/edic/base/port/armada_ingles.html
  129. 129 http://www.army.cz/
  130. 130 http://www.army.cz/
  131. 131 http://forsvaret.dk/FKO/ENG/Pages/default.aspx
  132. 132 http://forsvaret.dk/FKO/ENG/Pages/default.aspx
  133. 133 http://www.puolustusvoimat.fi/portal/puolustusvoimat.fi/english
  134. 134 http://www.puolustusvoimat.fi/portal/puolustusvoimat.fi/english
  135. 135 http://www.defensie.nl/
  136. 136 http://www.defensie.nl/
  137. 137 http://www.wp.mil.pl/en/index/
  138. 138 http://www.wp.mil.pl/en/index/
  139. 139 http://www.forsvarsmakten.se/en/
  140. 140 http://www.forsvarsmakten.se/en/
  141. 141 http://www.nsa.gov/
  142. 142 http://www.nsa.gov/
  143. 143 http://www.army.mil/
  144. 144 http://www.army.mil/
  145. 145 http://www.marines.mil/Pages/Default.aspx
  146. 146 http://www.marines.mil/Pages/Default.aspx

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Cameron Chapman is a professional Web and graphic designer with over 6 years of experience. She writes for a number of blogs, including her own, Cameron Chapman On Writing. She’s also the author of The Smashing Idea Book: From Inspiration to Application.

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  1. 1

    Go to Google … Type in “zimbabwe police” and then click “pictures” and (if you have a strong stomach) look and see what you are dealing with in your article

    How dare you refer to the thugs of the Mugbe and other dictatorship you and just say their web page design could be better

    – Chinese Forces = Tiananmen massacre
    – The Honduran overthrew the legal government last year
    – The Chilian and Argentinian, murdered and tortured tens of thousands in the 70s
    – Croatian and Serbian.. Have you forgotten the genocide a decade or so back ?

    What next .. a review of pedophile porn site designs maybe?

    I’ll give Smashing Mag a miss from now on!

    -1
    • 52

      Agree with you there.

      -1
    • 103

      Serbian and Croatian people did a genocide over Bosnian people, that’s not really a reason for having lame websites.

      -1
    • 154

      The person that designed these websites didn’t participate in the massacres you have just listed, this is a chance to learn from web designing faults and in my opinion just by mentioning those massacres in a comment box is a disgrace to the memory of the victims. this is about web design NOT politics.

      -1
    • 256

      I totally agree with Huw!
      This is an awful idea for an article, the author shows no sensitivity to the tragic and violent reality behind the face of ALL of the army marketing they’re commenting on here.

      -1
  2. 307

    I would like to see some interactive games where you can control a Predator over Afghanistan for example.

    -1
  3. 358

    amazing work. Thanks for that article.

    -1
  4. 409

    I have to say this article and its selections are kind of backwards. Some of the very same issues that the author says makes a website “bad” are repeated in the very same selections she calls “good”, which makes this whole thing a farce if you’re going to try to analyze these designs.

    Frankly, I also question the validity of a self-proclaimed web design professional who didn’t even bother to make a unique design for her own blog.

    -1
  5. 562

    Check out for the French Navy recruitment website : http://etremarin.fr

    -1
  6. 613

    I’m Argentinian, and i know better than most of you (probably) what happened in my country 40 years ago, but this has nothing to do with the post.
    Do not mess the post topic with politic or crap like that. This whole blog it’s about design and web design, not politic, not government.
    Try to focus on the topic please.

    Good article, bad comments

    -1
  7. 664

    Great work Cameron. People absolutely need to see and study poor web design. Ugly site showcases can be more helpful than beautiful site galleries. Pay close attention designers!

    -1
  8. 715

    Hey,
    Nice article, but I think the Canadian Forces website should have been mentioned in the good section:
    http://www.forces.ca/
    HTML: http://www.forces.ca/html/index.aspx?lang=en
    flash: http://www.forces.ca/flash.aspx#/flash/en
    HTML is simple/clean/sleek and very user friendly while the flash is fun and interactive… both user oriented…
    let me know what you think!
    thanks :)

    -1
  9. 766

    The Denmark and Finnish sites over the China one ? Odd …

    -1
  10. 817

    This is the bolivian army site: http://www.ejercito.mil.bo/ isn’t on the list (but should be) :D
    Greetings from Bolivia

    -1
  11. 868

    The US Air Force .com site is a little better showcase of design.

    http://www.airforce.com/

    One would think that with all the money the military pumps into commercials, their websites would look a little better. Limited budgets only go so far I suppose.

    -1
  12. 919

    Usually I’m a big supporter of Smashing Magazine, but in this case I must agree, what is the point of this article? Showing us poor web design… I could find plenty of poor web design on my own. Giving it a common theme of Military web sites doesn’t give it more of a point. There is nothing to learn from it here. Even the “good” sites aren’t very good.

    I’m guessing in most of these cases, the internet is not the primary way that these organizations communicate to recruits / members, so good design isn’t a priority for them. So they put their resources into other areas.

    It also seems like a rip off of that noupe article linked previously. Reading the comments on that article show it was unsuccessful, which makes me wonder why Smashing would even publish this article.

    0
    • 970

      You seem like someone who likes to be inspired. Here’s a link to the new Navy SEALs Website. I hope it fuels your imagination. It’s a hybrid site. Here’s how the bulk of it was done:
      – Slideshow made using SlideshowPro with Director hosting
      – Video editing done by one person inhouse
      – Site design done by one person inhouse
      – Photos of Navy SEALs done on a photo shot + from history archives. All photos are of Navy SEALs using the gear of their choice. Everything is authentic.
      – Content area created using Adobe Flash Catalyst Beta 2 to combine text and slideshows.
      – Modal box load on page load by Shadowbox.
      – Center entire site on page load code courtesy of a great supporter of the Navy over at Wikipedia.
      – Navigation design emulates “Smashing Magazine” see the article on “Speaking Block Navigation” at http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/02/26/navigation-menus-trends-and-examples/

      Enjoy, download + share photos and videos. View the source code for Shadowbox on page load code and the center any page on page load code.

      http://www.sealswcc.com

      -1
  13. 1021

    And this is spain: http://www.policia.es/

    horrible¡¡¡¡

    -1
  14. 1072

    Wow! And I thought the Canadian Government websites were bad, these are way worse. But still, Canada’s CLF 2.0 website design standard isn’t stellar.

    Nice roundup there!

    -1
  15. 1123

    Interesting !
    You should have a look to the websites from France, I’m suprised there is none of them in this article :)

    http://www.defense.gouv.fr/
    http://www.defense.gouv.fr/terre/
    http://www.defense.gouv.fr/gendarmerie/
    http://www.impots.gouv.fr/portal/dgi/home?pageId=home&sfid=00

    And so on…

    But we also have nice websites of our politicians like http://nkm-blog.org/

    -1
  16. 1174

    fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuugly
    hahahahaha
    XD
    At least Peru guys’ve put a jet plane pic.

    -1
  17. 1225

    Rather than a showcase, I think people would appreciate case studies a lot more. That is, select a handful of sites and then really analyze them. I think showcases such as this one should include conclusions/generalizations/trends in any case.

    I haven’t read through the entire article, but the sites from developed countries generally look more professional than the ones from developing countries. Call it bias or whatever, but it’s true. Also, the sites with target audiences who are mostly young, male, and tech-savvy (e.g. US Army, US Marine Corps, NSA) look more cutting-edge. Their audiences probably spend a lot of time on the Web, so these organizations really would have to invest in how their sites look/work.

    -1
  18. 1276

    As a multimedia person who works for a government contract, I can really appreciate the fact that someone notices that things can get dated and that the envelope can be pushed more, while still feeling professional and well developed.

    Thank you. Would agree with poster *Tim* on more analysis/case study model.

    Again thank you!

    -1
  19. 1327

    I think this is a nice showcase. You need to know that in most of the countries most of all in 3rd world countries in this showcase the internet is not for everyone, we have very important life and economics problems to stop and worry about the “looks” of a military web site design. Here the internet is very expensive to the home user and not many people is able to afford it, thats why the goverment among other things doesn´t think of a website or the internet as an efficient communication channel (at least in Argentina, where I´m from). Again nice showcase, this is the first time I see military web design of any kind.

    -1
  20. 1378

    I can’t believe you included third world countries and/or countries that have undergone war/political upheaval etc in the past few years. Yea, good call, let’s mock those websites …..

    0
    • 1429

      Yeah because it’s well known you need a lot of money to build a good website ^^

      -1
  21. 1480

    Such a useless article.. seriously smashmag? If you don’t have anything to say exepting ‘ Hey look at that website it’s ugly’ just don’t say anything …

    -1
    • 1531

      Indeed, this is useless and boring. I can’t believe that SM accepted such an article.

      -1
  22. 1582

    What a waste of bandwidth, worst post I’ve seen on smashing – and I’ve been reading for a while

    -1
  23. 1633

    They use photoshop as a weapon just to kill designs

    -1
  24. 1684

    As the Chief of Web / Creative Director for the US Navy effort I would like to point out a few things that were left off the screen shot from the bottom of Navy.mil.

    1. Webby Award Honoree 2008 – industry leader peer review judged
    2. Thomas Jefferson Award 2008,2009,2010 (peer review award among the services)
    3. Two Davey Awards 2009- industry peer reivew
    4. Communicator Award 2010 – industry peer review

    So I think something is a little different that you present it. Other things that have been said about Navy.mil in the last few years.

    Brookings Institute – identified Navy.mil as a leader in using new ideas and concepts to communicate government information to its audience. They sited the “media port” as a great way to communicate and engage the end user – Sept 2007

    US Navy Social Media Directory: A Great Idea
    November 16th, 2009
    http://blogs.gartner.com/andrea_dimaio/2009/11/16/navy-social-media-directory-a-great-idea/

    Navy.mil rates an 82 – 84 for customer satisfaction via Foresee which places it behind only Social Security in the federal government and well above the industry average of 72.

    This entire effort is created and manned by a minimal staff that keep a content management system and interface going as well as the development and deployment for special efforts like:

    http://www.navy.mil/gwf

    http://www.navy.mil/midway

    http://www.navy.mil/moh

    http://www.navy.mil/ussny

    While Navy.mil is due to have some redesign done to it, after all it’s 3 years old, it still stands toe to toe with sites of similar content and reach. While the design to you might be stale because its been around for HALF of your total life experience in this field, it is still relevant and possess advanced human interaction design compared to most of the industry.

    In the end most of these efforts that you gun down are utilitarian in function and design. They are created to provide large amounts of information in clusters. Some of these designers are overworked, underfunded, undermanned and have to manage the expectations of stakeholders that range from the age of 15 to 65.

    The goal of government websites is not to entertain but to provide transparency and communicate critical information to its stakeholders, presenting the content in an engaging manner should be a critical goal but is not the core of what must be achieved to be a successful effort.

    In the end its all about access to information.

    Bill Spencer
    Chief of Web / Creative Director Navy.mil
    http://www.navy.mil
    http://www.popedeflash.com
    http://www.linkedin.com/in/popedeflash

    0
    • 1735

      “In the end most of these efforts that you gun down are utilitarian in function and design. They are created to provide large amounts of information in clusters. Some of these designers are overworked, underfunded, undermanned and have to manage the expectations of stakeholders that range from the age of 15 to 65.”

      As a designer in a company contracted to produce DoD websites and graphic work, I concur. With the military and non-military (civilian) health information sites, what might be viewed as beautiful/stunning/impressive here (on Smashing Magazine and to me personally) is, quite honestly, viewed by our clients as Fisher Price-looking and immature. As the gentleman stated, it is about access to information. Bear in mind these websites are used by persons within a wide range of education and experience. It is much more important to reach all of the users – even the ones on dial-up using IE6, of which, unfortunately, there is a much higher ratio of users in this particular group.

      We also provide user support for military and civilian health education sites. In the early stages of working at my company, I was shocked that so many people didn’t understand what we take for granted as designers and developers. Working around the many issues of the inexperienced user, the iconoclast, and even the luddites who are all REQUIRED to get their CE via that military site you’ve created, was an education in itself.

      Sometimes, designers aren’t allowed the luxury of designing for the rich and sophisticated user who “gets it.” Instead of simple lists of bad design that the client will have no interest in anyway (save for Bill Spencer), how about a piece directed towards that particular type of client to demonstrate how much more effective their site would be at disseminating information if ‘this,’ ‘this,’ or ‘this’ was implemented? It would help the designer in the trenches trying desperately to educate an entity much bigger than he/she.

      Really. We’re exhausted over here.

      0
    • 1786

      But it’s ugly!

      -1
  25. 1837

    My opinion has already been covered by some of the other readers, but this isn’t an article at all… it’s a list post… one that’s quite opinionated.

    I enjoy Smashing and check out the other articles, but ones like these the periodically pop up shake my confidence in the site.

    There isn’t much though put into any one example… maybe this topic would be more interesting if just a handful of these examples were focused on a bit more thoughtfully?

    -1
  26. 1888

    Wow…

    I can’t believe some people on here. This was a post on poor web design, not an endorsement of any political state.

    Also, if you hated the post so much, why bother reading through it?

    -1
  27. 1939

    It is strange that author not writed about Estonian Defence websites.

    http://vk.kra.ee/ – Estonian Army Recruit Agency website – I think its very good work
    http://www.mod.gov.ee/ – Estonian Ministry of Defence

    But it is very good showcase.

    -1
  28. 1990

    I am surprised how such content is being showcased at SM. It is a poorly written article and some of the “good” websites are shockingly poor. Instead of concentrating on how to improve a website, you are talking about “screaming 90s” etc. That really doesn’t make much sense to me. I have nothing to learn from it. Instead you should showcase a website and talk about how you can improve it etc.

    I wonder how so many found this article informative and fun. It is disheartening to see that so many users blindly follow the content being posted.

    -1
    • 2041

      “Instead you should showcase a website and talk about how you can improve it etc.” – Thank you Alec. Well said. It’s very easy to just criticize.

      -1
    • 2092

      I totally agree with you Alec. Instead of criticizing they can concentrate on how to improve a website.

      -1
    • 2143

      You’re right, but she probably didn’t because she doesn’t know how to actually provide constructive criticism… much less how to improve these sites.

      As I noted above, the author claims to be a design professional, yet she uses a wordpress template for her blog…

      Maybe she’s afraid of having her own designs criticized….

      -1
  29. 2194

    “Members of military and intelligence forces around the world risk their lives daily to defend their countries and assist in peacekeeping and aid missions both at home and abroad. The men and women who make up the world’s defense forces make sacrifices that most civilians wouldn’t consider to serve their countries.”

    I cant believe it, these two first sentences made almost never read smashing magazine again. Has the author of this statement for one second really dared to look what is happening in the so calles “peace keeping opeartions” !?

    Please educate yourself and watch a few testimonials from veterans from the Iraq war for example.

    And pleas no more of these kind of posts on smashingmagazine.com anymore.

    Thank you.

    -1
    • 2245

      “Please educate yourself and watch a few testimonials from veterans from the Iraq war for example.”

      Please educate yourself and not rely solely on anti-military propaganda.

      “Members of military and intelligence forces around the world risk their lives daily to defend their countries and assist in peacekeeping and aid missions both at home and abroad. The men and women who make up the world’s defense forces make sacrifices that most civilians wouldn’t consider to serve their countries.”

      Sounds about right too me.

      Yes, I am a veteran.

      When you are a veteran maybe your opinion on these issue will have some value.

      Oh yeah, weak article SM, is the editor-in-chief on vacation?

      0
  30. 2296

    You should add this site to the list of Argentina

    http://www.policiafederal.gov.ar/

    0
  31. 2347

    Sometimes is important to take a look at ugly websites to learn what things we don’t have to do.
    Cameron, I like your article.

    0
  32. 2398

    How often should a website’s design be updated then? Since all designs become outdated sooner or later.

    0
  33. 2449

    Clearly these screenshots were made using Internet Explorer.

    0
  34. 2500

    dated is not bad, hard to use is.

    0
  35. 2551

    Defence Command Denmark is a good site? Really?!

    0
  36. 2602

    I appreciate this article.

    A big part of being a good web designer is understanding what doesn’t work as well as what does.

    Thanks.

    0
  37. 2653
    • 2704

      Hooyah! :P Looks nice.
      But the page performance sucks, the navigation doesn’t match the rest of the design at all and is broken and there’s a horizontal scrollbar!?
      Why does the main focus seem to be a slideshow? That’s what SEALs are about?

      0
      • 2755

        Thanks for the feedback. Here’s an explanation. Performance has taken a hit ever since we experimented with Flash Catalyst and 3D imagery. SEAL man was originally a 2D image. He was made 3D using After Effects. His load size is 2.5 megs. Eventually he’ll have to loose his animation. Right now it’s just an experiment to push the envelope using 3D imagery on the site.

        The navigation was inspired by Smashing Magazine and their article on the trend toward “Speaking Blocks” navigation.

        The site was designed for large monitors and small. Small monitors are found on military bases. Large monitors are used by the potential SEAL candidates we are interested in. What’s important to note is that all content falls within the range viewable on a 17″ monitor yet allows for great visual impact when viewed on a 22″ or larger monitor. Even more, the entire site centers itself on any browser. A very cool feature. Compliments of a very cool guy at Wikipedia.

        The site features a slideshow and videos for visual impact. SEALs prefer to remain, for lack of a better word, mysterious. Using slideshows and videos is how that mystery is revealed to the general public. This imagery resonates with high potential SEAL candidates. In order to come up with the right imagery for the site, we asked SEAL candidates [ students of the Naval Special Warfare Preparatory School ], SEAL officers and SEALs what they thought?

        Thanks again for your comments. They will help us on a go forward basis.

        http://sealswcc.com

        0
        • 2806

          VERY interesting. Thanks for the link and the insight into the 3d aspect!

          0
        • 2857

          This site puts up a good laugh and begs the question: Why would a spec-op club need a public recruitment website?

          The majority of the candidates for JSOC are invitation-only types. This site seems pointless even as the intention seems noble. The videos are training videos taken by the public affair crew, reflecting zero truth to the actual missions.

          And another thing: Any SEAL or D-boy would tell you, we got no time looking at websites. Besides, the most comprehensive infosys used by the DOD and JSOC are offline and isolated from the public. We’re just that practical and free of vanity.

          0
        • 2908

          After looking into the SOF community, you would realize that they are NOT invite only. I’ve been following the SEALS and they are really trying to get more people recruited into BUD/S training. By giving out a glimpse of what the training is like, more candidates are becoming better prepared both mentally and physically. It also shows the type of training they do. Someone who has no idea what to expect might not want to try it out even though they could possibly be a better mentally prepared candidate. That in return decreases the washout rate and stops wasting money.

          Also the site is loaded with proper exercises as well as a workout guide to follow as well as ways to prevent injury. Sure no SEAL would need that site, but if you are looking into the program it gives you a hell of a lot more info than the navy site does.

          0
        • 2959

          Jason,

          Your comments were very accurate and astute. The Naval Special Warfare Command Recruiting Directorate is charged with identifying high quality SEAL candidates, making them aware of Naval Special Warfare opportunities, and for those who are interested, assisting them through the accession process. The Website is a tool to help those who choose to use it.

          We’re glad you enjoyed the photos and videos. All photos and videos can be freely downloaded and shared. All photos and videos are hi-rez. Some of which are quite large. We left them this way because we wanted everyone to have them in their highest quality form. The hi-rez videos can be downloaded in the following formats:

          1. Quicktime
          2. Windows
          3. iPhone/mobile
          4. H.264/MPEG4

          We welcome you to check out the “Official U.S. Navy SEAL Training Forum.” A great place to meet others like yourself.

          LINK: http://sealswcc.com/forum/

          Hooyah!

          Naval Special Warfare Command Recruiting Directorate

          0
    • 3010

      Flash sites are pointless

      0
  38. 3061

    gosh that is really just the most ridiculous article I have read on Smashing Magazine. I hope it isn’t part of a series. I don’t think I could take the meaningless babble about whether the Estonian tax office website is 6 or 7 years out of date in its styling.

    Get a life.

    And as a general rule it is a bad idea to tell people who have a good supply of weapons that their websites suck.

    0
    • 3112

      When did it become a general rule that some country that would probably never see this site (I mean seriously, if they were reading ANYTHING on this site they’d probably not have such a sub par website) can’t be mentioned on a list of bad website designs? A country isn’t going to launch and attack on a random person for saying their defense websites suck. Many of these countries with shitty websites seem to be ones that may not be able to afford or care about having something state-of-the art, which is why it sucks in the first place. Maybe if you said to them “A thousand dicks in your religion” would they care!

      0
  39. 3163

    I found this kinda hilarious. Notice how many of the bad ones were Arabic? When I see crappy sites like this, it makes me want to give them at least a simple functional template for super cheap because I feel so sorry for them and their terrible taste/eye for design and functionality.

    0
    • 3214

      Dude, are you an Arab-hater? What has being Arabic to do with this? There are 3 sites from Arabic countries that are ‘bad’… 3 out of 50 (or more)… so what are you trying to say?

      0
    • 3316

      Here you go sweetcheeks. Open your mind and stop being so prejudice:

      arabiancss.com

      0
      • 3367

        1. Don’t call me sweetcheeks.
        2. I’m not prejudice. It just seemed like many of the sites that were bad had some form of Middle Eastern language written on it it.

        0
  40. 3418

    I’ve done business with the defense and intelligence sector. They area very conservative group.

    Don’t count on them to follow trends that are less than a year old.

    0
  41. 3469

    And for the record, the Philippines Marine Corps. site is HILARIOUS! But really, I feel like more could’ve been said about these sites if there was going to be such a long list of bad ones. Many of them seem to be 3rd world or otherwise struggling countries.

    0
  42. 3520

    To be completely honest with you, your site doesn’t look any more cutting-edge. Except maybe for the ad cluttering.

    0
  43. 3571

    Whoever created this list never looked at the real United States Navy website, its http://www.navy.com/navy/. Navy.mil is for internal use only.

    0
  44. 3622

    I found this interesting because where I work we win a large number of government and pseudo government work (including Defense & Military work). Most of the time we are very limited in what we can design both front and back end wise. It can a very controlled process too in that there are usually many stakeholders, standards and a large market demographic to consider and appease – 95% of the time the sites aren’t anything interesting to look, rather more about the ease of use and accessing content which in reality is first and foremost the most critical function.

    And before anyone comes on here stating a good designer would rise above this… the real deal is this sometimes our hands are tied (very tight) and we can’t do anything about it – when a large govt client has to adhere to strict guidelines, protocol and so forth then a lot of the design will unfortunately suffer in my experience. That’s no reflection on the developer/designer either – usually more to do with a lot of red tape.

    Keep up the good work SM.

    0
  45. 3673

    Yeah let’s use a whole article to rip on 3rd world military websites. SM used to be cool… what happened?

    0
  46. 3724

    What about IDF? http://www.idf.il ?

    0
  47. 3775

    Ok, this was my last read from smashing magazine, I have removed your feed from my list. I felt the need to tell. Not only in the past 6 month or so, the articles quality went down. We then started to have opinion columns. I do not care about random unknown and wannabe authors opinion, I “want” objective, useful information, and inspiring topics that I can learn and grow from, and on top of that, I “want” this deliver in the most positive way, that is: show us good stuff.

    Obviously, something bad happened internaly at smashing magazine: Stop polluting the web, your task and effort should focus on improving on the web content, not the opposite.

    You failed

    0
    • 3826

      hah polluting the web? go to pen island .com and tell me if you still think that smashing magazine is still polluting the web.

      0
  48. 3877

    I know smashingmagazine having hard times about financial problems. But this is not an excuse for such crap articles. Look at the articles that you have posted in the last month. Not one of them worth reading.

    0
  49. 3928

    nice article, but I don’t agree with the mention that a boring (military) site is a bad thing, bad design yes, but honestly – the more boring the page of my country’s military is, the happier I am

    0
    • 3979

      Yes, definitely. The more boring and bad designed these kind of websites are, the better.
      You SM didn’t have to public such an article! You have just blessed these sites with more audience for a while. They didn’t deserve it. You gave them visibility while they definitely should not be visible, maybe not exist.
      If we’re artists, and I think we are, we all should believe in peace and fight for it. No weapons, no war.

      0
  50. 4030

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