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 Whether they’re outdated, broken or designed by amateurs, some of the websites showcased below are bad enough to make you cringe.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The Outdated Link
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.
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.
Macedonian Ministry of Defence
The layout, the partially rounded corners and the drop-shadow against the background all date this website.
Pakistan Maritime Security Agency
Using an image like this one as a background was very popular in the ’90s.
The Russian Federation Ministry of Defence17
The design has a striking resemblance to traditional Google AdSense blocks, and the line-height property for the content area certainly should be increased..
The Poorly Coded Link
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.
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.
United States Special Operations Command
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.
The Poorly Designed Link
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).
Kenyan National Security Intelligence Service
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.
The Philippine Marine Corps
This is another one for which I’m not even sure where to start.
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.
Romanian Land Forces47
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.
Royal Thai Army
There’s just way too much going on here, and no focal point to grab your attention.
Turkish Air Force
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.
United Arab Emirates Ministry of Defence
Where’s the content?
Zimbabwe Ministry of Defence
There’s no color scheme here, and the entire thing looks like something a kid did in class.
The Not-So-Bad Link
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 Defense of Bosnia and Herzegovina
If more attention was paid to the baseline or vertical rhythm, this would be a reasonably good design.
British Secret Intelligence Service
The angles in this design should either be better incorporated into the other elements or removed altogether. Other than that, it’s not bad.
Ministry of National Defense of the People’s Republic of China57
The elements on this website don’t quite have enough continuity, but the color scheme and overall layout are good.
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.
Armed Forces of Honduras
This website isn’t bad. But again, nothing makes it stand out.
Saudi Arabian Ground Forces
This website is more interesting than some of the others here, but it doesn’t quite pull it together.
A Few Good Sites Link
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.
Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Bulgaria
A clean, well thought out design that makes good use of textures and gradients.
The header here is fantastic, and the rest of the layout works well.
Ministry of Defence and Armed Forces of the Czech Republic93
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.
Defence Command Denmark
A minimalist layout that leaves plenty of white space.
The Finnish Defense Forces
A clean and organized design, with double-tabbed navigation bars.
Polish Ministry of National Defense
This is one of the nicest designs in this post, especially because of the header.
- 1 http://www.mindef.gov.ar/
- 2 http://www.mindef.gov.ar/
- 3 http://www.rbdfmil.com/
- 4 http://www.rbdfmil.com/
- 5 http://www.mindefensa.gov.ve/
- 6 http://www.mindefensa.gov.ve/
- 7 http://www.mod.mil.by/news_eng.html
- 8 http://www.mod.mil.by/news_eng.html
- 9 http://www.policia.gov.co/portal/page/portal/HOME/Home/operatividad
- 10 http://www.policia.gov.co/portal/page/portal/HOME/Home/operatividad
- 11 http://www.mod.gov.rs/
- 12 http://www.mod.gov.rs/
- 13 http://www.slovenskavojska.si/en/
- 14 http://www.slovenskavojska.si/en/
- 15 http://www.armada.mde.es/ArmadaPortal/page/Portal/ArmadaEspannola/_inicio_home/
- 16 http://www.armada.mde.es/ArmadaPortal/page/Portal/ArmadaEspannola/_inicio_home/
- 17 http://www.mil.ru/eng/
- 18 http://www.mil.ru/eng/
- 19 http://www.defence.lk/english.asp
- 20 http://www.defence.lk/english.asp
- 21 http://www.fbi.gov/
- 22 http://www.fbi.gov/
- 23 http://www.nro.gov/
- 24 http://www.nro.gov/
- 25 http://www.fau.com.uy/
- 26 http://www.fau.com.uy/
- 27 http://www.paknavy.gov.pk/
- 28 http://www.paknavy.gov.pk/
- 29 http://www.army.mil.za/
- 30 http://www.army.mil.za/
- 31 http://www.ejercito.mil.ve/index.php
- 32 http://www.ejercito.mil.ve/index.php
- 33 http://www.cubagob.cu/otras_info/minfar/default.htm
- 34 http://www.cubagob.cu/otras_info/minfar/default.htm
- 35 http://www.mmc.gov.eg/
- 36 http://www.mmc.gov.eg/
- 37 http://www.rfmf.mil.fj/
- 38 http://www.rfmf.mil.fj/
- 39 http://www.mod.gov.ge/?l=E&m=5&sm=5
- 40 http://www.mod.gov.ge/?l=E&m=5&sm=5
- 41 http://indianairforce.nic.in/
- 42 http://indianairforce.nic.in/
- 43 http://www.lebarmy.gov.lb/?ln=en
- 44 http://www.lebarmy.gov.lb/?ln=en
- 45 http://www.army.mil.pl/
- 46 http://www.army.mil.pl/
- 47 http://www.en.forter.ro/en/
- 48 http://www.en.forter.ro/en/
- 49 http://www.mil.gov.ua/index.php?lang=en
- 50 http://www.mil.gov.ua/index.php?lang=en
- 51 http://www.mil.am/eng/index.php
- 52 http://www.mil.am/eng/index.php
- 53 http://www.asis.gov.au/index.html
- 54 http://www.asis.gov.au/index.html
- 55 http://www.bundeswehr.de/portal/a/bwde
- 56 http://www.bundeswehr.de/portal/a/bwde
- 57 http://eng.mod.gov.cn/
- 58 http://eng.mod.gov.cn/
- 59 http://www.morh.hr/
- 60 http://www.morh.hr/
- 61 http://www.ejercitodelecuador.mil.ec/
- 62 http://www.ejercitodelecuador.mil.ec/
- 63 http://www.armada.mil.ec/
- 64 http://www.armada.mil.ec/
- 65 http://www.regjeringen.no/en/dep/fd.html?id=380
- 66 http://www.regjeringen.no/en/dep/fd.html?id=380
- 67 http://www.fap.mil.pe/
- 68 http://www.fap.mil.pe/
- 69 http://www.mdn.gov.pt/mdn/pt/
- 70 http://www.mdn.gov.pt/mdn/pt/
- 71 http://www.marinha.pt/PT/Pages/homepage.aspx
- 72 http://www.marinha.pt/PT/Pages/homepage.aspx
- 73 http://www.navy.lk/
- 74 http://www.navy.lk/
- 75 http://www.vtg.admin.ch/internet/vtg/de/home.html
- 76 http://www.vtg.admin.ch/internet/vtg/de/home.html
- 77 http://www.af.mil/
- 78 http://www.af.mil/
- 79 https://www.cia.gov/
- 80 https://www.cia.gov/
- 81 http://www.defense.gov/
- 82 http://www.defense.gov/
- 83 http://www.navy.mil/swf/index.asp
- 84 http://www.navy.mil/swf/index.asp
- 85 http://www.bmlv.gv.at/english/index.shtml
- 86 http://www.bmlv.gv.at/english/index.shtml
- 87 http://www.army.mod.uk/
- 88 http://www.army.mod.uk/
- 89 http://www.raf.mod.uk/
- 90 http://www.raf.mod.uk/
- 91 https://www.mi5.gov.uk/
- 92 https://www.mi5.gov.uk/
- 93 http://www.army.cz/
- 94 http://www.army.cz/
- 95 http://www.defensie.nl/
- 96 http://www.defensie.nl/
- 97 http://www.forsvarsmakten.se/en/
- 98 http://www.forsvarsmakten.se/en/
- 99 http://www.nsa.gov/
- 100 http://www.nsa.gov/
- 101 http://www.army.mil/
- 102 http://www.army.mil/
- 103 http://www.marines.mil/Pages/Default.aspx
- 104 http://www.marines.mil/Pages/Default.aspx
Hold on, Tiger! Thank you for reading the article. Did you know that we also publish printed books and run friendly conferences – crafted for pros like you? Like SmashingConf Barcelona, on October 25–26, with smart design patterns and front-end techniques.