Government website officially full of poo

I kid you not: I’ve found a government website with a click-to-generate-crap function.
Directgov Kids is a site developed by the Guardian, in association with the Department for Education and Skills, which ‘aims to encourage children (aged 5-11) to think of themselves as young citizens with a range of rights and responsibilities. It invites children to explore a self-contained world, full of online games and activities. These games introduce important ideas such as citizenship, democracy and political participation.’
The one thing it isn’t, though, is a kids’ interface on the Directgov content. So whilst it talks in general terms about things like ‘healthy eating and keeping fit, children’s rights and responsibilities, voting and democracy, online safety and looking after pets’, it doesn’t tell you anything about those things in the child’s own locality – and as such, it’s a bit of a missed opportunity.
It’s a Flash-based ‘click to explore’ kind of interface – in other words, you have to hover and/or click on everything, and hope some of them respond. Maybe kids like that sort of thing. But a lot of the responses are very slow to happen, and there’s quite a lot of hanging around as new scenes load, too.
Granted, I’m a quarter of a century beyond its target audience, but I just don’t think there’s a practical and measurable benefit to a website like this. Someone probably thought it was a ‘good thing to have’, but I don’t imagine it’ll breed a generation switched on to the joys of local democracy and healthy eating.
To find the poo, spin the world until you find the supermarket, then go into the Office. (My high score on the crapping cows game is 350.) There’s more about the site on the Parents Centre website.
(PS: I don’t think I ever mentioned the Young People’s site for Downing Street, launched last September… it’s here.)

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