Issue No.
164, December 2011 Latest update 9 2014f August 2014, at 4.39 am
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Review date: 18 November 2011

Established in late 1998, MIFTAH (The Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy) works in the areas of democracy and good governance both locally and globally. The name “MIFTAH” is a partial acronym of the full name in Arabic.

MIFTAH’s site, available in both English and Arabic, follows a traditional three-column design grid with a top banner and a footer showing the total number of visits and the site’s copyright notice.

The fixed-width page starts with the current date at the top left and a quick-access menu aligned to the right. Mailing List pops up a Web form to enter an e-mail address in order to subscribe or unsubscribe. Contact Us has several e-mail addresses for various entities and other contact information. All menu items on the page are grouped in one place under Sitemap, and visitors can find a good number of websites organised into several groups under the Links menu item.

The site logo and name occupy the next stripe across the page, followed by a centred menu bar: Home takes you back to the main page, and About Us explains the vision, mission, objectives, and administration. There are two tracks under Programmes & Projects (“Democracy and Good Governance” and  “Media and Information”) each with its own projects, in addition to a list of archived financial reports. Activities is where archived reports (since 2004) of MIFTAH’s activities are available in PDF. The last item, Publications, has over 50 items ranging from fact sheets to books with electronic PDF copies.

The left column has five sections that serve as menu blocks. The first block, Follow Us On, has graphical links to social media (Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and RSS feed). Then there is MIFTAH’s Information with the following categories: Opinion & Editorials, Week in Review, Viewpoint, Statements, Fact Sheets, Special Studies, Success Stories, Photo Essays, Policy Papers, Current Issues, Women and Youth, Media Monitoring, and Key Issues. Each category has its own list of items on a summary page leading to full details.

The Resources and Documents section has a similar structure and includes the following categories: News & Analysis, Press Releases, Online Petitions, Picture of the Day, True Stories, Reports, Polls, Maps, Letters & Speeches, Agreements & Treaties, and UN Resolutions.

The last two sections are essentially single items: the latest financial report and a statement refuting allegations against Palestinian textbooks.

Under a header containing the currently selected menu item and a graphical link to the PLO Negotiation Department about Palestine’s bid for UN membership, the main area has featured items from the various categories with sidebars to read more.

The right column starts with the Arabic language switch graphic followed by a red Donate Now button that leads to a page instructing potential funders on how to contribute. Then there is the Headlines section that displays the latest news. Next, there is a static calendar followed by a highlighted New Publication and two other highlights: Spotlight and What’s New.

MIFTAH’s website is rich and up-to-date. It can take advantage of the full-screen real estate and adhere to recent Web usability trends by reorganising menus in a hierarchical fashion, fixing a few technical issues, and adding interactivity.

Abed A. Khooli is a SharePoint and Web development specialist. He can be reached at
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