Interesting Kenyan Sites #17

The Good – a website that aims to report on the success of the economic stimulus packaged introduced in the 2009/2010 budget. We must say that for a Government site, this is pretty amazingly well done. good job all round! Though its creation was outsourced to India….

Owlses – though it does not exactly serve the Kenyan market, this is a nice shop for T-shirts based on owls. The site’s design is pleasant and professional.

Ticket Masters – this is where you can buy tickets to many events online. The site itself is very well designed and works pretty well. Good job!! Though it would do no harm to keep it more updated…

The Bad
The Kenya Police – this is the site of the Kenya Police. Besides being hacked numerous times a while back, it is not available right now. Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

Viva – this is a website that sells premium rate SMS services. Unfortunately, the badly dated (as in old) design makes one think it may not be legit. The look and feel of your website tells people a lot about you, and this website does the owners no good at all.

Interesting Kenyan Sites – Best of 2010

A while back, we started a small experiment where we’d write about cool Kenyan sites that we had come across. This experiment quickly got a life of its own and became a permanent weekly feature on Like Chapaa (thanks to all of you!).

Here are the 10 best sites that we covered in the year that was 2010:
(in no particular order)

  • GetH20 – A (serious) game which simulates the complexity of life in the slums, the scarcity of resources, how to deal with them and prevent escalation of conflict. More.
  • EasyFax – this is a website that provides virtual fax services, in Kenya! More.
  • Nairobi Swahili this is the website of one Oloo, a Swahili teacher in Nairobi. More.
  • Mara Enkipai a website of the Mara Enkipai Safari camp. More.
  • Zynde – helps you manage your money better. More.
  • Mukuru – allows you to quickly and easily send money to Kenyan mobile phones. More.
  • Zetu – made in the mould of, offering deals whereby you can buy stuff at discounted prices. More.
  • GotIssuez – this is a place where you can rant and rate issues that affect you. More.
  • eManamaba – promises to make travel simple and hassle free. More.
  • BidhaaTele is a massive marketplace where you can find bidhaa tele to buy. More.

The Worst Offenders

Kenya Ministry of Education website FAIL

The Ministry of Education - click for larger image

  1. Zuqka – the lonely spam planet. More.
  2. The Kenya Revenue Authority – navigating it is like solving a puzzle. More.
  3. Miko Sonko – you’d expect better from THE Sonko. More.
  4. The Kenya Teachers’ Service Commission – nothing short of shameful. More.
  5. The Kenya Ministry of Education – does it even work? More.

What do you think of our list? Did we miss anything?

May you all have a lovely 2011! See you next year.

Interesting Kenyan Sites #16

We found all of today’s sites on Facebook. Most of them were being advertised on Facebook. I must say that if you are going to spend money advertising your website, please make sure that your website is actually a good representation of you/your business. otherwise, you will just be making Facebook rich and wasting money.

The Good
eManamba – eManamba promises to make travel simple and hassle free. How? Well, through eManamaba, you can book and purchase a bus ticket to many Kenyan, and East African, destinations. You can even choose a seat from those available at the time of your booking. I love it, and I will be sure to try it when I next travel. The site is well done, and it seems to work. Kudos!

BidhaaTele – is a massive marketplace where you can find bidhaa tele to buy – though right now there is not so much probably because they are just starting. The site feels really well done and we must congratulate and thank the site developers for a breath of fresh air: a site that looks good and just works. Kudos, and good luck on the business.

Kamata School – I like the idea behind this site. Kamata Entertainment are using a blog to market their services (a music school, a DJ academy, and Salsa lessons) online. It is a very good strategy. Kudos. However, I feel that their site is letting them down. I do not particularly like the way the site looks and I think it could be better. However, the main problem is that the site feels a little cluttered and it feels like there is not a strong call to action i.e. they could sell their services more efficiently.

RimSite – this one is hard to figure out. It looks like a local social network (like facebook) but it also includes a job board where job vacancies are listed. It is a good idea, in principle. But I do not think the owners have executed it very well – the site right now looks like it is a little dead and feels like an adult (X rated) social network? Was that the intention? I do not know. But I do know that the owners did not intend for spam to flourish on their site like it does now. It is hard to build a social network, and I hope RimSite can overcome their current challenges and rise above them. – this is a furniture store. Basically it is a website set up by a furniture shop in Nairobi to promote themselves online. Nice, eh? The only problem is that their website could – and should – have been so so much better. The design is really poor – especially the site structure and the use of images instead of text (which means your site fails in SEO). Bad job by the guys who made the site. – this is a kind of online marketplace where sellers can list items on the epur platform and then, one hopes, make money and be happy. The site is badly done, though. I would argue the design itself is what lets epur down the most – it just does not inspire any confidence in me. Couple that with the fact that the site looks “unfinished” and you have a good idea done really badly. The saddest thing is that epur is supposed to be a marketplace but I cannot find any products to buy….

Interesting Kenyan Sites #15 – this is a group marketing tool that features heavily discounted deals for products and services from various industries. It is yet another Kenyan “deals” website made in the mould of Groupon. Though the site lacks somewhat in content, I find it to be very well designed and the people behind it seem to have a solid plan on social media marketing. Kudos and good luck to them.

GotIssuez this is a place where you can rant and rate issues that affect you. It is a nice idea, eh? If Safaricom, or KPLC, or anyone elses pisses you off, you can talk about it at gotissuez. Really nice idea and well executed, so far. I only displike the design a little bit.

Elma – we wrote about Elma a while back. While I really like what Elma promises to offer, I don’t really like their website. The design is okay, but I feel they can (and should) have put more effort into making the site more interactive. They are, after all, collecting people’s views – they should have made all of the user-generated content available online (right now they only display a selection of the latest ‘wishes’). I feel that their objectives may have been better served with a more interactive and ‘social’ experience (and this could easily be achievable by making all the user ‘wishes’ available and enabling people to comment on them. Still, good effort.

KwaSwa – these guys are web designers offering to make you a site for Kshs 7,500/-. However, I find their own website to be a little lacking. For instance, this page is currently inexistent even though it is a prominent link on their site. I would also argue that since they are web designers, their site should more visually appealing. – I presume this is Churchill’s (the comedian) website. It is currently down and has been down for a while. Somebody isn’t taking care of the site…

Churchill Kenya fail

Churchill fail (click for larger image)

What is Elma?

I’m sure some of you have seen an advertisement in the Daily Nation for Are any of you, dear readers, wondering what Elma is?

Elma is a mobile /online payment gateway for Kenya, done by Craft Silicon in conjuction with some selected banks. The service is almost ready to launch (it is undergoing final testing).

Reportedly, it is a mobile application (that you download) that would allow you to shop and make payments (cable TV, power & water etc) from your mobile phone, using your elma account which would be linked to your bank account(s). It should also allow you to top up your M-PESA account from your bank account (but not the other way), pay school fees, make donations (to charity for example) etc.

Source: Skunkworks Kenya.

Is this the local payment system we’ve all been waiting?

Interesting Kenyan Sites #14 – is a website where you can purchase furniture online. It is also an example of an exceptionally well designed Kenyan website. Most Kenyan online shops are, quite honestly, poorly designed. is different, the design is very well done and gives one the confidence to make purchases online. Good job!

SokoPal – this is another Kenyan Groupon clone. I do not particularly like the site’s design but there is no doubt about the fact that a lot of thought was put into making this website – and it shows. The site is very well done and serves its purpose perfectly. Kudos to the guys behind this – may they find great success in their business.

Zuqka – Zuqka is a portal site for weekend entertainment around Nairobi, but with a social networking component as well (video, audio and blogs). It’s a cross-medium service too, marrying newspaper with the web. I used to think a lot of Zuqka. It strikes me as a service that should be a smashing hit as it is backed by the Nation Media Group. Therefore, I was quite surprised when a reader pointed out that Zuqka has degenerated into a “lonely spam farm”. Have a look at the comments on these pages:

Goodness, it is quite shocking that the people behind Zuqka have let this happen. Your website can fail for many reasons but with spam-fighting tools like Akismet available for free, it is unacceptable to have your site succumb to spam like Zuqka has. The fact that the Nation Media Group is involved in Zuqka makes this all the more shameful. Bah!

Infested Zuqka - a picture of infested by spam

Infested Zuqka (click for larger image) – well, the official website of the Postal Corporation of Kenya is pretty well designed if you ask me. But it does not seem to be very well taken care of. For instance, this page is chock full of adverts for viagra and other sex-related pharmaceutical products. Clearly, Posta Kenya has a spam issue that no one knows about (or that no one cares about enough to fix).

Rumbaa – I generally hear good things about Rumbaa – a Kenyan photography site. But over the last week I have not (not even once) managed to get the site to load up properly. The images seem to be perpetually broken AND Google warns you that some of the pages of may “harm your computer”. Someone do something!

20 Things I Learned About Browsers and the Web

What’s a cookie? How do I protect myself on the web? And most importantly: What happens if a truck runs over my laptop?

In an attempt to teach the average person about the fundamental of browsers and the web, Google has released an interactive online book that explains concepts like, TCP/IP, HTML, browser extensions and malware.

The short book, 20 Things I Learned About Browsers and the Web, is a step-by-step explanation of the web and how it works. It was created by the Google Chrome team using HTML5, but it also features a lot of clever illustrations by award-winning German illustrator and children’s author Christoph Niemann.

The focus of the book is on 19 different topics (plus a recap, making for 20 things). It starts with “What Is the Internet?” and then dives into cloud computing, web apps, web programming languages, browsers, privacy, security and open source.

Source: Mashable

In your quest to do business online, is there anything that you do not understand about the web? This is your chance to learn:

20 Things I Learned About Browsers and the Web.