Flags change: Libya as an example

For a time, Libya had the honour of being the only country with a flag a single colour. But since 2011 and the overthrow of the Gaddafi regime, Libya has readopted its former flag of 1951 – 1969.

Libyan flag
Flag of Libya
Libyan flag (old)
Previous flag of Libya

Libya’s flag, new and old

In September 2011 the new Libyan flag was raised outside the United Nations. That was almost two months ago — any many websites have since changed their Libyan flag graphics.

Skype, for instance has updated the flag on its Libya page:


However, Rebtel is still a few months behind the change:


Interpol is also showing the old flag — which is not without irony considering most of its Libyan page is about arrest warrants related to the Gaddafi family:

Libya isn’t the only country recently to change its flag. An interesting list at Flags Australia shows many recent flag changes — including the worlds newest country Southern Sudan, Burma and Malawi.

Burmese flag
Flag of Burma (from 2010)
Burmese flag (old)
Previous flag of Burma

Burma’s flag, new and old

If you use flags on your website for any reason — remember they are liable to change. And often, as Libya perfectly illustrates — the reasons for the flag changing can be highly political.

From a user experience perspective, what would a Libyan user make of the new flag on the Skype website and the old flag on the Rebtel website? It would probably depend on their political viewpoint. But regardless, it again highlights how sensitive an issue flags can sometimes be.

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