Last post we started our series by digging a little deeper and making some assumptions of exactly what a presidential campaign election website would likely need to accomplish. To rehash, here are the refined site objectives that we inferred…
1) For candidate faithful – the site must reinforce, invigorate, and help candidate faithful by giving them information and inspiration. To use Future Now Conversion Assessment terms this is the A.I.D.A.S factor.
A.I.D.A.S – The ability of the site to sustain a prospects momentum toward the close at both the micro(page) and macro(site) level.
2) For media and political observers – the site must make information about the candidate and the campaign readily available and easy to use. This is largely a usability issue.
Usability – he ability to implement effectively the body of knowledge concerning the human-computer interface in order to remove any obstacles impeding the experience and process of online interactions.
So keeping these two user types in mind as well as our implied objectives, let’s grade our presidential candidates websites…Do they accomplish their objectives?
Bush- Yes, but it is limited. As you would expect, the information and copy on the homepage is mostly about the candidate. A visitor would like to hear more about them and what they can do as well as what Bush can do for them. Site is strong in providing relevant information about the campaign and related issue in the active window. The content here is current and is labeled as ‘Latest Headlines”, “Latest Videos”, “Latest Photos,” making it that much easier for candidate faithful, and the news media to find what it needs quickly. Site does respectable job of differentiating important text with exception of global navigation, the buttons are too difficult to read. The site does feel ‘cluttered’ and some of the colors are little bit dark and gloomy. Female faithful may feel a little alienated by the ‘sporty’ feel of the site’s graphics.
Although both sites offered the access to the current ads and archive of ads in a variety of file formats , the Bush site takes it one step further by providing links to the media releases that provide supporting information about the ad as well as text of each ad.
Kerry- Somewhat and slightly less effectively than the Bush site. The first foul of the Kerry website is a ‘flash’ page that brazenly solicits for donations and campaign involvement, this is a risky tactic because it assumes that candidate faithful are ready for this level of involvement and may be seen as ‘pushy’ with more methodical and humanistic types that like to take their time before jumping in. Some elements on the landing page, like the “Take Action” section are nicely differentiated. Color scheme is less brooding than the Bush site, and menu fonts are much easier to read. Some of the sites most relevant content, the content that will inspire the faithful, like the “Bush-Cheney: Wrong For America” link, is buried below the fold on the right hand column . The latest campaign info should be labeled as such in the active window.
In terms of A.I.D.A.S, Bush has a clear online advantage, but once a decision is made by the site visitor to convert Kerry’s site seems to fare better than Bush, but we’ll discuss that on the next post.