Don’t worry this isn’t a political piece on who you should vote for. I haven’t decided who I am going to vote for yet so I thought this would be a good time to try and take an unbiased look at how digital and been involved and evolved during this years primary race.
It should come as no surprise that Barack Obama has put a lot of effort into the digital space with his younger and more technologically savvy base of supporters. His campaign site has undergone 3 re-design in 1 year taking it from a plain site design to it’s current Web 2.0 blog inspired design.
The latest version of the site is slick and attention has been paid to every detail of the design. The layout and navigation are clear and the design is uncluttered in spite of the large amount of information on the page. There is access to every social media you can think of with link off to every social networking site, mobile and even a my.barackobam.com section where you can have your own blog.
The down side is that all of this does come at a cost and the home page is going to load slowly for some people at around 1.2 MB. For the sake of comparison, Hillary’s homepage is 422KB.
Moving from the Obama site to Hilary Clinton’s you see several immediate differences.
In comparison to Obama’s site this one does feel a bit older and more traditional in it’s visual design. The thing that I was the most struck with was that there are three large bright red donate buttons in about a 500 square pixel space above the fold. I understand that in her position fund raising is a priority but with this concentration it almost overwhelms the rest of the content. The rest of the site feels like they were going through and checking off boxes for what content they thought they should have but I couldn’t find anything that they were doing better than what I found on the Obama site.
As we move on again the digital efforts of John McClain pull up the rear of the three contenders.
The most obvious failing for me is the visual design of the site that looks dated and more like an engineering company than an inspiration to America. I was shocked at the large scale use of black in the design that really makes the site feel somber and heavy. I thought that Obama went over board with the social networking tools but this site goes to the complete other end of spectrum by having them completely missing.
If tends continue and it is Obama and McClain that end up as the candidates it sets up to be a very interesting competition in terms of our chosen medium. They are each at such opposite ends of the spectrum that I am curious to see if it could play a major role to tip the tide in Obama’s direction. Should McClain get the nomination will digital become more of a role in his campaign? Only time will tell.