Despite it being something like 20 months until the 2008 US presidential election, the campaign trail is already hotting up.
Given the amount of attention being placed upon how the presidential candidates are stacking up against each other, I thought it would be interesting to see how their web sites compared from a design standpoint.
Overall, I am largely commenting on the aesthetics of each site. However, I did have a few particular areas of interest that informed my opinions:
- Does the site provide a way for the candidate to differentiate themselves? Or do they all look the same?
- Has the web been utilized as the ‘great leveler’ between the rich and ‘poor’ candidates? I.e., does the site look professionally designed?
- Am I going to overdose on red, white and blue color schemes, US flags, stars and stripes backgrounds, etc?
- Does the site provide a clear and engaging call-to-action?
Other than putting current front-runners at the top and exploratory committee sites last, the list is in no particular order.
There’s lots to like about this site, from the elegant, understated design to the action-oriented navigation. It’s also the only site with a clearly identifiable logo.
I like the bold “Donate” button — a clear call to action. However, the home page is a little light on content and could do with a search function.
My first reaction was “what is up with all the black and grey?” I’m not sure what the designers were going for, but to me it just looks dreary.
Yes, the traditional red, white and blue is getting a little clichéd; however, I’m pretty sure that this isn’t the answer. To my mind, the lack of color makes McCain seem even older than he is (B&W = a time long ago).
On the other hand, my wife finds it ‘interesting’, so what do I know?
Although I criticized the use of icons on this site, overall this site is very pleasing to the eye. Although the traditional color scheme is being used, it has a contemporary feel.
Side note: If you’re going to display En Español so prominently, you should probably do more than provide a single page of Spanish content.
Pretty standard fare here. Not sure why the masthead and navbar is so separate from the rest of the site; I find it detracts from the overall cohesion of the site.
The color scheme is traditional to the point of being dated.
Nothing jumps out about this site. Plenty of content, which is good. Not sure why the gimmicky ‘Dodd Pod’ is given such prominence — why should I care what’s on his iPod playlist?
Oh dear. Was this site really designed for the 2008 election or was the design simply borrowed from somewhere back in the 1990s?
This is a shame because there’s clearly a lot of good content here; more than most of the other candidate sites.
Quick test: find the contribute/donate button. Took a few moments, no? Why is there a bunch of unnecessary links in the main navigation and no ‘donate’ button?
This site definitely does not ‘level the playing field’.
Nothing wrong with this design, although it does make Biden look like a cable news presenter — what teeth!
I wonder how many clicks the graphics on the right get, given that they look a little too much like advertisements?
Edwards’ site has daringly (but, you might argue, not wisely) eschewed the traditional color scheme, opting for more earthy tones instead.
Maybe it looks more environmental. That being said, it’s still a well designed site.
I like the 3-step ‘how you can take action’ section. Makes it very clear and easy to get involved.
An elegant, clean design with good balance between the different sections. One of the better examples.
A mediocre design at best. The lengthy letter is misplaced on the home page and the scrolling news section makes the site look dated.
This is the least action-oriented of the candidate sites.
Nothing wrong here and it’s nice to see a few other colors than the standard red, white and blue.
The only site to use a serif font. Readability issues aside, does this make it appear a little less action-oriented than the other sites that use a ‘bold’ sans-serif font?
Overall, it’s a pretty workmanlike design; a little heavy on the gray perhaps. Oh, and the ‘take action’ icons are terrible.
A close contender for the worse site design. From the video that plays automatically when you load the site, to the cheesy navbar mouse overs to the buttons that move when you mouse over them, this is pretty poor overall.
Not much to get excited about design-wise. At least the color scheme is non-standard, although it could do with a little more color in the body of the page to liven it up.
I do like the fact that Gravel’s issues are presented front-and-center on the home page, although I feel that the quotation from Thomas Jefferson wastes space. How about a quote from Mike Gravel instead?
Exploratory Committee Websites
The last three sites are for candidates who have not officially announced their candidacy and therefore do not have official ‘2008 presidency’ web sites.
Great slogan. And if things don’t work out he can always go into e-commerce.
Pretty good overall design.
Lacks the polish of the other two exploratory web sites. Functional at best.
Further Reading About US Presidential Websites
- Reviewing the Presidential Campaign Websites
- Experts rate Web sites of presidential candidates
- Political Web sites get personal
- Presidential Campaign Sites: User Experience Analysis (2004 campaign)