Yuck, It’s Cold! (And Obama’s Website is Better than McCain’s)

My coffee—I get focused on the task at hand and forget it’s sitting right there and it gets cold. I wonder how much energy goes untapped, wasted from all the coffee cups in the world that get cold in a given day from heat transference loss? Could probably power a small country. Who cares about the global energy crisis… what’s McPalin Obamiden gonna do with my tax dollars about the “my coffee’s always cold” crisis?

Side note: From purely a design, UI, IA perspective and not at all indicative of my own views on the race, Obama’s website kicks McCain’s website right in the ass.

Okay, this is turning into more than a side note. Candidates: feel free to pass this along to your web designers.

Rating criterion and definitions:

  • Look-n-Feel—user interface; the visual impression and quality of the site driving my emotional and intellectual response and ability to gauge the mood and/or tone; the resistance (or lack thereof) of my ability to traverse the site; does the site’s presentation get in the way of its information; does it have continuity with itself.
  • Nuts & Bolts—information architecture; what’s behind what you see in the browser; the source code structure; organization of content; technology being used to serve the site.
  • Destination Hints—user interaction; the site’s link cues and triggers which allude to where you will go, or what you can expect to see behind a link (either text or graphic); the URL scheme of the site.

Dear John,

johnmccain.com | screen grab, September 27, 2008

johnmccain.com | screen grab, September 27, 2008

  1. Look-n-Feel: Your head shots are not using the same scale (it looks creepy). The disproportionate scaling makes you look feeble and makes her look disturbingly not right. Quality counts, sir. Don’t you have other pictures that don’t make you look like you’re on staff at my kids’ school?
  2. Nuts & Bolts: Your home page has 1 HTML error and 213 warnings, which means you have severely poorly-formed code driving your site’s template. Please fix what’s wrong with the details and that kind of craftsmanship will trickle up the line to the impression you leave with people. Your site sits on an ASP based platform. Forget it man. Your site was built for Internet Explorer with no regard to the rest of the browser world. Thanks for perpetuating broken systems.
  3. Destination Hints: The links in your site to your own pages are not made for people. I’m glad machines are happy with your URL Scheme. What the crap is this: http://www.johnmccain.com/mccainnation/EventDetails.aspx?guid=64cdf0bf-6932-4116-8b34-3dbad974ea15&party=64cdf0bf-6932-4116-8b34-3dbad974ea15&zip=63368&dist=10&ptype=00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000 I have no idea where this link will drop me off. I can see it is related to an event (or the details for an event?) and, yeah, that’s not going to break when Mrs. Robinson tries to email it to the bridge club.

Summary: Frankly, in my initial visit to your site I was confused. I wasn’t sure what was real and what was an ad, or what was behind my browser’s finger. Please make me think with your pledges, promises, and your ideas for leading our country, not with how to get around your site, which is reminiscent of the late nineties. Don’t worry, I will not stoop so low as to make comments in context of your age which include terms like: the Cenozoic Era, or Arpanet. This is strictly an evaluation of your digital presence. Rating: 3.57

Dear Barack,

barackobama.com | screen grab, September 27, 2008

barackobama.com | screen grab, September 27, 2008

  1. Look-n-Feel: Your design is strong, well laid-out, and not cumbersome to navigate. Good choice on your head shot angle and the fact that it breaks the lines a bit. That tells me you are not bound to the box you are in, yet you are comfortable with it. Your content grid could use a little TLC, but for the most part, things are legible and visually accessible.
  2. Nuts & Bolts: Your home page has 0 HTML errors and 92 warnings, which means you have poorly-formed code driving your site’s template. Please fix what’s wrong with the details and that kind of craftsmanship will trickle up the line to the impression you leave with people. If you are not using Open Source technologies to power your site, then good job making it look like you do. How fitting would that be?
  3. Destination Hints: Not terrible, in fact. But you do have a little bit of crypticity going on: http://my.barackobama.com/page/community/post/jennprosser/gGgd3M …but it is not overwhelming. From this link I can tell I’ll land on a page with a post by someone, BUT I have no idea what post it will be. This tells me you are aware that real people visit your site and may in fact try to pass on links to others.

Summary: Your designer needs a raise. The attention to quality is evident. It’s so nice to see good design getting the attention your site gets. Thanks for not being afraid of technology and congratulations on being one of the first (if not thee first) presidential candidate to have a Twitter outlet. Rating: 8.91

Disclaimer: at the time of this writing, I really am undecided on who to vote for or even to vote at all. If it were as simple as basing my vote on something as trivial as “design” then I guess it would be that simple. But it’s not, so I stand undecided and possibly uninvolved. Let’s hope the forthcoming debates clean the crap out of the circus ring.

1 Response to “Yuck, It’s Cold! (And Obama’s Website is Better than McCain’s)”

  • For a candidate that is an advocate of change, I see the evidence of change in Obama’s site. McCain? Not so much.

    Based on websites alone, Obama’s site is “walking” the talk.

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