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February 11, 2008

The Biggest Decision You'll Make this Year - Hillary Clinton

Candidates_2 As we move forward from Super Tuesday, it seems necessary to reflect on all of the candidates present at this juncture and dive deep into what they stand for.  What makes them tick?  What makes them someone that we're willing to put our hopes and dreams into their hands for safekeeping?  Of the many things that make up someone's personal brand, their web presence speaks volumes as this is one avenue that is always speaking to the public.

So, with that, I've decided to do an in-depth analysis of each candidate's brand in a 4 part study of the candidates that actually have a shot at this point.  (This was going to be 3 parter, but Chuck Norris threatened me with a viscous round-house to the face, so I reconsidered Huckabee).

I've ranked each site on three categories (Design, Content and Use of Technology) and scored the candidates accordingly on a 5 presidential seal scale.

Today, we start with Senator Clinton.

Hillary_site_2 Design

Logo - rather trite..."for President" makes me think this is the same logo she used when running for the Senate, she just changed "Senate" to "President". Maybe some of that $5MM that she loaned herself could've gone towards a better logo.

Color palette - Primary colors of surprise surprise, Red, White & Blue...yawn.  Visually appealing, but not inspiring.

Personal pic - not flattering, the upshot of the double-chin is not the Senator's best look, however the official headshot is very nice.

Navigation - a standard top nav layout. Right side promo panel on secondary pages is not consistent. No sitemap available.  Pagina Bilingue (En Espanol option always visible. The site is clean and devoid of clutter. Overall, it's easy to navigate around the site and find what you're looking for.

Calls to action - Contribute (3), Join (2).  This seems about right as any candidate is in the market for raising money and soliciting votes.

Order of Importance - based on layout

  1. Contribute (3 giant red buttons)
  2. Join Our Team (hero and top right header)
  3. Latest Videos
  4. On the Blog
  5. 5 Things You Can Do
  6. HillaryHub.com
  7. Women for Hillary
  8. The Fact Hub
  9. Hillary Gear
  10. Social Networks
  11. Hillblazers

Order of Importance - based on navigation

  1. Home
  2. Hillary (About)
  3. Issues
  4. Take Action
  5. Newsroom
  6. Blog
  7. Video
  8. States
  9. Contribute

What's missing - The design of the site is just ho-hum, in my opinion, and really lacks any personality.  Of course, maybe that's the goal, to play it safe, but that doesn't exactly inspire me.  In addition, the design lacks cohesiveness because there are sister sites that don't have the same look and feel as hillaryclinton.com.  I'd love to see more of Hillary's personality represented visually and with copy.  If we're going to "Make History" by voting for her, I'd like to feel that emotion when I visit the site.

Seal Rating:Seal_5Seal_4



Hillary (About) - good mini-timeline of Hillary's background, along with videos from backers along the way.  Concise and easy to read in chunks.

Issues - each issue is framed with her viewpoint in the title.  Instead of "Foreign Diplomacy" she has "Restoring America's Standing in the World".  When clicking on an individual issue, there should be links to be able to get to the next/previous issue without having to use the back button.

Take Action - this section is account driven, as you must create an account to utilize all of the features offered.  Actions include making phone calls, sending ecards to friends, starting a blog of your own, planning an event, finding an event, sending fundraising emails, and joining/starting a group.

Newsroom - releases are listed in blog-order fashion, most recent to oldest. This section includes photos, speeches, endorsements and links to HillaryHub. Speeches & Press Releases - should provide PDF and printer friendly version. Photos - Flickr slideshows.

Blog - maintained on a daily basis by backers, speaks to issues, strategy, rebuttal to attacks.  Easy to disseminate to friends via technorati, digg, del.icio.us, and email to friend links.

Videos - HillaryTV, theHillaryIKnow.com, and ads.  Lots of content here, good coverage overall.

States - Iowa and Nevada are obviously considered the most boring states due to one picture only for each instead of 3 like the other states.  Heck, Rhode Island even has a collage of 3 pictures.

What's missing - Interesting that there is no trace of a delegate counter.  It seems like this would be something that people going to the site would want to know.  For that matter, the hot items seem to be buried in the news section or on the separate HillaryHub site. 

Seal Rating:Seal_3Seal_5Seal_4


Use of technology

blogHillary - Updated daily by staffers / backers, technorati, digg, del.icio.us, email to friend links prevalent throughout site.

HillaryTV - videos load quickly, also uploaded on YouTube. Embed code is included for bloggers for easy posting to their site.

MySpace - 182641 friends, 18691 comments.  This isn't really a giant number as comedian Dane Cook has  2,273,543 friends and 259,858 comments.

Facebook - 110,460 supporters, 37,456 wall posts

Eons - 297 friends, 3 badges

Flickr - 3,100 photos

YouTube - 9,829 subscribers, 1,304,419 channel views, 252 videos uploaded

What's missing - After perusing the different social networks I don't really feel that I have a more in depth knowledge of Hillary Clinton as a friend.  I wish she'd post more pictures and give more insight into her life outside of the campaign trail so that I feel that I am her "friend".  Not being on Twitter is a huge opportunity missed.

Seal Rating:Seal_5Seal_4



After spending hours on the site, I feel like I know what Senator Hillary is about, what she believes in, what she currently needs from me and how I can get involved.  The design of the site is clean yet it feels like you could take out Hillary's picture and plug in any other candidate and it would work.  It just doesn't feel like there is anything special here.  The content on the site is robust, but I hate having to go to a separate site for news, Hillary gear, Hillblazers, and videos.  Each one of these sites has a different look and feel, which disjoints the brand. The campaign is doing a decent job of using new technologies by setting up profiles on MySpace, Facebook, and Eons, but I can't see why they wouldn't be microblogging through Twitter.  This is an untapped resource that Hillary should be using, along with all of the other candidates.  Overall, I'd say that the site is nothing spectacular, but considering websites in the political arena, this site could conceivably receive higher marks. 

Overall Seal Rating:Seal_3Seal_5Seal_4

Do you agree with my assessment?  Let me know what you think. - John Herrington


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I agree with much of what you wrote....not sure if Hillary has a life outside the campaign trail though. She always seems "onstage" and one dimensional....her social network self may be her real self. I will look forward to the rest of your assessments...not sure if any of the candidates except for John Edwards get social networks.



This is a fantastic analysis. I agreed with almost everything you wrote. I think her web presence is too generic as well. And the photo she uses of herself is not flattering at all. For all of the contribute buttons she has it is surprising that she had to giver herself a loan last month. I really look forward to the next three parts in this series. I hope a lot of people find this post of yours because I think looking at their websites gives a little more insight into what kind of candidates they all are. And I love the seal rating, that is classic.


Nice review.

I would argue that importance is not indicated by the order of the navigation. In this instance, contribute is at the end, but it is red, being sure to capture attention. The eye can't help but be drawn to it, when scanning the navigation.

Also, the nature and purpose of it is clear, which is more than I can say for "states" or "take action." The titles, by being too simple, obfuscates their true purpose.

By far, considering the entire design, "Contribute" is the most important element of that navigation, from the candidate's perspective.

@Marianne That's some interesting insight in that she might not have a life to share outside of the campaign trail.

@Blake Thanks for your thoughts. I wonder if there is some analysis out there on how a website plays into someone's political decision, broken out by age demographics. I would assume that it would be much higher on someone's list the younger they are.

@Cam I agree with your assessment on the Contribute button as being giant and red do scream for you to look at them.

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