Today we embark upon Part 2 of a 4 part series covering all Presidential candidates left in the race (with a viable chance). On Monday I reviewed Senator Clinton and next on the docket is Senator McCain.
Logo – looks very familiar to an army of one. The single star, yellow and black all look rather similar.
Color palette – black, white, yellow, blue and a splash of red. Overall this mix of the flag color palette laced with army colors just doesn't look good. It seems that he has two primary colors of blue and black and then two complimentary colors in yellow and red. Interesting that the black, yellow and white along with the star resemble the Army. You think he’s trying to tell us something?
Personal pic – McCain appears to be having a good laugh while giving a speech. His famous POW picture from Vietnam is firmly fixed on the main hero section as well.
Navigation – the site has a typical top navigation bar which is mirrored at the bottom of the page. Site map is also present. Secondary and tertiary pages have breadcrumbs which makes navigation very easy. A search feature is buried at the bottom of the homepage but it is also present in the secondary side navigation.
Calls to action – Donate (2), Join (2), Online Store (3) this seems on par with what any candidate should be trying to do, raise money and support. The three links to the Online Store is funny because they’re selling stuff like this $200 fleece. That's right, a fleece you could get monogramed for $30 is being sold for a "Suggested Contribution" of $200. Now, I understand that they're trying to raise money, but nothing else in the store has this ridiculous kind of markup. For example, a scarf will only cost you $20.
Order of importance – based on navigation
- Get Involved
- News & Media
Order of importance – based on layout
- Ready to lead on day one
- Governor Jeb Bush Endorses Joh McCain*
- Why John McCain
- On the Issues
- Donate (2)
- Join (2)
- Chesapeake Primary February 12
- John McCain at CPAC
- McCain Online Store (3)
- In the states
- 2008 Delegate Counter
- In the News
- Supporter Spotlight
- Straight Talk Express
What’s missing - when they picked the colors for the site it looks like they were conflicted with being a maverick or towing the typical presidential colors. They tried to be a risk taker while being conservative and the result is just plain ugly. The Clinton site isn't risky but it still looks nice. They need to choose one or the other, but trying to be both is a disaster. Furthermore, the contribute page takes you to a secure page but the only way to get
back to the rest of the site is to click on the McCain logo as they
didn't include the rest of the top level navigation. In addition, it seems that the campaign is trying to make everything on the homepage the hero, which as we all know, makes absolutely nothing the center of attention. When you first look at the site it's extremely difficult to know what to look at first. Simplifying the main hero section would do wonders for the site.
*If you take a look at the screenshot you'll see that the promo for Jeb Bush's endorsement says "Governor Jeb Bush Endorses Joh McCain." When I first saw this I thought that it might be some sort of acronym for McCain like GOP (Grand Ole Party), but 2 hours later, they updated the typo. Sorry for the pun, but this is bush-league.
Get involved - if you chose to signup you can create a McCainSpace personal website, customize the appearance of the website (coming soon) and receive additional information about exclusive events and appearances. It's interesting that McCain is encouraging people to set up their own social network (which other candidates are doing as well) while not paying any attention to the social networks that already exist with millions of users. Well, he has a presence on MySpace, Facebook and Eons, but he doesn't mention it on his site. This seems like a major oversight to connect people that are visiting the site with these networks.
About - I realize that this is the section that should have pictures of Senator McCain, but c'mon, is it really necessary to have 13? We're not talking about a long page either. There isn't that much copy and yet they've managed 13 pictures of McCain in the copy and in the promo areas. Conversely to what his campaign manager will tell you, you can have too much of McCain.
News & Media - this section is up-to-date and has news, press releases, op-eds, endorsements and speeches. Each section only shows the top three results with the option to read more. I like the fact that I'm not inundated with thousands of stories and I get to see the most recent posts in bite-sized nuggets. All of the information is housed on the site which is a nice plus in that I don't have to go out to other sites to read.
Issues – specifically calls attention to War in Iraq, Taxes & Economy and Health Care Plan. This seems like a good tactic since these seem to be the hot-button topics for this election. People can look at these issues and quickly decide if McCain is their choice.
Events - this, like all of the other navigation items, is rather self-explanatory. They provide What, When, Where, Start and End time along with providing a way for you to find your voting election. You can email, print, digg and add to deli.cio.us each event.
Undecided? - this section is basically the Readers Digest version of the site. There is a video, Why John McCain and then About John McCain which links back to the About page. I like this tactic as it allows you to quickly see what McCain has staked his candidacy on.
McCainSpace - on McCainSpace you can set up your own website. This seems like a good idea if you want to network with other supporters, but it doesn't do much for reaching those that are uninterested in his campaign. I don't understand the fascination with trying to create a new social network when you could be effectively reaching millions on MySpace, Facebook and Eons. Users like to join networks that their friends are already a part of, not a network that they have to ask their friends to join unless the new network has something far superior to offer them. Maybe I'm wrong, but something tells me that McCainSpace isn't offering them anything special.
Blog - this blog is updated roughly every four days on average. With the amount of things that are going on in the campaign, every four days is really weak when it comes to a blog. There are many posts that have thousands of comments on them and kudos to the campaign for not snuffing out negative feedback.
Delegate Counter - this is a nice item to have on the homepage, as I can tell where McCain stands in the race. McCain, Romney and Huckabee are listed along with the number of delegates that McCain needs to win. Of course, Senator McCain has nearly 3 times as many delegates as the next closest competitor, so one might argue that having a delegate counter is always great to have listed so prominently on your site whenever you're #1. I say, however, that if you're #1 you need to display that with pride.
In the News - this is fed in from the news section as it take the three most recent items from news, press releases and speeches. I like seeing this on the homepage instead of having to go to the news to peruse.
Supporter Spotlight - a simple flash element that cycles through high-profile endorsements. I don't claim to be the fastest reader around, but the timing of the flash is too quick to be able to read the entire quote.
What’s missing - I wish the Issues section actually gave more insight into where McCain stands without having to click on Read More. Unfortunately, the teaser copy doesn't really provide any information at all, but instead loads up the reader with boring political rhetoric.
Use of technology
MySpace - 44,931 friends, 5,814 comments. (Hillary 182,641 friends, 18,691 comments)
Facebook - 59,342 supporters, 5,804 wall posts (Hillary 110,460 supporters, 37,456 wall posts)
Eons - 3 friends, 0 badges (Hillary 297 friends, 3 badges)
YouTube - 2,613 subscribers, 589,518 channel views, 166 videos uploaded (Hillary 9,829 subscribers, 1,304,419 channel views, 252 videos uploaded)
What’s missing - I find it interesting that McCain is on these four networks (and most likely others) but he only links to his YouTube and Veoh channels with a logo on his multimedia page which is listed under News & Media. While McCain has profiles on MySpace, Facebook and Eons it seems like someone told them they had to be on the social networks but they didn't really have any strategy or maintenance plan in place. Once again, not being on Twitter is another missed opportunity.
In conclusion, Senator McCain's site has some nice features but overall feels archaic mostly because of the design. For the homepage they've taken the Microsoft approach and thrown as much as possible at the visitor. It's basically sensory overload but thankfully the secondary pages aren't as busy. The main takeaway that I get from the site is that John McCain is established, courageous and a former POW. While they've done a great job with naming links, using breadcrumbs and not making users go out to additional third party sites, the design just feels so old-fashioned that it brings down the whole site.
Overall Seal Rating: