Sick of political commercials? Check out a political website

Disclaimer: In no way am supporting one party or the other in the following article. It is purely an analysis of web design in politics

Lately all the commercials on television are about the upcoming election and quite frankly none of them tell the candidates message. After watching TV for a few hours I saw what seemed like hundreds of political commercials, but I had NO IDEA why I should vote for them. I was only given a reason to not vote for the opposing candidate.

So this got me wondering what do these guys stand for? I decided to take a look at the websites of two candidates in my current state of Illinois, Mark Kirk and Alexi Giannoulias. It got me wondering the power of web design and if it can dictate the difference of a vote or not. It definitely can dictate the difference between a sale or not, how about a vote?

Alexi Giannoulias’s website is very well designed and provides an overall nice experience. I was easily able to find the answers to the issues without having the go to multiple pages. I really enjoyed the "quick view" when rolling over the issues.

The design is very contemporary with high quality photos and really provides a lot of useful information. The homepage feeds in blog posts, upcoming events, twitter feeds, and press making for a very content rich design. It also has the ability to join the campaign (with only two fields!) from any page, instead of making it a separate page where the user is required to fill multiple form fields.
Alexi Giannoulias Website
Mark Kirk’s website did not captivate me quite as much. One of the first things that turned me off when visiting the website was a modal that popped up before seeing the homepage that asked me to join the campaign with multiple form fields. I understand the intent, but I didn’t even get to see the homepage before I was asked to join. I would think one would want a user to first understand candidate before signing up to get spammed.

The design on Kirk’s website is not quite as high quality as Giannoulias’s, but as far as political sites go, it is still fairly good. The side bar on the Kirk’s site is nicely designed, but is very strong and distracts from the message within the page. My eyes kept getting drawn to that area. That same side bar seems to have a bit more of a contemporary design than the rest of the site.
One should never make a voting decisions based just on the design of a candidates website, but design influences choice everyday. People shop on certain e-commerce sites because the enjoy the experience and they know how to find what they want easily. I’d be curious to learn how many people who voted for a candidate learned about the issues from the candidates website. It is very easy for the press and news to really confuse the audience on what the issues are. Visiting political candidates websites allows you to look up the issues that matter to you without being overloaded on the issues you don’t care about.


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