Blue Utopia Blog

Website Battle: HRC or DJT?

Thu, Jun 23, 2016 - 05:30 PM

A couple of months ago (back when the 2016 field was more full), Jim Saska at Slate wrote an article called "The Presidential Campaign Websites Are Terrible". In it he compared all the presidential websites, outlining why most of them were very bad – except for Donald Trumps actually.  No, I’m not kidding and among the salient points were the following:

Issues pages.  Where Hillary’s was a long list of links to respective issues pages that were themselves long text-heavy issue positions, Donald’s was a collection of video-centric statements on the issues – displayed in order of relevance. 

Intercepting Splash Pages.  Most, including Hillary, used annoying intercepting splash pages that asked the visitor to take action before going to the website.  These are a bad UX practice and annoying to visitors.  Trump, by the way, did not and currently does not use splash pages.

First, about issue pages and really about your approach to content in general, there is something more fundamental about his point.  It goes to what the scope of your website should be.  About what your audience needs and wants and about the changing landscape of online. 

Back when websites were starting their ascent to a mandatory campaign tool, they were the only real source of online information and engagement.  Over the years, the scope of a standard website began to grow – blogs (thanks, Howard), video, news, social feeds, events, sign-up, petitions, letters-to-editor, etc – the barrage of information and engagement options just kept growing.   

What’s changed is that today, there are a plethora of online properties on which to engage and build an audience.  As such, your website should perform as though it’s a piece of that puzzle, not the aggregator of all possible content and engagement options.

Also in the past few years, content consumption patterns have really changed. We’re consuming more content, in smaller chunks, and more rich media, particularly videos.  Unlike HRC’s website, DJT’s website reflects this changing reality.  The undercurrent of Jim’s point is that HRC’s website is a bit of a data dump.  DJT’s is a well-crafted marketing communications tool.    

Regarding splash pages, I wrote about splash pages here.  They are a bad practice.  There are times to use them but these instances are limited.  I won’t re-write about splash pages, other than to say stop it!         

Posted by Trace Anderson,

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