by Brian

Obama versus McCain : Web Design War

Now that Barack Obama has won the Democratic vote for President, it seems like a good time to review both Presidential candidate’s websites.

BarackObama.com and JohnMcCain.com

First off, here are the details of these sites:

BarackObama.com

  • Server Type: PWS/1.2.29 (Personal Web Server)
  • Width: 960 pixels
  • Code: CSS and PHP
  • Color Scheme: White, Shades of Blues, Grey
  • Design: Light feel, Use of Gradients, Modern, Crisp, Comfortable
  • Cross-Browser Compatible: Yes
  • Estimated US Visitors Per Month: 1,568,981
  • Valid HTML?: Failed validation, 8 Errors (XHTML 1.0 Transitional)

JohnMcCain.com

  • Server Type: Microsoft-IIS/6.0
  • Width: 999 pixels
  • Code: Mostly Tables and ASP / ASP.net
  • Color Scheme: blue, grey, orange/yellow, navy, white, green, red
  • Design: Harsh feel, very “boxy”, rigid, stiff look
  • Cross-Browser Compatible: Two notable IE6 problems on homepage
  • Estimated US Visitors Per Month: 350,340
  • Valid HTML?: Failed validation, 85 Errors (HTML 4.01 Transitional)

Screenshots from June 9th 2008

BarackObama.com is immediately a striking yet calming website, designed with organization and cleanliness in mind. The main website navigation is clearly defined and the overall usability of the website is excellent. The format of each page begins with a nice page heading graphic, well-designed and interesting. Each page is organized clearly, and a perfect amount of white space and padding is added to each section.

Features on BarackObama.com are:

  • User Accounts / MySpace style : Yes (My.BarackObama.com)
  • Newsletter Sign Up: Yes
  • Website Blog: Yes
  • TV Channel and Videos: Yes
  • Events Search Engine: Yes
  • Local Grassroots Group Area Search Engine: Yes
  • State Specific Pages: Yes
  • People Group Pages: Yes
  • Issues Pages: Yes
  • Downloadable Logos, Wallpapers, Print Materials, Buddy Icons etc. Yes
  • Social Networking Links: Yes
  • Register To Vote Link: Yes (off site)

JohnMcCain.com’s design lacks real organization and a friendly user interface look and feel. The overall design looks contrived and forced together, without any flow or consistency evident throughout. The color scheme….well…there doesn’t appear to be a standard organized color scheme at all with different colors, and tones all over the website; Prominent blues, orange/yellow, red, bright green, turquoise blue and dull blue/grey. Font sizes throughout the website differ, as well spacing and padding. An example of this is if you venture between the Campaign Calendar page and the Blog page. The difference in padding and margin at the top left is a terrible lack of real professionalism in user interface standards, especially for such an important website like this.

Features on JohnMcCain.com are:

  • User Accounts / MySpace style : Yes (McCainSpace)
  • Newsletter Sign Up: Yes
  • Website Blog: Yes
  • TV Channel and Videos: Yes
  • Events Search Engine: No (only events calendar)
  • Local Grassroots Group Area Search Engine: No
  • State Specific Pages: Yes
  • People Group Pages:No
  • Issues Pages: Yes
  • Downloadable Logos, Wallpapers, Print Materials, Buddy Icons etc.No
  • Social Networking Links:No
  • Register To Vote Link: Yes (on site)

So, after studying both websites, it is clear which one is of a higher quality of web and graphic design standards. BarackObama.com is a modern, web 2.0 website, utilizing the latest in XHTML and CSS capabilities, along with capturing the interests of all ages.

JohnMcCain.com lacks a comfortable and appealing design, and is also extremely narrow in its reach. The only user that will enjoy JohnMcCain.com is a wealthy 70 year old man looking for some new golf gear (4th tab in dark blue in center of page)!

BarackObama.com seems to be reaching out to all ages, all ethnicities, all groups of society. His website has something for everybody, and it is interesting to note that this seems to tie in perfectly with his overall campaign promise; To unite everyone. His website certainly achieves that.

What do you think about the two websites? Do you think they achieve what they need to? Which one keeps you interested to click through to other pages and which one turns you away right off that bat?