Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Make with the cash... then we'll talk

So here's another one of the innumerable things that piss me off about the remaining candidates for President: if you go to the official candidate website for a number of the remaining candidates, the section of the site requesting donations is more prominently featured than the sections showing, you know, where they actually stand on the issues. Here's a rundown:

  • John McCain: going to lands you on a page featuing a large black and white photo of McCain with a prominent red button that says "Donate Today." Below this graphic (which takes up about 2/3 of the page) is a small hyperlink that says "Click here to continue to," where you can actually see what he thinks about stuff.
  • Mitt Romney: This is the one that pisses me off the most. takes you to a splash page. The left side of the page features a video on Romney's economic stimulus package. The right side of the page features a photo of Romney and his wife with another big red "Contribute" button. Down in the bottom right corner is a a gray button (about 1/3 the size of the "Contribute" one) that says "Skip to Site" -- as if the donation page was the main attraction and you're out of line for skipping over it.
  • Mike Huckabee: Mercifully, navigating to Mullah Huckabee's site takes you directly to the main content page, where a prominent link to "Issues" appears in the top navigation banner. There's a link to contribute in this same banner, as well as one in a little "Help Mike Today" panel. This strikes me as a reasonable way to handle this issue. Too bad he's a theocratic, squirrel eating nutcase.
  • Hillary Clinton: This one is very borderline for me. On the plus side, there's no splash page and an "Issues" link is featured in the navigation banner. At the same time, there's that tacky red "Contribute" button again in the main header section, right below the featured headline (today's headline: "Hillary Wins Florida!", which, in my opinion, is disingenuous given that there were no delegates at stake and the state was essentially boycotted by the Democratic party and the other candidates, but I digress..). Generally speaking, I find the design of Hillary's site to be the most attractive of all the candidates. It's very clean and Web 2.0.
  • Barrack Obama: This is the strangest of all. You go to a splash page, which asks you to register your email address so as to "join the movement." There's a link to go to the main site without joining, and that's where you get the standard "Issues" link and "Donate" button in the top banner.
What's interesting about the sites that give you a splash page is that they use a cookie to disable it on future visits, which strikes me as the exact opposite of what the rational thing to do would be. If it's the first time I'm visiting your site, presumably I'm not going to give you any money (or join your movement) until I've seen what you think about the issues... so send me right to where I can get at that information. Conversely, if I'm a return visitor, it's more likely that I'm already familiar with what you think and (since I'm coming back) it's also more likely that I'm sympathetic to your candidacy, which makes me more likely to join up or donate -- so give me the splash screen on my return visit.

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