Last Updated Aug 18, 2010 4:47 PM EDT
Presidential politics has always dragged way behind business when it comes to understanding the Web. (As recently as 2004, Dick Cheney couldn't even get his domain names straight.) But 2008 might be the first election year in which the big players in politics have shown they've finally caught up. Not that they didn't have some help, of course: Barack Obama's campaign, for instance, hired Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes to lead its Web initiative.
Curious as to what Web site design tricks the top two presidential campaigns pulled off the best, we asked CBS Interactive Art Director Marc Mendell to click through the Barack Obama and John McCain campaign sites and analyze their effectiveness — from a business point of view, not a political one.
"An effective Web site design conveys brand and presents information with a clear hierarchy," says Mendell, who has led several award-winning site redesigns, including BNET's. "A functional site creates intuitive access to all the content." Here's Mendell's take on Obama v. McCain online.
href="http://www.bnet.com/2346-11452_23-245589-1.html">Smart Design Guides
Eyes to the Most Important Content...
href="http://www.bnet.com/2346-11452_23-245589-2.html">...While Too Many
href="http://www.bnet.com/2346-11452_23-245589-3.html">A Consistent Look
Encourages Readers to Consume More Information...
Inconsistent One Can Drive Them Away
href="http://www.bnet.com/2346-11452_23-245589-5.html">Subtle Visual Cues
Can Reinforce the Brand...
href="http://www.bnet.com/2346-11452_23-245589-6.html">...Or Confuse It
href="http://www.bnet.com/2346-11452_23-245589-9.html">Prominent Links to
Social Networks Drive Viral Marketing...
Options Kill the Potential