The quality of this cycle’s political websites speaks to the increased priority campaigns placed on online outreach.
Americans continue to move away from broadcast television in favor of online video. In 2012, campaigns responded by spending unprecedented ad dollars to reach voters on the web.
In terms of design, the best political websites had a clean, simple design with layouts that were familiar and easy to navigate. They were also accessible across platforms and devices. While most campaigns lacked a mobile version of their site, the best used responsive design, which scales the website to fit mobile, tablet and computer screens without compromising functions or content.
A good political website didn’t just look nice but played a key role in campaign organizing efforts—engaging users through clear calls to action and easily shareable content. Most importantly, in the year of the data-driven campaign, they integrated supporter data tracking.
These websites allowed users to log in with Facebook, Twitter or an email address and then merged a history of supporter actions from the website with other key voter, volunteer and donor data to create comprehensive supporter records. Based on those criteria, here's a list of 6 sites that got it right in 2012.
Presidential: President Obama’s campaign again set the bar for political website design. The 2012 website’s cutting-edge layout was complemented by responsive design, and the content was engaging and shareable. Most importantly, the website played a key role in the campaign’s data-driven strategy.
Senate: The Elizabeth Warren campaign website’s clean design and wonderful action center set it apart from other senatorial campaign websites.
Congressional: Joe Miklosi’s website stood out among congressional campaign sites because of its use of supporter data tracking.
Gubernatorial: The modern layout and easily shareable content of Puerto Rico Governor Luis Fortuño’s reelection website distinguished it from a number of other gubernatorial campaign websites.
Microsite: Obama Isn’t Working’s impressive, responsive design adapts smoothly across screen sizes. The website uses impressive graphics and a functional layout, and the header navigation locks in place as users scroll down for easy navigation.
Ballot Measure: Yes on CA Prop 37 was another data-driven campaign that built supporter data through their website. The website is action-oriented and social.
Use the comments section to highlight your favorite political websites of the 2012 cycle.
Trevor Montgomery is the founder and president of Watch Street Consulting, a leading digital media firm serving political campaigns.