Thursday, June 28, 2007

Obama campaign exploits technology but obscures message

The Barack Obama 08 campaign is using the technology well. Take a look at how they have both video vignettes and audio clips from donors on their front page--in support of their end-of-quarter fundraising/donor push. The videos are straightforward, edited with a light hand and appear to be unscripted; excellent job. But the page as a whole? Not nearly as impressive. I'm sure the page will change, but right now it's impossible to tell what Barack Obama's message is by going to his home page. Let me say that again:

It's impossible to know Barack Obama's campaign message by looking at his home page.

The page is split in two vertically--and "Be Inspired, Be Counted" (the fundraising pitch) consumes the left side. This includes links to three videos, a rotating audio clip (with text excerpt), a (presumably) new-donor name/location crawl, and updated stats about how many people have donated this quarter.

Sound busy? It is, but it works both visually and in getting the "donate now" message across.

But what about the Obama-curious? What's here for them? Nothing. To get any actual information about Barack Obama and what he stands for, you have to click through at least one page deeper. The people in charge of Obama's home page understand technology but they're losing the casually curious visitor.

Don't make this mistake on your site; technology is important--even imperative--but technology should exist in service to the message, not to obscure it. See also Letting your IT person write your web copy is like letting the phone company write your fundraising scripts.

--Louella Pizzuti

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