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Fred08.com Still Buggy, But a Good Campaign Site

BY Colin Delany | Thursday, September 6 2007

Cross-posted on e.politics

In honor of his announcement last night, I just checked out Fred Thompson's official site, and I gotta say, very slick Flash interface, guys. A few bugs here and there, though — when I clicked on some of the stories on the main panel at the top of the front page, I got error messages (better check that Action Script). Here are some general observations:

  • I definitely like the "Register to Vote" link in the top navbar. Interesting — looks like they used Ajax or some other kind of active behind-the-scenes database interaction in that feature.
  • Nice job collected cell numbers on the volunteer page — I signed up to be Fred's new Friend and happily forked over my number to see what they'll do with it (don't worry Mom, this is business — I ain't voting Republican any time soon).
  • Lots of potential demographic/interest data to be gained from the broad array of "groups" people can join when they sign up — good opportunities for message-targeting.
  • Lots and lots of video — perfect for a candidate who's spent a lot of time in front of a camera. Nice use of a wide frame, too, and the picture quality is generally excellent. Good job supplementing the video with text in the Principles section, since that lets people skim if they don't want to absorb.
  • Good focus on social networking sites, with the site icons prominent at the bottom of every page.
  • Nice widgets! Widgets for headlines, fundraising, house parties, plus good old fashioned buttons for folks who don't like embeds.
  • Overall, it makes Rudy's new site, which offers volunteers many of the same opportunities, look quite cluttered and busy by comparison. Design matters! Clean design creates an initial good impression, steers eyes and makes it easy for potential supporters to find what they want. Look at Fred's Contribute button — easy to spot, since it's red and up in the top corner, but subtle enough that the site doesn't scream "give me money."

Critiques?

  • Fix those bugs! Just a matter of time and testing, I'm sure.
  • Let's get some more content in here — I'm not the first to wonder if Federalism is really enough of an issue to base a presidential campaign on (unless it's we're in the year 1800 and I didn't notice). Again, a question of time.
  • No community-building of any kind? What about letting your supporters contribute some kind of content (besides the contents of their wallets)?
  • Did I mention that it's a little light on the content front? What's this guy running on?

Let's see how this one fills out. Good start, though.

cpd