February 2008 Archives
From personal experience and having had a slow Internet connection for some time, I find Flash pages to be a waste of time and preventing me from going to the bulk of the website quickly. Sure, some Flash websites are very attractive-looking. This does not mean that I hate Flash and would never use it. I just feel that there is a time and place for using Flash. For example, many Marketing and Design agency websites (and private designers) use Flash to showcase their work, and this is very effective in some cases. However, I would not recommend that an ecommerce website use Flash solely to sell their products as this could hinder sales, and there is little need to showcase this in the same way that a Marketing agency would showcase their skills and services with a cutting-edge Flash site (which is more than likely going to be slow loading or have problems in some browsers).
An article that I read on the subject is listed below with some good examples and where Flash "splash" pages could be used.
Mike Huckabee: This website uses a lot of dark red; blue, white, and yellow are the secondary colours. The colours (pale blue and dark red) do not really work together, and the red is too bright to look at for too long. A large, bright red navigation bar with white text is not the best feature of the website.
The website hosts general information and a blog. Contributions and assisting in the campaign feature prominently on the website with examples of ways that users can assist. The 'Contribute' button is large and red, and the front page hosts a bar with the total amount of money needed and contributed to the campaign. The 'sign up' form also features prominently.
Overall, the website appears to try too hard in its search for supporters and obtaining money, but there is little in the way of content to sell the candidate to new users. The interactive networking features of the website appeal to a younger, tech-savvy audience, but the website lacks the content to get the support of new users, and the design could be less bright and bold by minimising the red colour. 5/10
Rudy Giuliani: This website uses washed-out blue and a medium-grey to light-grey gradient as the primary colours while red is used to draw attention to the candidate's name, make a contribution, or join the supporters. The candidate's name appears faded out in the background of the header.
First impressions of this website do not strike my confidence. The photographs are grainy, and the main photograph of the candidate looks unhappy and miserable. Does this man really want to run for the presidency? Besides the poor choice of photograph, the top half of the main page is designed well. The bottom half of the page looks as though little thought was put into it. The headers and content are basic, poor, and uninspiring. The 'Stay Connected' section appears as though it were tacked on as an after-thought. It appears as if it is an attempt to jump on the networking websites bandwagon and appeal to the younger audience.
The website consists of general information, video, blog, and a section on assisting in the campaign, but there is much less content on this website when compared to the others. The website is not as advanced as the other candidates' websites. Subpages are very basic and lack content.
Romney: The website uses a lot of grey and blue; red and white are used as secondary colours. The header is a solid blue containing the logo, which appears to be dark pink when compared with the bright red used elsewhere on the website.
The website offers general information, video, blog, a Spanish translation (to get the support of the Spanish-speaking voters), and networking tools to let users assist in the campaign. There is also a page for the candidate's five brothers, who each have a blog.
The website has other features to appeal to younger audiences with the ability to sign up to receive news via mobile phones and links to networking websites such as MySpace, YouTube, and Facebook. The design is consistent, and the primary objective of the website seems to be to get users to sign up to assist in the campaign and contribute; these are the most prominent features of the website. However, there are some major problems with the usability of this website, which ultimately fail this website when its viewed in some browsers.
- The code for the blogs on the front page is visible; it looks as though tags were not properly closed.
Although the content and visual design are generally good, the usability problems permit this website from being accessible by all users. 1/10
Obama: The website uses a lot of blue and white; the blue gradient background gives the website a clean, modern feel. Red is used to highlight the logo and 'Donation' buttons.
First-time visitors are presented with a welcome page of the candidate's family underneath the word 'CHANGE', which begs for supporters and presents the idea that change is possible. This page also tries to force users to sign up by providing their email address and ZIP code details; I feel that less technical users may be confused by this and may think they need to provide their details before they can access the website.
Once the user has arrived at the main content page, the website is simple and easy to use. There is a Spanish translation of the website and links to news, blogs, and videos. Like Hillary Clinton's website, this website acts as a networking website where users can assist in the campaign, meet other users, plan/find events, and create a blog. There is also an online store.
This website appeals highly to the younger generation with computer skills and mobile phones. There are links to several networking websites, from the most popular ones such as MySpace to others that are not as popular. The website has a clean design and it is presented very well. The only problem with this website is the welcome page, which I find a little unnecessary and potentially confusing to some users. 10/10