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BEST (tie)

Fisher for Governor

When visiting the homepage of this site everything you need is right in front of you.  The overall site loads quickly, uses attractive colors and is cutting edge in design for a political site.  Their header is attractive and does a nice job of condensing the candidates’ pictures, and logos into one banner.  Email sign up is available and quick, a tool that brings people back to the site.  Viewers can download and view one of the campaigns commercials-this is a good use of the web medium.  

Best Feature:  Navigating this site is as easy as pulling down a navigation bar button, seeing your menu choices and selecting your topic without getting stuck in a maze of linked pages. 

Worst Feature:  While the home page is a bit too heavy on text as a candidate, his site is short on issues. 


BEST (tie)

Rendell for Governor

This site is equal to that of Mike Fisher in that it loads quick, uses attractive colors and is cutting edge in design for a political site.  The header is attractive but the matrix affect takes away from the crisp clean graphics that one enjoys on the Internet today.  The linked pages are well constructed and gathering information from them is comfortable. The site has a personal touch and a visitor truly gets a better understanding of who Ed Rendell is.  While his letter to those viewing the home page is thoughtful and nice, one needs to orient themselves with the site and navigation before being able to quickly peruse it.  When trying to move off the site by going forward or backwards, the browser keeps returning to the same site, a very frustrating experience. 

 Best Feature: The scrolling “Latest News” column on the right is a nice touch and helps create anticipation when viewing the site.  The link to Ed's childhood photos is a favorite as too.

Worst Feature:  This site mentions very little about his running mate, Catherine Knoll.  Visiting her site, http://www.catherinebakerknoll.com/, reveals a home page that is not nearly of the same caliber and the design work is simple at best.  The only graphic that stands out is one that is all too familiar to Al Gore and the 2000 campaign.  Can you find the match? 



O'Brien for Congress 

This site is well develop and extremely current.  It is head and shoulders over most other sites in the competition.  The layout is sharp and the color choice, while unique, stands out.  The text and images flow together seamlessly.  His endorsement list that goes on and on is impressive as well.

Worst Feature:  It lacks the high technology items that those ranking ahead of it employ and viewers are forced to scroll from top to bottom of the home page, loosing the full view of the header and navigation.  Maintaining sections of the homepage on one screen has more value than a large letter to the viewer that says very little



Toomey for Congress

This site is a great campaign site.  The vertical navigation is geared for people who want to get involved quickly by volunteering, contributing, or adding his colorful link to your own website.  The well-placed contrast of bright and cool colors makes the site appealing and the designer employed a good blend of text and pictures to keep surfers interested.  The site engages numerous forms of technology such as email sign up and video feeds to compel viewers to return.  The family pictures are appropriately used and give the site character.

Best Feature: The well-placed contrast of bright and cool colors makes the site appealing and the designer employed a good blend of text and pictures to keep surfers interested.  The Campaign tool kit that allows the user to download an HTML Toomey for Congress website button is also a smart addition.

Worst Feature:  The horizontal navigation does not have enough presence for the amount of information a surfer can get by clicking on any of the buttons. 



Hoeffel for Congress 

The color choice of the theme is majestic and the banner/header is a perfect fit.  The page layout overall flows well and the designer has created a clear path for surfers to follow.  The calendar seems to be well kept and viewers are able to give contact information, an important part of the process.

Best Feature:  The photo gallery is fun to navigate through with meaningful pictures.

Worst Feature: This site has the potential to move further up the list if the home page had real substance.   



Reed for State Representative

This is a great site with a few holes.  The home page draws the visitor in and leaves them hanging.  Consider smaller pictures and concise information about who Dave Reed is as a candidate.  The only component of any informational value is the “breaking news” section.  The rest of the site is well designed and but information-hollow. 

Best Feature: The site is pleasant to navigate because the banner and navigation is static while the inner text is dynamic.  This is gives the reader a nice flow and pace.

Worst Feature:  Someone clearly spent considerable time designing the site, but less time filling it in with useful information on why Dave Reed should be the next State Represetatative for the 62nd District



People with Hart 

With its snappy domain name, this site is appealing and eye catching, however it appears to be 90% complete.  The header/banner is impressive and accents the top of each page well. 

Best Feature: The well laid out home page

Worst Feature:  Entire sections of the site are still missing and under construction, a bit to close to election to have that problem.



DiGirolomo for State Representative

Another site on its way to stardom.  The homepage masters the tricky task nicely of keeping all relevant information within the boarders of the screen while scrolling down keeps the site intact and allows the viewer to read the text.  The site talks about issues as themes rather than tackling them head on.

Best Feature:  The structure of this site is classy and patriotic with good use of pictures. 

Worst Feature: The items on the site such as the schedule and news pieces are outdated.



Brown for Congress

The header on this site is top notch and a good use of the logo.  The home page quickly reveals the candidate’s positions and priorities in a gentle and pleasing way.  The column on the right side is a great touch point for what’s new in her campaign and the headings/links are easy to understand and follow.  While the site lacks animation, the text flows well with the images and keeps readers eyes moving.  The site would move up if the left side hover buttons were not present.  The candidate has fallen into the trap of making her picture the focal point of the page, rather than blending it into the banner on top. 



Maza for State Senate

This site has a lot offer but needs design guidance.  The overall site is clean and patriotic, but spread over too much space.  The site contains good information but the writing could be broken down into more concise sections.  It appears the graphics and photos were placed where it was html convenient and do not flow well with the text.


The Candidate Vanity Award

The first impression the visitor is immediately greeted with is an overwhelming amount of stimuli centering around one thing, the image of the candidate.  And even worse yet, the image is not always the most flattering or complementary.  While the candidate probably enjoys viewing the site and showing family and friends, his or her  picture being the focal point does little to help the viewer remember the candidates name and platform. On Election Day, it should be the goal of the candidate that the voter recognize the candidate’s name on the ballot, especially because there won’t be any pictures there to help.

These awards best characterize some of the greatest designing goofs. While the site offers value, these mistakes can be critical and offensive.

And the winner is:

Wofford for Congress  That's a lot of Dan!


Too Tacky for the Web Site Award

This award goes to the designer who uses graphics, text or pictures that are far too inappropriate for public consumption.   A visitor to Bill Choby's website finds themselves reliving Bill’s vacation trip to the crash site of Flight 93.  Mr. Choby is attempting to capitalize on the tragedy of 9/11,  which is unlikely to win him any votes, or friends for that matter.


The Busy Site that Doesn’t Work Award

No matter how magnificent the text on these sites are, the color scheme, layout, graphics, animation, load time etc will make you reach for a motion sickness bag.  These sites are parallel to the polyester print outfits that we often see grandma and grandpa styling.

Murtha for Congress 

Helsel for State Representative


PoliticsPA asked veteran website developer Michael Drulis of Drulis Designs to contribute to this feature.  His firm has designed a number of political websites for federal, state, and local races.