We may have been building campaign websites for 15+ years now, but even presidential candidates still make major and painfully avoidable mistakes. For some striking examples, check out a just-released study from Houston-based Normal Modes, which ran the current Republican hopefuls’ sites through industry-standard usability tests. These involved looking over actual humans’ shoulders and asking questions as they went through the pages and executed specified tasks. Some findings:
- Overall, Bachmann’s and Cain’s sites performed the best, though individual features on other sites (such as Huntsman’s interactive timeline and Perry’s mix of videos) did strike users’ fancies.
- People HATE email-gathering splash screens, which are now standard-issue on most campaign sites. In fact, some users (older ones in particular) found them so confusing that they tried to leave the sites entirely.
- Strikingly, once users got past the splash screens, the sites frequently did a terrible job of collecting email addresses on internal pages (I’m lookin’ at you, Mitt). C’mon kids — nonprofits have known to put a clear email signup form or button on every page for years.