NOTE: The opinions expressed by our individual bloggers are their own, and not necessarily those of Young Democrats of Atlanta.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Grading the candidates' materials, part III: Web sites, the ones that matter
Today's bloggerDespite the pitiful attempts at websites showcased by part II of this series, more and more Georgia voters are listening to the phone calls and reading the literature that says “Go to my web site”, and so it's worth looking at how the folks at the top of the ticket are hitting the street the 21st century way.

  • Mark Taylor - Look: A, Content: A-. Be the other problems with his campaign as they may, I have to say that Mark's web site looks great. The black-and-white photos really look good in contrast to the dabs of campaign color here and there, and the little “Did You Know?” sidebars are a very nice touch. All in all a strong effort that I wish were more representative of the rest of the campaign.

  • Sonny Perdue - Look: B-, Content: A+. Note to Sonny: Repeated backgrounds always look bad. You can see that Special Sonny went for a high-tech look with the little folder icons and such, forgetting that average voters are not looking for folder icons on a web site, and probably try to avoid dealing with folders as much as possible anyway. Unfortunately, there is really no shortage of content on the site – photographs galore, multimedia of various sorts, and a more up-to-date “upcoming events” section than Mark has. This is definitely a good example of Republican dollars at work.

  • Jim Martin - Look: A+, Content: A. Jim deserves credit as the highest-ranking candidate to include an RSS feed for campaign news, which I quite frankly wish I had noticed before. Aside from that the site looks fantastic and extremely professional. The site is bursting at the seams with photos and other content, and the front page photo – where Jim is in color in an otherwise black-and-white photo – is especially good. Yet another reason to <3 (heart, for you non-nerds) Jim.

  • Casey Cagle - Look: C+, Content: A. I'm not a fan of the way Cagle's site looks – it's a little bit too busy, too much content in too small a space. It seems cluttered, and not something I would highlight if I were working for the Stoneridge Group. The navigation menus are pretty small and easy to miss. Cagle hasn't slacked on content though – he's got a podcast (albeit one that has yet to get off the ground, negating most of the cool points awarded) and various other electronic goodies for his nerdy constituents, and has probably the most detailed overview of his positions (as awful and horrific as they may be). A formidable effort, but fortunately one which Jim outdid.

  • Gail Buckner - Look: B-, Content: B. Compared to the four previous efforts, Gail's site just isn't that good. It looks a little better than Cagle's, and the intro photo is OK but not great. Definitely a second-tier site though. Content-wise, Gail seems to have taken the same approach to her issues page as she does to her public speaking (at least when I heard her) – lengthy, highly detailed, and not particularly interesting. While she gets points for having some pretty up-to-date campaign news, the goodies that the previous four candidates offered are just not here.

  • Karen Handel - Look: C, Content: B. Let's face it: Ms. Handel's web site does not look good. It's pretty plain vanilla and her campaign color scheme doesn't help. She's organized her positions a bit better than Gail has, but on the whole it's pretty much all plain text and small photographs (the photo gallery notwithstanding). You can see the quality in these sites deteriorating markedly down the ticket. (In side news, since when is John Smoltz a dirty Republican endorsing Ms. Handel? Just play baseball, dude.)

  • Michael Thurmond - Look: A-, Content: B. Mike's web site looks pretty good – nice layout, easy navigation, photos prominently placed. Based on the head-to-head competition, it seems that electyou.com has Stoneridge Group beat by plenty. Mike's got the standard content, so no special high or low marks there.

  • Brent Brown - Look: B-, Content: B-. There really aren't that many bits of image eye candy to be found on Mr. Brown's web site, rendering it mostly just another boring exercise in plain text. Aside from the fact that Mr. Brown seems not to care about volunteers (there is no link readily apparent to sign up to volunteer), Mr. Brown gets docked half a letter grade for having the gall to dare link to the Teamsters and CWA web sites while transparently promulgating the anti-union BS we have come to expect from Republicans.

  • Thurbert Baker - Look: A-, Content: B+. Not too bad considering that it's down the ballot. Thurbert's site has solid visuals and simple navigation. The content is pretty standard, with some multimedia thrown in; I would have given this an A- for content if the Accomplishments link hadn't pointed to a page with some photographs and an “under construction” message.

  • Perry McGuire - Look: A, Content: A-. Perry leads off with a pretty good photo with downtown Atlanta as a backdrop, and the layout is simple and clean. Nothing exciting to mention about the content except that it's all easily accessible and comprehensive, with his TV spot front and center on the main page. It's also noteworthy that the main page itself contains a direct attack on Thurbert Baker, an ominious portent for the Baker campaign.

  • Denise Majette: - Look: B+, Content: C+. Denise's website isn't as bad as you might expect from the woman currently running the most pathetic Democratic campaign in the history of Georgia. The intro photos aren't so bad, except that a canny observer will notice that none of the classroom photos feature Denise, a fact which will not surprise most of us. The content is decidedly thin, but what's there isn't horrible, except for the fact that the events are either out-of-date or indicative of the fact that the campaign is having farcical difficulties finding events for Denise to speak at. On the whole, if the campaign itself were as good as this web site, I would be a hell of a lot happier.

  • Kathy Cox - Look: B, Content: B-. If Ms. Cox weren't the incumbent, this web site wouldn't help her much. The look is not great, and her “news” section is actually older than Denise's. For fun and profit, you might want to scour the site looking for typos and misspellings – I'll pay $5 to anyone who finds one of either.
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posted by Ataru Atlanta at 10/16/2006 12:03:00 AM


Anonymous shelby said...

In Karen Handel's world, it is apparently the year 106.

Not a huge fan of the floating menu items on Jim's site.

10/16/2006 01:44:00 PM  

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