The Obama campaign is currently looking for "exceptionally talented web developers" to take their web presence to the next level. The job requirements show that we can expect some rapid innovation in using the Web to win an election:
"This six-month opportunity will allow you to:
- Create software tools which will enable an unprecedented nationwide voter contact and mobilization effort
- Help build and run the largest online, grassroots fundraising operation in the history of American politics
- Introduce cutting-edge social networking and online organizing to the democratic process by empowering everyday people to participate on My.BarackObama"
Meanwhile John McCain's campaign has beefed up its own web presence. The Huffington Post recently reported that McCain's new website is now very similar to Obama's. The HuffPost's Sam Stein noted McCain's new "Obama-like slogan, and an image that seems uncannily similar to Obama's trademark campaign logo".
The Vanity Fair blog did a good analysis of the two websites. According to web entrepreneur and design expert Doug Jaeger, Obama has "the best design, in terms of typography, color, and website architecture." He also notes that "Obama has by far the most links under what he calls "Obama Everywhere." Links to Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, Blackplanet, FaithBase, Digg, Twitter--he's doing it all. He's more Web 2.0 than some of the people I hang out with."
I agree that Obama's website is a tour de force of web magic, with seemingly every social networking base covered. I was also impressed at how the first page you're confronted with on Obama's site is a donation form! It's not done in an 'in your face' style either, there is a 'skip this page' link very clearly marked at the top of the page if you don't wish to donate.
McCain's new site is impressive too. Donations, calls to get involved, and social networking are features to the fore, and overall it is a clean and usable design. It does indeed seem to take inspiration from Obama's site, down to the "A leader we can believe in" motto!
In truth, both are great websites and packed full of useful features and excellent integration with 'real world' efforts - such as getting donations and spreading the word about their respective candidates.
Further ReadWriteWeb coverage of the US election relating to web tech: