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One of the benefits of participating in the WebAward competition is feedback from our judges. Below are public comments made regarding the Romney vs Obama Website Challenge where 61 WebAward judges reviewed the websites of the two presidential candidates, Mitt Romney and Barack Obama.
Here are the comments. Attribution is given when judge provided name.

While I overwhelmingly favor President Obama's web site based on the above criteria, the most glaring departure for me is the negativity represented on the President's web site vs. Candidate Romney's, which is a potential turn off for undecided voters. BO.com offers a much more pleasing and modern design; however, MR.com has some content elements, such as the one-pager, that make getting to the issues more effective.

Creatively, I think both sites are very similar. To me, Governor Romney's site seems to be structured more like a professional (business) site with most of the content falling under specific menu items. President Obama's site seems to be laid out more like a personal site (blog) as there are may "post" type additions (comments/videos/etc.) directly on his main page. Personally, I find Governor Romney's site easier to navigate and-for me--more appealing. President Obama's site has a lot going on where one can spend several minutes scrolling through the main page. I'm sure President Obama's site is considered much more favorable by his supporters and those with adequate time on their hands to scroll down through post after post. I suspect many of the surveys you get back will be positive/negative right along party lines.
Brian K. St.Ours
President – eWareness
Founder - VeteranOwnedBusiness.com

Obama's website is with better use of communication type of user interface and marketing, making it more friendly and attractive; Romney's website is so conservatively designed...

BarackObama.com's design has embraced the generation now. The site is a direct reflection of the way people are consuming digital and social media news. MittRomney.com's one seems to be stuck in time with a retro look I can't help but feel is out of place and old fashioned. Are both a direct reflection of their voters? America, where are you heading?
Thierry Halbroth
Executive Creative Director
McCann

I am not a fan of Obama. But I must say that his marketing and design team has done a great job on the web.

Both of these sites are politically very effective and cutting edge. I do not like the aspect of scrolling down a page as in Obama site. Users will not do this. Romney site cleaner and easier to identify content locations.
Alan J. Potasnik
Senior Partner
The Point Betsie Internetwork

This websites comparison shows Obama is a greater endorser of technology -which is one of the things that makes this country be where we are worldwide. Having a website that looks dated almost shows you don't care so much about the present or the future in terms of technology and where we are standing, as well as a lack of detail and dedication in what you do.
Solana Crawford

Both are hard to use but Barack Obama's puts too many roadblocks in my way. I reluctantly voted for Romney's as the better site.
Burkey Belser
Greenfield/Belser Ltd.

Overall I like the Barack Obama website better because it is better layed out and not as busy as the Mitt Romney web site. I do like the web site navigation on the Mitt Romney web site more than the Barrack Obama web site.
Hieroweb Interactive

Both sites offered more information links. Obama's featured information on voter registration and polling locations, issues and offered a side column about comparing the candidates. Romney's featured information about him, and reasons why you shouldn't pick Obama. This leaves visitors with a feeling that Obama cares more about the issues and your right to vote than Romney.

The difference in the two sites was easily noticeable. Romney's site was positive and upbeat and talked about his plans for the future. Obama's site spent at least half of the available real estate simply attacking Romney on minute details rather than giving voters an overview of HIS plan and a positive message for the future of our country.

The Obama site navigation disappears on most all sub-pages. Romney's always stays anchored at top, much more conventional usability.

When I looked at the sites side by side they were remarkably similar in design. Use of the same updated tones of red, white and blue , a photographic style with transparent type boxes on top, font size and use of the same rollover map of the USA to find out where you can participate locally. The use of technology had grown immensely since the last campaign and both websites avail themselves of interactive features. Obama's landing page asks up front for a donation and he has a large request to share on Facebook. The most surprising feature to me is Romney's shop where he sells everything from buttons to "Nobama" bumper stickers. For a limited time only, and I'm wondering if this is until the election, shipping is free. At the shopping cart, one can add in a donation as well.
Meg Levine
Meg Levine Design

The Mitt Romney site had a poor experience on the initial landing page. The user might be confused on how to click into the main site. The Barack Obama site did a better job of this by using the wording "continue to main site."

I am surprised at the lackluster state of the President's website. His team should take a good look at the Romney site and figure it out.


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