Ok, so Obama took the first round by limiting the primary colors on his site to three and making sure to keep the focus of his audience on the most important part of his website: the content!

Now it is on to Round two: Links and Key info Above the Fold!

Besides providing a summary of what the Website is all about, a Wesbite’s homepage is meant to be a roadmap for the other parts of the site. In a matter of seconds, a user should be able to know what the site is about and how to get to the specific place they are looking to go.

No matter how big your computer screen is, most everyone will need to scroll down to see the entire hompage of most Websites. You can’t really avoid putting some content on your homepage that a person has to scroll to find. So when I evaluate a site, I look to see if the most important information is “above the fold,” or high enough on the page so the user does not have to scroll to find it. This information usually consists of the links to the other pages on the site, the phone number, physical address (if it’s a brick and mortar store) or a “contact us” button.

On Obama’s site, he has navigation links above the fold as well as his “donation” button and opt-in button. To clarify, an opt-in is where you as the user can type in your name and email and then the site owner can stay in touch with you. That’s a very important item to have above the fold.

Below the fold, Obama has news about his campaign, where you can find local events and how to purchase Obama merchandise.

On my screen (which is an average size of 15.4 inch screen), Obama’s inspirational video is below the fold. Now only he can answer how critical that is to his site, but if I were in charge of his site, I might find a way to get that closer to the top.

On McCain’s site, he has all of his navigation links above the fold and has seven ways you can contribute to helping make McCain the next US President. He, of course, also has his “donation” button above the fold as well.

McCain also has his news from the campaign trail below the fold as well as some pictures of him, his family and his supporters. The biggest difference between Obama and McCain’s site is Obama has much more information below the fold where McCain has much less.

One item McCain has below the fold that I believe should be moved up is the search box. This is where you can type a keyword in and the site will help you find that particular content from within the site. This is a great navigating tool and should be easy to find. It’s tucked way down at the bottom.

So who wins? Well, they both have done a great job of getting their key info and important navigation links above the fold. And I must give McCain added credit for clearly providing multiple ways for the user to get involved. At the end of the day, I imagine that’s the most important outcome they are looking for. To get readers to get involved and bring more people to their sites, and ultimately to the poles.

So by the narrowest of margins, Links and info above the fold goes to McCain.

Stay tuned for Round 3: Link Clarity!

thanks for reading,

Corey Perlman
Reserve your copy of eBoot Camp the book – due out in early 2009!