This post may have taken years off of my life. Picture me as Russel Crowe in A Beautiful Mind, but instead of a window and math (?) equations, I’m frantically clicking back and forth between browser tabs, checking sites on my phone, hectically writing down over 1,000 words in notes.  

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To protect my sanity, I decided to cut down the field third-round-debate-style by only including candidates that have received contributions from at least 130,000 individuals, coming from at least 400 unique donors in 20 or more states and that have reached 2% in at least four DNC-approved polls.  The field of 20+ (it’s hard to keep track these days), has been whittled down to 10.

Before jumping into the ranking, let’s first breakdown a few elements that make for a good website:

  • Information is clear and concise. As the visitor arrives to the website, they are told its purpose (in this case, I want to be president).
  • The site is visually appealing. Branding is consistent throughout the site.
  • The site is user-friendly, accessible to everyone, and has clear navigation to prevent users from getting lost.
  • The site is responsive. It’s 2019, up to 70% of web traffic happens on mobile devices.

This ranking is purely based on the websites of the candidates and does not at all reflect any political bias. For each site, I will “Vote For” the positive aspects of it and “Vote Against” anything the candidate should fix.  

Below are the first five democratic nominee’s websites from worst to best. 

Beto O’Rouke

Someone had to be last.

Vote For: The unique illustrations on the Meet Beto page. While I don’t think they are being utilized to their fullest and are aesthetically different from the rest of the site, these illustrations make Beto standout of the crowd.

Additionally, A major plus for Beto, and all of the websites mentioned in this blog, is that they have a Spanish translation option. Making your website accessible is essential to all candidates running for President.

Vote Against: The homepage “Plans” section. It involves SO.MANY.TABS. It’s tabs on tabs on tabs. This section does not translate well on mobile, is overwhelming, and is unengaging for anyone visiting the site.

The Beto website also needs links to social profiles- this is a great way to gain more followers and drum up support.

Bernie Sanders

Vote For: The video header as users arrive to the site.

Vote Against: the small amount of content on the homepage. When I first arrived, I thought, “nice header video.” Then I tried to scroll down and there was nothing else there… No declaration of why Sander’s is running for president. No touting his YEARS of experience (yes that’s a *because he’s old* joke).

This site needs more of Bernie’s personality to help set the narrative for his campaign. The bottom of the page says “Paid For by Bernie 2020 (not the billionaires)”, which is a great example of Sanders’ personality. I’d advise them to make an About Bernie page and include some of that fun wit.

Julian Castro –

Vote For: Castro setting the narrative of his campaign on his homepage. He tells users why he’s running for president. Specific issue pages are cleanly laid out following the rules of visual hierarchy.

Vote Against: Times New Roman font.  

Another problem on the site pertains to what appears to be a video on the homepage. I must have clicked the play button at least ten times before realizing that this was simply an image and not a link to a video.

Andrew Yang –

Vote For: The first site on this list that has links to working social media accounts. Rejoice! Overall this site is clean, has a simple layout, and an engaging opening image. The site has a chatbot function that directs users to information that is important to them. Of all of the candidate’s websites, this was the only one to have this function.

Vote Against: The layout of the interior pages. They have graphical elements, but still need some format clean up.

Visuals on this site are also inconsistent. They go from colored images, to cartoon animations, to black and white photos, to blurry cut outs. They should instead focus on one or two of these stylings to make the website fit cohesively together.

Amy Klobuchar

Vote for: The scroll animation for the ‘Our Campaign’ section of the homepage. This section clearly sets the narrative of why Klobuchar is running for president. This information should be on every candidate’s homepage.

It also makes me happy that she uses bolded words, colored hyperlinks, and bulleted lists to break up the text on her issues pages.

Vote Against: The opening image of the site. It’s a bit…unnerving. We had a staring contest, I lost.

The opening image sets the tone of the site and in this case, the presidential candidate. The photo should show the candidate addressing the public or working.

Curious about who made the top five? Tune in next week for Part 2 of the Democratic nominees and their websites.

Rebecca McTear