Thursday, August 10, 2006

Best Candidate Website in Maryland?

Heather Mizeur has the best candidate website in the state of Maryland, according to Maryland Politics Watch. She's running for Delegate in District 20. Honestly, I hadn't looked at it until today (not my district you know), but I have to agree that it's pretty darn good. I love the music on the main page and the seamless integration of the video clips. Navigation is simple, and so on and so on. It certainly puts my HTML skills to shame.

Another who's in the running for best site has got to be Tom Perez, who's running for Attorney General. Aside from just the pure aesthetics of the site and the integration of video (which are similar to Mizeur's) Perez makes further use of the latest technology by including a blog (always a plus in my book), reaching out to bloggers with code snippets for online buttons and banners, and even offering campaign updates via SMS text message. Very impressive, and indicative of what I have heard is a very well organized campaign.

Interestingly, both Mizeur's and Perez's websites were designed by Portfolio Productions. Hmmm... maybe next time I've mucked up my template and style sheet, I should give them a call and have them do a redesign of the Yak? Nah, I suspect I couldn't afford them, but they certainly do fine work.

So, any other nominations for best candidate website?

Crossposted on Political Yak.
Tags: Heather Mizeur; Tom Perez; website design


Blogger michael vaughan said...

Thanks for the kind comments about the website and the feedback about using Flash. I designed the two sites, with my friend Bill Dietrich, not so much to use the eye candy elements of using Flash but to see if a rich media environment would work for a political campaign. We argued that the website is the front window of the campaign so let's put as much of the heart and soul of the candidate up there as possible.
There is a trade off, I would argue a small one, between those people who don't have or won't use Flash and others who get a chance to see the candidates articulate their position in their own words using high quality video.
Heather's site is a series of mini portraits that introduce a new and, I think, very exciting young candidate to an electorate that has not seen or heard her before. All of her takes are straight to camera without use of teleprompter. We shot it in the front room of her house in Takoma Park using a portable greenscreen. She comes through the camera as exactly who she is, smart,straight forward, honest and very competent. You can't get that across in a block of text. Similarly, with Tom Perez, although we used less video, Tom is on the front page when you first visit the site telling you what kind of an Attorney General he will be, in his own voice and with the obvious passion the man brings to the campaign. In a state wide campaign Tom is not able to get to every door. Broadcast media is expensive and the web offers many people the only chance to hear Tom in his own voice. I use Flash because it is an elegant communication tool and is easily the best choice for loading and playing high quality video and motion graphics. So for me, the trade off and choice , was do we create a website like everybody elses or do we try to build something that adds value to the candidates message by showing the person behind the message. We think it was worth it.
I predict that you will see many more sites using this technology in the next cycle. Thanks again for noticing the site. It was, I hope, a proof of concept for those willing to take a small risk. It did achieve one of our goals. It got noticed and people visit the websites a lot!
Michael Vaughan
Portfolio Productions

8/11/2006 01:46:00 PM  
Blogger Maryam Balbed said...

I don't come close to having the skill that Michael has, but there's been a whole lot of good feedback on three sites I designed:

Valerie Ervin for County Council, District 5

Jane Lawton for House of Delegates, District 18

Shirley Brandman for Board of Education, At-Large

8/15/2006 07:22:00 PM  

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