Check out my follow up post here highlighting ways you can improve your campaign website’s navigation.
In last week’s edition of my email newsletter, Learn Test Optimize, (sign up here) I shared a link to this post from the Nielsen Norman Group about the negative impact a centered logo has on website navigation.
Towards the bottom of that post were two interesting findings that I think are worth highlighting, particularly in the political space where we tend not to think about user experience (UX) and voters’ expectations as much as we should:
- Usability suffers when a site fails to meet users’ expectations.
- The more severely a design diverges from user expectations, the worse the damage.
What this means for campaigns and their websites
First, you have to think about what users’ expectations are.
- What are other political websites like?
- What do voters want to learn from your site?
- What tasks do they hope to accomplish?
Your campaign’s website isn’t the first candidate website your supporter has visited so they’ve got expectations about what a campaign website should look like and what they want to do there.
Equally as important is to remember that your supporter isn’t just comparing your website to other campaign websites, but the websites they visit every day like Amazon, New York Times, Buzzfeed, and Facebook.
This means they also have the expectation that your website will be as quick and easy to use as these sites.
So let’s look at the website navigation menu, the most obvious place to start when thinking about usability. I analyzed the navigation menus of 50 US Senate candidate websites (both Republican and Democrat) and here’s what I found:
- The average navigation menu had 6.4 choices.
- One website had just 4 choices and one had 10 choices.
- Across the websites, campaigns used 78 different navigation terms.
- 46 of these terms — over half — were unique to a single website.
- The websites used 11 different terms to describe a volunteer page.
Here’s a breakdown of the top 10 most commonly used navigation terms and where they fall in the order of the navigation menu.
But my most important finding of all was the location of the “Donate” or “Contribute” link in the navigation menu:
43 out of 50 of the websites evaluated — that’s 86% — have their donation page linked from the last position of the navigation menu.
That’s a clear expectation for users of political websites to have.
In my next post, I’ll talk about the ways to help improve your campaign website’s usability with the navigation menu.