Obama White House Website Design — the President's Web Site

Update: the new White House Website is launched!

Presidential White House Web Design...Change sure IS a'comin!

The new White House website design: what to expect?

We know who President-Elect Barack Obama’s web designers were: SimpleScott, and later Walker Hamilton too.  My sources tell me (don’t you have sources? 🙂 ) that Scott Thomas and Walker Hamilton are no longer working with the Obama or Change.gov website. Scott Thomas is busy working on an art collective project (VERY cool stuff).

Change.gov web design

The Change.gov site is basically BarackObama.com restyled a bit. The Change.gov site uses many resources from the barackobama.com website, including most of the main CSS file. The Change.gov website was designed by Matt Ipcar. The Change.gov website’s back-end (just like the Obama website) is being handled by Blue State Digital.

What can we learn about the WhiteHouse.gov web design?

If the Change.gov web site is any indication, we can extrapolate the following: Continue reading “Obama White House Website Design — the President's Web Site”

Westside Business Builders chooses Katz Web Design

Westside Business Builders logo

Westside Business Builders is a networking group based in Golden, Colorado. Their website provides general information about the group, and it serves as a member directory. Katz Web Design is a member of the group.

The membership committee asked Katz Web Design to prepare a proposal for the WSBB website, and this Wednesday, the group voted to have KWD redesign the website to improve appearance and functionality.

Continue reading “Westside Business Builders chooses Katz Web Design”

Found: Barack Obama's Web Designer

Update: The New WhiteHouse.gov Website

Update: Who will be the White House web designer?

A lot of people have wanted to know who designed Barack Obama’s website. With good reason: Obama’s website is beautiful. It even conveys Obama’s message of hope in it’s wistful design. Well, here it is:

Barack Obama’s web designer is:

SimpleScott. SimpleScott designed Barack Obama’s website, so here’s to SimpleScott for a gorgeous design.

From Scott Thomas, of SimpleScott:

I am the creative director of New Media for Obama for America. The team consisted of many people in house as well as many volunteers. Project leads were myself and John Slabyk. We are maintaining site and brand in-house. Sol Sender designed the logo before I joined the campaign.

How did I find out SimpleScott was involved? Just check out Obama’s main style sheet. SimpleScott uses CSSEdit, a great program for Mac CSS web design.

The CSS code gives it away:

CSS Version 2: – View the stylesheet


/* CSS
Author: Scott Thomas
Client: Obama for America
Created: 12-15-07
Modified: 12-22-07
*/

CSS Version 3: – View the stylesheet


/* CSS
Author: Scott Thomas
Created: 12-15-07
Author: Walker Hamilton
Modified: 08-10-07
*/

Did you notice there are two authors for Version 3? If you’re like me, you want to know who this Walker Hamilton fella is that is referenced in Version 3 of the CSS.

This is from Walker’s resume at walkerhamilton.com:

I architected and implemented the deployment mechanisms and technologies for the campaign’s various web properties. I implemented various applications to improve some processes, automate others, and facilitate instate/headquarters communications for departments within the campaign. Other duties included general maintenance, day to day content administration, and feature planning and development for the social network tied into the site.

Update: I’ve learned a couple of more people who were involved in the BarackObama.com website:

The Barack Obama logo design is by Sender, LLC

Sender, LLC developed the Obama ’08 logo.

From Brian Drum, of Sender LLC

Sender designed the original mark, but the site is developed and maintained in-house by the campaign’s web team.

Sender was involved *only* with the development of the “sunrise” mark, and had no role whatsoever in the design, development, or maintenance of barackobama.com.

Leave your reactions here

Do you like the design, or not? What aspects work best for you? Drop a line below.

Which design do you like?  I prefer the lighter, more optimistic “Primary Obama” website, not the Obama/Biden serious, solumn “General Election Obama” site. What do you think?

How does a 30% conversion rate sound?

I like to brag every now and then.

Landing page conversionWhen we set out to design a landing page for my Denver client, we had our eyes set on a minimum 2% conversion rate for their pay-per-click campaign. Currently, we’re achieving a 15.94% overall conversion rate. I made some tweaks to the form design last week, and for the past 6 days, the landing page is getting a 30% conversion rate (that’s pretty good :-))

Focusing on the front door.

The reason we’ve been able to get such good results is because we’re focusing on one thing: having people sign up for a form. No longer is the internet about websites. The internet is now about front doors. Showing people exactly what they want to see — and sometimes only what they want to see — is how to improve your conversion rate.

Don’t lock users in and throw away the key.

Amazon’s Cage

Amazon cages me in. If you go to Amazon, place something in your cart, then begin the checkout process, they make it impossible (without clicking the Back button a lot) to return to their store. They throw away any chance of revising your order, adding a product, or just browsing around — they sacrifice user experience for the sake of conversion rates.

Guide users through a funnel, don’t force them

Amazon.com no longer shows you how much shipping will be until you’re at the final checkout page. They used to show you right up front, but now you have to get to the final checkout page to find out shipping costs. Very annoying. Always give users the information they want, even if it means some will choose an option you don’t want them to. Give users a way out.

Landing page design — Activating emotions generates leads

Picture of Do not enter, one way traffic - re: landing pages and funneling users

Adding value to your landing page

Landing page design is focused on having a user perform an action. Every piece of content should revolve around why and how a user should perform that action. Landing pages don’t need to be dull or static, however. I’m going to talk about a simple way I spruced up a career-oriented landing page: a salary calculator.

At CareersWithDish.com, we wanted to entice sales professionals to apply for a job with Dish Network. We featured the standard landing page content, including:

  • 8 compelling reasons to work for Dish
  • Text and images that reinforce the upward income mobility
  • Simple form with basic information fields as the focal point of the page

Let’s give’em something to talk about

Dish Network salary calculator screenshotBullet points, text, images, and a simple form are good enough for a landing page, but we wanted to spruce it up a bit, so we added a calculator that shows possible income with live updating numbers.

What this simple calculator achieves is it activates emotion. It’s the same feeling as when you work for a company and are at the company’s Christmas dinner, wondering if you’ll get a bonus, and for how much…the calculator translates the language of “Total compensation up to $79,040” into “I can do this!”

So what’s the emotional attraction of your landing page? Does it have an interactive element? Even a simple slideshow can be the difference between a lead and a bounce.

Personalities and what motivates them

The calculator will be of interest to sales people; they often care about numbers and the bottom line.

What if you were designing for a baby carriage company

What would interest mothers? Perhaps:

  • Slideshows of babies in the carriages
  • A video of how simple it is to collapse the carriage and put it in the car
  • Swatches of color and pattern choices
  • Diagram of how much storage the carriage has
  • Long term warantees for normal wear and tear

This kind of brainstorming makes the difference between a mediocre landing page and a great one. Let me know what your favorite landing pages are, and why.

For those interested in how the calculator was created, I will write about that soon. It was created using the script.aculo.us slider class. Check out the code at the CareersWithDish.com landing page.

Landing page design – Dish Network

Dish Network Landing Page Screenshot

Katz Web Design has just completed a landing page for Dish Network (a Fortune 300 company) to help them streamline their hiring process.

(By the way, if you’re looking for a sales job near Denver, Colorado [in Littleton], check out Dish. They’ve got great packages for sales representatives.)

The purpose of a landing page (or “Squeeze page,” “Funnel page”, or “Lead capture page”) is to keep the user focused on only what you want them to do. In this case, Dish wanted users to:

  1. Fill out a form to start their job application process
  2. Become informed of the job benefits
  3. Get directions to the application location

The landing page design is done in PHP, allowing for future expandability. This allows the text and images to be swapped out dynamically. The one landing page design can be used for many different job positions and locations, even different languages.

I will be writing articles based on the research and results from the landing page design in the near future, including A/B testing, dynamic content with PHP, Google Analytics & Adwords tracking, and more.

What would you like to know about landing page web design?

Ignite Matchmaking Complete

Ignite Matchmaking is a professional matchmaker in Denver, Colorado. Sheryl Williams, President of Ignite asked Katz Web Design to increase the effectiveness of her website. The Previous Ignite Matchmaking Homepage was not visually interesting, had little information about the matchmaking process, and was not well constructed (using XHTML and CSS).

The new home page has a graphic that outlines the five steps and calls users to action with a simple choice: I am a Man or I am a Woman. The site now has a blog that will entice visitors to stay longer.

New Ignite Matchmaking Home Page