With the Ottawa municipal election around the corner, I’ve been evaluating the candidates for mayor and city council who are online. I’ve already published a number of posts about the candidates in different parts of the city. This time, it’s the wards in the western part of the city: Barrhaven (ward 3), Kanata North (ward 4), Stittsville (ward 6), Bay (ward 7), College (ward 8), Knoxdale-Merivale (ward 9), and Kanata South (ward 23).
Having already written and published four of these posts, I will do my best to avoid repeating myself. I’ve already talked about contact information, inactive social media, and how to use Facebook and Twitter effectively. What I haven’t really touched on so far, though, are websites. Here are a few pointers.
1. First and foremost, your website should be easy to navigate. Visitors shouldn’t have to dig through endless menus and pages in order to find the information they’re looking for. Similarly, returning visitors shouldn’t have any trouble retracing their steps and remembering where to find information. Make sure you have menus that are easy to navigate. If at all possible, avoid having too many submenus because that’s when things start to get confusing.
2. Avoid clutter. This also plays into making information easy to find. If there’s too much happening on any given page of your website, people will likely find it difficult to find what they are looking for. Personally, and I’m sure I’m not the only one, I can easily get overwhelmed when I get to a website and there’s to much happening all at once. This also goes for having videos or audio-clips set to play automatically. More often than not, these tend to annoy visitors, especially if there’s no way to make them stop. Try, as much as possible, to keep the pages on your site clean. This is especially true when it comes to your home page. It is, after all, the what will influence visitors’ first impression of you and your website.
Only the candidates who had an online presence were evaluated. Using the criteria below, here is how I graded each of them.
- Is complete information available?
- Are links to social media profiles available and working?
- Is information easy to find?
- Is the candidate’s Twitter biography complete (including photo) and is there a link to the campaign website?
- Do they tweet regularly and engage with potential voters?
- Do they have a Facebook fan page or a profile?
- If they only have a personal profile, are their security settings such that any visitor can see the posts without being a Facebook friend of the candidate?
- Does the candidate post a variety of content?
- Ward 3: Barrhaven
- Ward 4: Kanata North
- Ward 6: Stittsville
- Ward 7: Bay
- Ward 8: College
- Ward 9: Knoxdale – Merivale
- Ward 23: Kanata South
|Mark Taylor||7||A+||A||A-||A||Flickr, Google+, LinkedIn, Tumblr, YouTube|
|Bruce Anthony Faulkner||23||D-||—||D-||D-||—|
Featured photo: Ottawa Canada September 2010 — Ottawa City Hall/ Hôtel de Ville d’Ottawa 10 uploaded to Flickr by Douglas Sprott