2012 Presidential Candidates Fail Mobile Tests

Mobile Campaign Sites Fall ShortIt’s no secret that young voters helped President Obama get to office during the 2008 elections – so it would make sense that the 2012 presidential hopefuls would be doing their best to woo those younger constituents. The most logical way to do this would be through technology – what with the Twitter and the Facebooking and the fact that at least 52% of adults age 18-29 own a smartphone (according to a Pew report in June 2011). But as it turns out, not a single candidate has a decent mobile site. From PCWorld:

Despite pronouncements that they are pro-technology, all of the U.S. presidential candidates have made fairly feeble attempts at building mobile campaign websites.

“It’s appalling how poorly their mobile websites work,” said Joshua Bixby, who has analyzed desktop and mobile websites of the Republican frontrunners and President Obama. Bixby is president of Strangeloop, a Canadian Web software company that has no connection to any of the campaigns.

In a blog post in which he shared his most recent findings about candidates’ websites, Bixby says he encountered slow site load times — some took several minutes on smartphones — and basic functionality problems. Computerworld performed several of the same informal tests as Bixby did, and in some cases found even poorer performance than he did. …

“None of the candidates’ sites rose to the challenge of designing for mobile devices,” Bixby wrote in his blog. One key ingredient of a good mobile website is that it should offer the ability to link to the full desktop site, not just provide a view of a stripped-down mobile version, Bixby added in an interview. He said surveys have shown that at least one-third of mobile users strongly favor access to a full site from a mobile device. …

Bixby also found that the candidates’ websites loaded more slowly on desktop computers than many commercial websites did. But the load times on mobile devices were even slower, sometimes several minutes, he found.

Over a Wi-Fi connection, an iPhone loaded all of the candidates’ sites in 10 to 20 seconds, according to Bixby. And he said that load times “ranged from slow to unbearable” on an Android phone connected to a Rogers 3G network in Canada. He noted that Romney’s site loaded in 21 seconds on an Android phone via a 3G network, but the home screen failed to size properly in the browser, cutting off the candidate’s name at “Romn.” Bixby said it took several minutes to load the other candidates’ sites on Android devices with 3G connections.

However, in Computerworld tests using an iPhone over a Verizon Wireless 3G network in Virginia, both Obama’s and Romney’s sites consistently loaded in less than three seconds. …

Bixby joined a number of independent analysts in urging the candidates to devote more of their campaign war chests to their mobile websites, given the explosive growth in mobile devices and the level of social interaction they support.

“Given the millions of dollars being spent on campaigns, mobile should be a higher priority,” Bixby said.

Read about all of Bixby’s and ComputerWorld’s findings at PCWorld >>>


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