Comprehensive, high-quality coverage. The lean, modern design and the simple user interface helped users compare their candidate’s view on specific issues.
The Council on Foreign Relations set out to achieve two main objectives with this special project. The first was to provide high-quality, nonpartisan coverage of the foreign-policy aspects of the U.S. presidential campaigns. We have focused on tracking and summarizing the candidates’ positions on the major foreign-policy issues of the day.
Our microsite has covered thirteen presidential candidates (Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee, John Kasich, Martin O’Malley, Marco Rubio, Bernie Sanders, and Donald Trump) across eleven issues (China, Cuba, defense, energy and climate change, immigration, Iran, the Islamic State, national security, North Korea, Russia, and trade). A companion series of animated video explainers offers insights into the challenges the next president will face on some of these issues. In all, the project comes to about thirty thousand words, and it will continue to be updated until election day.
The second objective was to create an engaging user experience. This meant creating a mobile-optimized interactive that allows users to navigate seamlessly by candidate and issue, as well as to compare the candidates’ views of the issues. It encourages users to explore the breadth of content on the microsite, as well as discover related materials across CFR’s website.
We began the design process in the summer of 2015 and launched an initial version of the site in December. A second iteration, launched in January 2016, included the comparison tool. After the party conventions in July, we plan to reskin the homepage to focus on the two tickets, including the vice-presidential candidates. After election day, we plan to optimize the site for use by students and educators.
We are encouraged by the results so far, and feel we have achieved both of our primary objectives. The microsite has attracted more than six hundred thousand page views, with an average user viewing more than four pages per visit. The video explainers have been watched more than a hundred thousand times on Facebook and Twitter. More broadly, many of the people involved with the project say it was an excellent learning experience for the organization, particularly as the Council looks to improve user experience across the CFR website.