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Monday, June 8, 2009

Clay Wins POLITICO's Uncoveted Lead Mouse Award

Posted By on Mon, Jun 8, 2009 at 2:30 PM

It must be said that POLITICO is nowhere near the most cutting-edge and beautiful website on the Internet, even in the political realm. But there are plenty that are uglier, some of which belong to various members of the Congress of our great and glorious nation, which POLITICO has felt moved to honor with its annual Lead Mouse Award.

Among this year's congressional standard-bearers for web ugliness is Representative William Lacy Clay of Missouri's First District.

clay_website_opt.jpg

Says Josh Goldblum of Bluecadet Interactive, a web design firm in Philadelphia and POLITICO's congressional web design consultant of Clay's effort:
This is a table-based layout, which is really old school. If you were looking at this on a device like a BlackBerry, this would be a total jumble and mishmash. You wouldn't be able to navigate it.
Yeah, table-based layouts were cutting-edge back around 1996.

The POLITICO article added that Clay's office did not return calls for comment. The Daily RFT hoped that this was a sign of the congressman's devotion to old-school web design and a total rejection of newfangled time-wasters like Facebook and Twitter.

But this turned out not to be the case.

"I know we need work on our website," Alyson Singfield, a spokeswoman in Clay's St. Louis office, tells Daily RFT today. "We do. I totally agree."

Steve Engelhardt, Clay's communication director, defended the website.

"It's true, it's simple," he tells Daily RFT. "Simple to use and full of good information. There's not a lot of bells and whistles. It's customer-focused for our constituents. You can use it to make an appointment to see the congressman. It's easy to navigate."

That said...

"We're working on a brand-new website that's set to make its debut. It's being done up in DC. Our new website will be innovative, but we hope it will retain the friendliness of the old one."

As the POLITICO article concludes, on a slightly self-congratulatory note:
Members do have a track record of improving their sites over time. POLITICO awarded "lead mouse" awards to some of the worst congressional websites last year, and all of the recipients have since taken turns for the better.

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