Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Nielsen Wades Into Presidential Emails

Proving that no one can resist commenting on the American Presidential Election, Jakob Nielsen has waded into the debate by analysing the usability of the Bush and Kerry email newsletters.

Overall he rates them as equally bad in terms of their usability (as he puts it they are both “stuck in last century's understanding of media”), but interestingly enough finds that:
Even though the overall ratings are very close, there are interesting differences in the details: each campaign does well in some areas that are problematic for its opponent.

To me the most amazing point he makes is that the newsletters frequently change the FROM address, the Republicans most frequently, so that sometimes it is from Arnold Schwarzenegger (Termie!), and other times from Ed Gillespie (who?). Whilst that may help avoid spam filters that have been set to ignore one of the emails, it really doesn't help people make good use of the emails (like auto-forwarding it to a Politics folder for later perusal, rather than being forced to deal with it there and then).

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