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Question of the day

Friday, Feb 16, 2007

The House Republicans have a new website. One of the guys asked me what I thought of it yesterday, but I figured why not have readers here weigh in?

They’ve also got a blog and a page called 102 Ideas, which encourages people from “all 102 counties” to send in their “new, innovative ideas.”

IlliniPundit has already weighed in with his thoughts, some of which were postive, others not so, including the lack of an RSS feed. Still, he offered this praise:

It’s not a perfect effort, but it’s more engaging of the online community and more solicitous of input than either of the other legislative caucuses, and probably the most ambitious effort ever attempted in Illinois State Politics, where lack of information, lack of access and lack of public input is the standard operating procedure (Rep. Fritchey is a notable exception.). Hopefully the House GOPs will open it up even more, and the others will follow their lead.

By the way, it looks like Tom Cross won’t be cooperating much with Gov. Blagojevich in the coming months. A page on the new site is called Rod’s Rubberstamp Award.

Each month, the ILHRO website will announce a new winner of the “Rod’s Rubberstamp Award” for a person who has demonstrated a commitment to advancing the principles espoused by Governor Blagojevich.

Anyway, go check it out and then post your thoughts below.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - PeoriaPal - Friday, Feb 16, 07 @ 9:54 am:

    Its dreamy, but
    Idea #1 — TC&the need much, much more Aaron news.

  2. - Dieter - Friday, Feb 16, 07 @ 10:03 am:

    The staff photos tell a good story. Notice how a few of them are taken at Cubs games? Maybe if they spent less time at Wrigley, and more time on candidate recruitment and field work, they would have been able to defend some the incumbent seats they lost last cycle.

    Heck, maybe they’d be able to pick up some seats!

  3. - VanillaMan - Friday, Feb 16, 07 @ 10:31 am:

    If this was 1997, I’d be impressed. But the folks who designed this website seem to have no clue how to present information online in 2007.

    First mistake - too graphically intensive. The graphics are too large, too varying in type and have little to say. I had problems loading all of them, and they even failed to load when I returned to the same web page. This means to me that there are too many graphics, or that the graphics are too large. The first impression I had was that they had no content to fill the site, so had to make EVERYTHING BIG with LOTS OF PRETTY PICTURES. If this came in my mailbox, I wouldn’t look at it. Which is my next point -

    It looks like it was designed by people who design brochures, not websites. I can easily see this as a glossy brochure. The problem with brochures is that they are not interactive. Does the IHRO want an interactive site? If they do, they are not presenting a site that looks interactive.

    The banner is too large. The menu is not descriptive enough. There should not be more than one horizontal line in the menu. The differences in font suck. Some descriptive fonts are too small, and some with have nothing to contribute are too large. Seriously, someone needs to talk to the graphic artists about the purpose of web sites.

    A great web site respects the reader by presenting the information professionally. I don’t see that here. I see a jumble of fonts, artsy-fartsy clip art, happy peppy borders and empty eye candy. Just look at the photos: one is a color photo of Cross, another is a b/w of Mitchell, then in the right menu, (right menu’s always blow if you have a left menu too), you have teeny-weeny useless photos no one can recognize.

    You know you have a problem when one of your menus are longer than the web page itself. Whoever categorized the subject on this web page couldn’t figure out how to present “right menu” items so that some of them can cross over into the center of the web page - squaring the web page presentation. Perhaps that is because whoever designed the web page is so graphically oriented, there just wasn’t enough LARGE graphic presentations for the center.

    If you are visually impaired, could you read this site with a reader? If you strip away all the frosting from this website, will you find an excellent cake? When a web site is designed so that it makes an excellent presentation without it’s graphics, then you know you have a great website.

    I don’t see that here.

  4. - whatever - Friday, Feb 16, 07 @ 10:53 am:

    I liked the “ideas” thing better before they stole it from the Florida Republicans, without giving credit.

    Cross even “borrowed” the same no-space wording format used by Florida. Who shamelessly steals an idea from someone else with no attribution? Tom Cross that’s who. What an embarrassment.

  5. - Robbie - Friday, Feb 16, 07 @ 11:00 am:

    Its still so much better than Can I nominate that for worst political website ever?

    I agree with VM. The site si not the best designed. It is kinda cheesy. Looks like lots of different ideas were just thrown together. But too many people don’t put thought into web design. Also, why use blogspot for their blog? When will people realize that the few minutes it takes to set up your own blog in wordpress or another package makes blog management so much easier. If I see a candidate or group that uses blogspot I immediately lose respect for them.

  6. - Bubs - Friday, Feb 16, 07 @ 11:18 am:

    They deserve congratulations for even coming up with a website.

    The request for “102 Ideas” sticks in my mind, in conjunction with John Tsarpalas’ recent resignation as ED of the Illinois GOP to join yet another brand new GOP “activist” group in Illinois. It all does not make sense.

    There are GOP “activist” groups, “foundations” and “think tanks” popping up like mushrooms across this state, each dedicated to [choose one]: (a) limited government; (b) free enterprise; (c) liberty; (d) family values. All seek to “take back the government”, by “networking” and “building the grassroots.”

    The problem is that “All of the above” is what the Illinois GOP and the various County organizations are supposed to be doing! The obviously are not. Politics, like nature, abhors a vacuum, and these new groups are the result (with a small dose of the fact that most people like to be the Big Cheese of their own group.)

    It is sad, and troubling, that a good man like John T. is resigning to go to a group that is doing what his old employer ought to be doing.

  7. - Bill - Friday, Feb 16, 07 @ 11:47 am:

    How do you apply for the rubber stamp award?

  8. - Bubs - Friday, Feb 16, 07 @ 12:43 pm:


    First, present your flatline EEG.

  9. - Rich Miller - Friday, Feb 16, 07 @ 1:00 pm:

    I think you have to be a legislator, Bill. But we can nominate you.

  10. - Rich Miller - Friday, Feb 16, 07 @ 1:05 pm:

    OK, Bill, I just nominated you.

  11. - YNM - Friday, Feb 16, 07 @ 1:13 pm:

    Know the best part? The graphics in the middle with round corners were created with an off-white background and never made transparent … so you see the rounded corners and the background - beeee-autiful.

    And the different font size on Organization is classic too …

    Honestly, there’s so much bad about it, I can’t write it all here. Except to say I could have done it better … and will if they’d hire me.

    Who did it? An intern? Staffer? Anyone know?

  12. - Anon - Friday, Feb 16, 07 @ 1:16 pm:

    I’m so much less concerned with the style of the site that the actual content…did any of you even look at that? I like the idea…maybe they’ll have someone submit something good. It’s a start - at least they’re trying.

  13. - Councilman Sinnock Online - Friday, Feb 16, 07 @ 1:52 pm:

    I use blogspot because I’m not a computer geek & found it easy to use. Plus I was copying Rich’s original use of blogger. Please forgive me Robbie!

  14. - the wonderboy - Friday, Feb 16, 07 @ 1:56 pm:

    I think the problem is that in today’s media environment, the content doesn’t matter if the package is ugly. If Cross and the gang want to spend the time and money on presenting their ideas, the package needs to be attractive and inviting to the consumer. Having done a tiny bit of research in message design, I personally think that the group failed in their attempt.

    (I will write that this is sarcasm since so many seem to miss it on these comments) On a lighter note, why not just plaster the site with photos of Aaron Schock. He’s dreamy…and apparently the answer to all of the GOP’s ills. And he’s dreamy.

  15. - Bill - Friday, Feb 16, 07 @ 2:32 pm:

    Thanks! The EEG is in the mail. Wish me luck!

  16. - Bubs - Friday, Feb 16, 07 @ 3:02 pm:

    Good luck! You cetainly are a worthy candidate.

  17. - YNM - Friday, Feb 16, 07 @ 3:23 pm:

    wonderboy … LOL

  18. - Jaded - Friday, Feb 16, 07 @ 3:52 pm:

    Forget the month, Bill’s a lock for the LIFETIME Achievement Rubber Stamp Award. Congrats Bill.

  19. - Trump - Friday, Feb 16, 07 @ 4:00 pm:

    Hey, YNM, why don’t you submit your resume to them along with your critique? I’m sure they would love to hire you.

  20. - the wonderboy - Friday, Feb 16, 07 @ 4:18 pm:


    Was that a dig at YNM? If it was, perhaps you should ask to see his work before you question him. I happen to know his work, but won’t sell him out as it is his choice as to whether he shares such information. Let’s just say that earlier threads on this site recognized his campaign sites as better than the competition…

  21. - Trump - Friday, Feb 16, 07 @ 4:29 pm:

    Yes it was.

    He said he could do better. So….

  22. - The Horse - Friday, Feb 16, 07 @ 4:54 pm:

    the only real reson to go there is to find out where their fundraisers are…. gee I lost my invitation, I wonder where that event is… oh yea.. lets look at the website….


  23. - Tweed - Friday, Feb 16, 07 @ 5:36 pm:

    “We are looking for new, innovative ideas. Failed policies of the past, closed door deal making and legislation from special interest groups have created a culture of cynicism and disengagement,” said Cross. “Illinois will not move forward until government re-engages people in the process. We need real discussion and real debate driven from innovative ideas from real people—from all 102 counties of Illinois.”

    “State Representative Joann Osmond said lawmakers will have access to all the ideas submitted and many may be drafted into legislation. ‘New ideas being generated from families across Illinois could have a profound impact on how we approach lawmaking,’ said Osmond.”

    The website and the lanaguage from Cross and Osmond suggest that:

    1. The House Republicans have not been listening to people before.

    2. The House Republicans do not have any good ideas of their own.

    Perhaps that explains why they are in the minority…

    The website is TEN times better than though. Take that back, 100 times better than At least the Republican website has events listed. I encourage all people to check out the ‘Press Releases’ tab on the website. First there are no press releases (it’s under construction actually), second the picture is 100% hilarious and 100% not Illinois.

  24. - YNM - Friday, Feb 16, 07 @ 11:26 pm:

    Are you asking me why I don’t submit my resume along with my critique? Hmmm …

    Well, for starters, in that line of work you usually begin with a portfolio rather than a resume.

    Secondly, I’ll glady be providing my critique. In fact, I think that’s partly what I was doing here, right?

    I’m not sure where your dig came from? I simply “posted my thoughts” following the topic of Rich’s post (in fact, I posted another comment that seems to have disappeared that answered the question about substance of style and function over form). Not sure what invited the dig from you?

    Finally … why don’t I submit my resume? Well, because I’m not desparate for work. But I always welcome interested potential clients.

    So, Trump, that’s why.

    Now, why the defensive posture? Why the personal shot at me?

  25. - shadow - Monday, Feb 26, 07 @ 9:29 pm:

    102 ideas by the republicans is a farce, I posted 2 suggestions.. and they were not included on the website, i think i stepped on the republicans foot, basically the osland and ITep grant programs, where does it say that Idot needs to be in the bike trail business, thought they were in the road busines.. ahhh can u say pet projects..

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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