The navigation on the site is fairly similar to the website of Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.). The automatic video clips were inspired by the website of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). A ticker on the site that shows small-dollar donations came from a similar element of former New York mayor Mike Bloomberg’s campaign site. From the website of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), the team adopted a feature that allows supporters to buy merchandise directly from the home page.
Biden campaign officials said they wanted to use the best ideas from all their competitors, a show of digital unity they say echoes the core message of their campaign, that Biden is uniquely able to bridge divides.
“For us, it’s been about — big and small — how do we make people feel welcome?” said Rob Flaherty, Biden’s digital director.
Much of Biden’s presidential campaign is being conducted digitally this year because of the pandemic, making the look and feel of his website more significant. Biden frequently touts how millions of voters are seeing him online, a type of outreach that has nearly completely replaced any traditional campaigning.
And because he essentially sewed up the nomination in early April, a key goal for Biden’s campaign is to bring together the various Democratic factions that fought during the primary.
The Biden campaign has followed a similar template in other areas: He has welcomed his former rivals into his campaign as surrogates and headliners at fundraisers.
But the campaign also acknowledged that part of the reason elements of the site are familiar is because they’ve hired digital staffers from former campaigns, which influenced their thinking.
“One of the things that I noticed in a lot of our research was that a lot of campaigns had done incredible work, and it just felt like a thing that we shouldn’t scrap,” said Robyn Kanner, a senior creative adviser with the Biden campaign.
“I can’t tell you how many times someone joined [the campaign] and we would just ping them and just be like, ‘This is great, how’d you’ll do that?’ ” Kanner said. “We get to sit with them and talk with them about how and why they made decisions.”
Some of the influences are harder to detect; the size of the border space around the top of the website, known as the “padding,” comes directly from former congressman Beto O’Rourke’s website.
Perhaps one of the most noteworthy changes will be how Biden’s live-streamed appearances are shown.
The website’s previous iteration required users to go to a dedicated “live” page and hit refresh (multiple times on occasion) to watch Biden’s virtual roundtables and conversations.
Now the live appearances will be pushed more aggressively to users via a form at the top of the site that will drop down when Biden is making an address.
The team declined to preview one page that will eventually be part of the new site, and it’s not expected to be live Wednesday: the section introducing his vice-presidential pick.