Forum

Changes to President’s website result in new, sleek look

Just as President Obama was being sworn in on Jan. 20, another change was occurring, unbeknownst to the millions standing outside the Capitol that cold afternoon. The online presence of the new administration, whitehouse.gov, was being updated to its current status, a stylish new page that, through a thoughtful design and user-centered layout, emulates the style of Obama’s campaign in its promises to ensure governmental transparency and citizen involvement.

Visitors to the site first encountered the smiling face of President Obama that, when clicked on, linked to the White House Blog — a surprising addition to a resource historically behind the times. With its clean lines and intuitive interface, the new whitehouse.gov appears to be a clear improvement to its predecessor.

Upon closer examination into the inner workings of the site, it is apparent that developers have implemented new technologies wisely when they put together this online resource. Another addition is the use of multiple forms of media to translate the site’s content to the American people. Visitors to the site can view content in the form of video addresses from the president, footage from recent events, and photos from White House photographers.

One change that may not be as welcome as the nice new look, however, is the fact that the majority of content from the old site is missing, seemingly gone forever. After browsing a bit though, you do find that the old site is in fact not lost; each version of the website from past administrations is archived on its respective library’s website. While the past administration’s sites are still accessible, the fact that they are so difficult to find and not reachable by searching the site creates a large disconnect between the presidencies that seems rather unnecessary. The changes in the site also result in the loss of some of the good parts of the old site, such as the discontinuation of the White House kids page, as well as some legacy links that still reside in Google searches and result in missing pages. Overall, however, the site’s update has experienced a mostly positive reception.

As a tech-savvy generation at an especially tech-savvy university, we are happy to see the administration embrace this new and powerful format for interfacing with the American public. We hope the president and his staff will actually consider and implement the input and content generated by visitors.