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the new WhiteHouse.gov

 8:57 pm on Jan 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

New president, new website. Major portions of the public website have been "transitioned". Has anyone had a chance to, err, peek under the hood? I'm eager to see how the new staff do things differently ... site structure, how they redirect things, and the like. I'm also curious about how things are archived, and (when inconvenient) removed / hidden.

I suppose time will tell. Any first impressions?



 9:33 pm on Jan 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

One significant addition to WhiteHouse.gov reflects a campaign promise from the President: we will publish all non-emergency legislation to the website for five days, and allow the public to review and comment before the President signs it.

Does that mean they'll be enabling blog comments in the future? ;)


 10:07 pm on Jan 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

Any first impressions?

Yes sir!

This document was successfully checked as XHTML 1.0 Transitional!

I wonder who the Webmaster is for that site. Nice!

They still have sporadic errors throughout but for the most part 90% of the site validates.

From a visual standpoint, very nice. I would have made The White House Emblem a little bigger but overall, it "feels" nice. Definitely Obamatized. :)

I wonder how many automated link requests that site gets?


 4:15 am on Jan 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

I'm basically loving the new design - good information architecture decisions and a healthy limit to the number of main menu choices. However, I don't appreciate hover menus - and in this case the double submenu columns that appear when you hover are a bit painful, visually dissociating the submenu choices from their header category.

But the navigational choices are also viewable "all at the same time" from the bottom of the page, so I do appreciate that bit of thoughtfulness and usability. With this level of diverse content to organize, I'd hate to keep moving my mouse back and forth to figure out where to go.


 4:08 pm on Jan 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

I'm very impressed with the new site. Especially how fast it was implemented.


 4:20 pm on Jan 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

I guess they had some initial challenges to contend with and of course the media picked up on that...

Obama's Whitehouse.gov launches, with problems
2009-01-20 - [news.cnet.com...]

Because the presidential Web site launched under Bill Clinton's tenure, this is only the second time that Whitehouse.gov has changed hands.

Okay, should it be [WhiteHouse.gov...] or [Whitehouse.gov...]

There are many here who know how "particular" I am when it comes to PascalCasing. So which is it?

And, thou shall never forget that it is WebmasterWorld.com and not anything else. ;)

< Yikes! I hit the 11k mark and didn't even know it. Woohoo!

Oh, I just realized, that is a .NET site too. It looks like they've eliminated all extensions although they did miss one /default.aspx in the mix. I'm not real fond of the long underscored file naming conventions but it appears they followed the standard dmoz URI structure in that area.


 5:26 pm on Jan 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

It looks pretty good. Considering how important the web was to his campaign, I hope the website really is used in a good way to communicate and get feedback. I can't imagine trying to read or filter the feedback into anything useful however, thinking about how many stupid comments the average political post or article gets these days.


 5:42 pm on Jan 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

Given the huge budget deficit, you'd think they would have left some room to slap on some AdSense. :)

Receptional Andy

 5:58 pm on Jan 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

Looks like a pretty good job, albeit with a few gripes e.g. H1's aplenty, some dodgy colour contrast and one of my pet hates - using javascript to hide content which is of no use to people with javascript disabled ("you are now existing the white house web server"). Also seems to be an unintentional archive at [z22.whitehouse.gov...] ;)


 4:12 am on Jan 22, 2009 (gmt 0)

In a bit of a side note - the hover menu apparently fails in a recent beta of IE8 but the IE team says the fault was theirs and it's been fixed: [blogs.msdn.com...]


 12:10 pm on Jan 22, 2009 (gmt 0)


Who said MS doesn't have a sense of humour?

</off topic>

[edited by: phranque at 12:17 pm (utc) on Jan. 22, 2009]
[edit reason] delink nonlink [/edit]


 12:15 pm on Jan 22, 2009 (gmt 0)

And did you check the robots.txt ! Everybody is speaking about this.

Previous robots.txt was over 100 lines long (http://z22.whitehouse.gov/robots.txt).

Now it is just two lines :)
User-agent: *
Disallow: /includes/


 3:35 pm on Jan 22, 2009 (gmt 0)

And did you check the robots.txt ! Everybody is speaking about this.

And, like has been said elsewhere, this is basically a non-story. A robots.txt file for a 2-day-old website is naturally going to be much smaller than one for a 8-year-old website.
Given the huge budget deficit, you'd think they would have left some room to slap on some AdSense.

Too funny!
Okay, should it be WhiteHouse.gov or Whitehouse.gov

You're not alone; I wondered the same thing. I went with the latter ... perhaps because my first language was Pascal.

I ran Xenu's Link Sleuth on the site yesterday (side-note: I wonder if they'll make doing that illegal someday?), and must say I was surprised with the results.
All pages, by result type:
457 URLs --> ok (64.64%)
2 URLs --> no info to return (0.28%)
39 URLs --> object temporarily moved (5.52%)
190 URLs --> skip external (26.87%)
18 URLs --> not found (2.55%)
1 URLs --> object permanently moved (0.14%)
707 URLs --> Total (100.00%)

I didn't expect a brand-new site to have as many broken links. I re-ran the software today, and they're still broken.
I also didn't expect less than 1000 URLs (and only 206 text/html URLs) ... but, I recall people saying it's a brand-new website, and clearly they've archived the entire old site.

I suggest anyone curious to try running Xenu themselves. Fascinating to see what's in there.


 3:56 pm on Jan 22, 2009 (gmt 0)

Take a look at web archive (google waybackmachine) and look at Feb 1998.

It's scarey that my sites used to look that bad too :-)


 6:18 am on Feb 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

First liveblog on whitehouse.gov? Still checking every day for those comments to open up...


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