The 1996 election also interesting for website design historians.
Step back in time to a era where the Affordable Care Act was a laughable dream, when No Child Left Behind was touted by the White House, when Barack Obama was not president of the United States.
The Bush White House's homepage will be stuck on January 20, 2009, for all eternity (or as long as the server that houses it exists). As described by the site's top banner, it is "historical material, 'frozen in time.' "
Study it as you would an archaeological site. For one, you'll see how much more sophisticated web design has become over the past four years.
But also take it as the history of the Bush years as seen by the Bush administration. For instance, you can read the White House's take on the nomination of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito. You can review the bullet points of the president's "Strategic Framework Agreement and the Security Agreement with Iraq." Historians note: Endless pages of press releases and policy statements are here for studying. Also of note is the "White House Kids" page dedicated to Barney, the Bush family dog who recently died, immortalized in HTML.
The web is a dynamic place. Pages get updated on the order of minutes. But hidden in the thicket are these sites frozen in time. Want to go back even further? The National Archives has digitally preserved all five redesigns of the Clinton-era White House homepage, from a horribly pixelated single frame to the popular three-column design of the late 90s.
The frozen Web isn't limited to the White House pages either. Check out these dueling campaign sites from the 1996 presidential election.
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