Thursday, June 30, 2005

The Virtual State for Tots

The CIA home page for kids is certainly worth a visit, with its loveable surveillance pigeons as mascots, dress-up disguise page, and quizzes on geography and code-breaking.

A gallery of the current offerings within the larger genre of home pages on government web sites designed for children can be viewed at

Each large site seems to have its own adorable cartoon mascots: from bomb-sniffing dogs at the FBI to space-age robots at the National Reconnaissance Organization.

Yet many other government websites for children are still clearly designed for research projects, like the relatively unornamented page of the ATF.


Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Moving Away from the Dark Side

Of late, websites of the federal government seem to be undergoing a major change in design philosophy.

For a long period of time, there was a range of official webstyles, even after traffic on government websites received a major boost from netizens in seach of information in the wake of September 11th.

Webpages varied greatly from crisp White House white to the dark first-person shooter graphics of sites related to federal law enforcement and the military. Now, however, the dark volumes of enforcement websites are being flattened and lightened. Fonts have gone from sans serif to serif, chrome textures are eschewed, and the conventions of calling-card decorum are the mark of official culture. Varieties of blue backgrounds seem particularly important to the current red-state government. Witness changes to the FBI website.



Labels: ,