This page reviews the history of the URL www.cooperhewitt.org as crawled by the Internet Archive Wayback Machine, with additional notes on the current website.
The URL www.cooperhewitt.org was first crawled by the Internet Archive Wayback Machine on July 18, 2001. The captured page is a placeholder automatically generated by the domain registrar at register.com.
2003EditJuly 22, 2003 is the first crawl recorded since July 20, 2001. The top half of the layout features a tall header banner with the museum logo above an animated banner with objects from the collection. The main navigation is a single line with nine links, and it is vertically-centered on the page. Exhibition and visitor information fills the bottom half of the page.
2004EditNovember 28, 2004 is the first crawl recording a website redesign. The layout is now more modular to accommodate multiple concurrent exhibitions, activities and features. The result is visually busy, with more than ten areas of information competing for the viewer's attention. The tall header banner with the museum logo retains its size and position at the top of the page, and is now a bright orange. The main navigation is relocated below the header with the logo, and now is two lines with twelve links.
2006EditA crawl from February 21, 2006, marks a new look, feel and content layout for the website. The tall header has returned to gray, but this time a lighter, cooler shade. The content type and heading colors follow suit. The main navigation has been rerchitected to one line with six links, and is now complemented by a header navigation and a footer navigation. Content has been separated into three columns. There may have been a Flash animation below the main navigation that was not able to be captured by the crawler.
On a branding note, the word "Smithsonian," along with the logo, are no longer present in the header and will not reappear until sometime after July 2011.
2007EditA crawl from November 18, 2007 is a "reskin" of the existing website structure. The header with the museum logo and Flash animation area remain the same. The design returns to strong color and busy content (similar to the 2004 version) and retains the widths of the three column layout of the 2006 version. Of note is the updated main navigation, which now includes a "Visit Cooper-Hewitt" link—this is a popular and necessary section/call-to-action that had been missing in the previous iteration. The first time the Cooper-Hewitt blog is displayed prominently on the homepage is in this version, in which the "Design Blog"appears in the upper-left section of the content.
2008EditThe crawl from November 11, 2008, reveals a complete redesign. The layout is clean and elegant, with a focus on holiday marketing. The large image is also nod to higher screen resolutions and increased bandwidth. The content is simplified from the busy "news-columns" of years past. The footer navigation is well-organized but the absence of any header navigation, apart from search, is noticeable. This iteration is the first to combine the blog and Facebook under the umbrella "Get Involved," which reflects the rapid rise in importance of social media and user-generated content for cultural institutions.
2009EditThe 2008 redesign was well-organized and simple, but was suffered from the lack of a main navigation in the header. A header navigation is first recorded as being added on January 30, 2009. The rest of the design remains unchanged. The site was last crawled by the Internet Archive Wayback Machine on July 25, 2011, so there is no record of when this version was superceded.
2012EditThe current website serves as a central repository of information for the exhibitions, talks, educational activities and other programming that occur throughout the city while the Carnegie Mansion is closed for renovations. Engaging visitor interaction is important during this time, and this is reflected in the prominence of the "Visit" link in the main navigation, which is now the first item on the left. Sign-up fields for an email newsletter are also prominent, as are social media links to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and the RSS feed.
The site is large. It has 2,260 results with a Google site: search. It is also well-linked to, with more than 2,900,000 links to www.cooperhewitt.org in a Google links: search.
There is opportunity to improve the "stickiness" of site interaction by adding a navigation bar and friendly language to the 404 page. The page currently has a clickable logo, a search box and text that reads, "The requested page could not be found."
The current website has no mobile version. Although the site scales easily on an Android phone and reatinas all functionality, a mobile-specific site has the potential to significantly expedite the navigation process. The navigation could be simplified and visible without scaling, with visitor information (i.e., exhibition locations, hours, directions) in a prominent position.