White House website makeover boosts accessibility, adds secret message

US Digital Services could be looking for applicants.

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Shelby Brown (she/her/hers) is an editor for CNET's services team. She covers tips and tricks for apps, operating systems and devices, as well as mobile gaming and Apple Arcade news. Shelby also oversees Tech Tips coverage. Before joining CNET, she covered app news for Download.com and served as a freelancer for Louisville.com.
  • She received the Renau Writing Scholarship in 2016 from the University of Louisville's communication department.
Shelby Brown
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The official White House website is getting a makeover -- including a sleek dark mode -- following the inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. But unless you're a coder, you may've missed an Easter egg nestled in the site's HTML code. 

"If you're reading this, we need your help building back better," reads the line of code, which is marked as a comment. Following the line is a link to the US Digital Services' website, an organization meant to help the administration advance technologically. Protocol reported the news earlier.


The Biden administration has an easter egg for coders in the White House website's HTML.

Screenshot/Carrie Mihalcik

Last year, the Biden administration hid an Easter egg in its campaign website's source code. Just above the code for purchasing an anti-COVID mask adorned with "BIDEN" was a message: "Wear a mask," written in large block outline letters.

The relaunched White House website also includes a statement that "commitment to accessibility for all begins with this site and our efforts to ensure all functionality and all content is accessible to all Americans."

The site says it's working to conform with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines version 2.1, level AA criteria.

"These guidelines not only help make web content accessible to users with sensory, cognitive and mobility disabilities, but ultimately to all users, regardless of ability," the page says.

The site is already fairly clean and minimalist, but tools embedded on the left side near the bottom let users customize the look of the page to make it more accessible to those who might have trouble viewing its standard presentation.

The first tool is labeled "Toggle high contrast" and lets you flip the background to dark and the type to white. In addition to appealing to people who enjoy a darker background, dark mode is often credited with helping save battery life and reducing eye strain when people use devices in a dim environment. 

The next tool is labeled "Toggle large font size" and does pretty much what you'd expect: it lets you bump up the size of the text. Larger print often helps visually impaired users decipher the text on web pages.

The revamped page also includes a Spanish language option that was lacking from the previous administration's site.

CNET's Steven Musil contributed to this report.