Bank of America : Marking time

Bankamericatimeline click to view

Continuity carries a timeline through to the present.

The Site

Bank of America, the leading US retail bank, marks milestones in its history in a timeline that does not peter out before the present day.

Bank of America has a standalone site for its archival branch, Heritage Center, which runs ‘interactive museums’ in five bank locations across the US (access is via the Newsroom section of the main site). Heritage Center includes a Flash-driven Time Line that covers the history of the bank from pre-Revolution times.

An extensive list of years running in chronological order from 1764 scrolls automatically on mouseover; click a year to display a corresponding index card style image to the left of the list and a ‘fast fact’ and picture caption to the right. A carousel-like graphic in the image area provides alternative, fixed-sequence navigation from year to year. Not every year is listed but the feature continues up to and including the present one (2010).

The Takeaway

Bank of America’s Time Line has itself been around for a while, notable for its engaging usability, an easy writing style fitted to the fast-fact format and an editorially astute selection of milestones, from the parochial to the portentous (sometimes both for the price of one, as in 1994’s first “electronic storefront on the Web”, complete with home page screenshot). Even more unusual, however, is that dated it is not, in the style of so many corporate histories or time lines that pull up two or more years short, offering the impression that nothing of note – or nothing that the PR people would want noting – has happened in a while.

It may be that the tie in with the bank’s physical museum network provides the impetus to keep the momentum of the feature going where others seem to lose sight of it once the initial launch or upgrade has bedded in (and something else moves to the top of the ‘most urgent’ list). Refreshing it is, though, and not just literally.

First published on 07 September, 2010