You may have noticed we launched our new Ed.gov homepage today. This completes the third and final phase of our visual refresh for our main website. We released the second phase of the refresh back in June.
So, what’s new?
The new homepage takes our efforts to streamline navigation on the website one big step further. There are fewer links and more open space on the homepage.
How did we decide what links and content are on the homepage? We used data that we get through the Digital Analytics Program and other feedback tools. The most popular, highest traffic sections and pages on the website have a spot on the homepage or in the navigation. Links that didn’t get many clicks moved to pages a level down.
The data shows that our customers use external search engines and site search as the primary ways to enter and navigate the site. In a way, every page is our homepage, and although it gets a lot of traffic, the homepage isn’t always the first stop or entry point.
After we rolled out the new top, bottom and side menus back in June, we’ve seen an upward trend in our online customer satisfaction score overall, and in navigation and look-and-feel in particular. More customers who reply to the satisfaction survey say they find what they’re looking for.
Now the entire flagship Ed.gov site offers a mobile-friendly web experience. All of our main website and blog content layouts use responsive design and Bootstrap styling, which means each webpage automatically adjusts to the size of your smartphone or tablet. There’s no more need to do that reverse pinch gesture to zoom in and so you can read the text on your phone.
Online Press Room Updates
The press room content – press releases, media advisories, and speeches – are more easily readable anytime, anywhere and on any device.
You can get to the online press room quickly by visiting ed.gov/news or clicking on the “More News” link on the homepage.
We also launched a refreshed video page today that pulls in a feed of our most recently posted videos.
We made a number of improvements under the hood. We upgraded our content management system, Drupal, from version 6 to version 7, so we are keeping current with the version supported by the open source community. Moving from Drupal 6 to Drupal 7 also made it easier to convert to a mobile-friendly, responsive design theme. Other technical improvements should mean that our webpages load more quickly now.
We hope these updates improve your Ed.gov experience! If you have comments or suggestions, please share them here on the blog.
Jill James is web director at the U.S. Department of Education and co-chair of the Department’s Open Government Working Group.