NASA launches new and expanded agency web site
WASHINGTON – As the agency commemorates its 50th anniversary, NASA has launched «NASA.gov 5.0,» the first major redesign of its primary Web site in more than four years. The
new design goes beyond a cosmetic facelift. It features a new level of interactivity and customization, and provides the opportunity to comment on selected NASA stories, create personal
playlists of favorite NASA videos and share agency content with social bookmarking sites on the Internet.
While adding new features, the site’s overall focus remains on providing the latest news, which is prominently displayed at the top of the page. Also, NASA imagery and videos have been given
«We’re very excited to roll this new version of nasa.gov out for the public,» said Brian Dunbar, NASA’s internet services manager at Headquarters, Washington. «We’ve been able
to add new functionality to the site, broaden and simplify the navigation to NASA’s wide range of content and still keep the features that users liked best about the old design. All together,
the new design will make it much easier for users to complete their top tasks.»
Visitors will notice a new navigation interface, with 10 topic areas covering the depth and breadth of NASA programs replacing three outdated and overly broad categories. Web editors from
around the agency will be able to contribute content.
Web managers have improved the new site’s search capability using Google’s Customer Search Engine to provide visitors with the same search results they would get from Google’s public site. NASA
has tools to apply «crowd wisdom» to search results by weighting findings according to how many previous searchers clicked on a particular link.
NASA revamped the customized «myNASA» feature to allow users to collect their favorite NASA Web content, including videos and news feeds, all in one location.
«This new approach to the NASA home page arose from ongoing feedback from the site’s users, which we get continuously through e-mails, customer-satisfaction surveys and traffic
statistics,» Dunbar added. «The initial concepts and subsequent iterations have been put through three rounds of user testing with external audiences. We’re proud of the initial
reaction to the new design and the entire NASA Web team looks forward to adding new features and listening closely to user feedback.»
NASA’s Office of Public Affairs and the Chief Information Officer manage the NASA Web site. eTouch Systems of Fremont, Calif., is the prime contractor responsible for implementing the redesign
and providing ongoing infrastructure support. Critical Mass of Toronto designed the new interface.