FCC Seeking User Comments on New Beta Website
As part of an ongoing research and design project “to dramatically improve the usability and functionality” of its website, the FCC has debuted a new prototype website and wants to know users think about it. The FCC’s 2011 website re-design was not well received, and the Commission has continued to maintain its previous, much-older website design in tandem with the newer one.
“You spoke, we listened,” FCC Chief Information Officer David Bray said in an October 9 blog post. “[W]e built a new beta (ie test) version of FCC.gov based on your input, and we need your feedback again. Building upon the foundation of extensive user research done earlier this year — and coupled with additional input we will receive during this beta period — the new FCC.gov will be more useful and accessible to FCC stakeholders.”
Bray stressed that “old content and features” remain available on the current FCC website “while we perfect the new site. Bray explained that the new beta website is Drupal-based and responsive, and the display will optimize based upon the device being used to view the site.
“The beta website is also connected to our document databases, EDOCS and ECFS, via application programming interfaces (APIs). The APIs allow real-time EDOCS and ECFS updates to display in Headlines and Most Active Proceedings,” Bray said. “FCC applications will also be updated and increasingly cloud-based, similar to our new Consumer Help Desk.”
Bray said all content on the current FCC website has been migrated to the new Drupal-based site. The FCC IT staff is now integrating that content into what Bray called “new information architecture,” which, he said, would offer additional and improved ways of accessing and interacting with the website’s content. A new taxonomy has been developed to classify web content. “This will allow us to use Drupal features that make search easier, allow for better content discoverability across the site, and automate lists of content on a variety of topics,” Bray explained.
He said that based on additional feedback the FCC receives during the beta website’s “extended” testing period, “we intend to complete the switch to the new site fully later this fall.” Users can submit their comments and suggested bug fixes by using a web form or e-mail.