September 23, 2015
By Maura Marx
Acting Director, IMLS
We at IMLS are excited to launch our new agency website! It has only been live for a few days so far; if you haven’t yet seen it, please check it out at www.imls.gov.
The redesign of our site was identified as an agency priority for FY 2015, and IMLS staff have been working on it since October 2014. The last time our site had been redesigned was in 2006. As you may imagine, our agency has changed a great deal since then, as have the technologies available to us. This was a long overdue update!
The process of redesigning the site involved multiple opportunities for input from both internal and external constituents. Through interviews and surveys, we gathered feedback on what was and wasn’t working on our old site, and used this input to prioritize site changes. I extend my sincere thanks to those of you who volunteered your time to participate in this process.
The first major change you’ll notice is that everything on the site is bigger--the page width, the photos, and the text size. The most common piece of feedback we received was that our site was too cramped, with too many small blocks of content squeezed into the site’s narrow frame. So we widened the frame and used that extra space to create larger, clearer blocks of content and site navigation.
www.imls.gov, before and after
The new site is built on an open-source content management system. This platform is highly customizable and will allow us to more easily add new features over time, including those that take advantage of third-party API’s and modules. We are already working on a few tools that we expect to announce in upcoming months. Stay tuned for updates.
Our developers built the site with responsiveness in mind. Responsive design allows the site to adjust its layout and navigation based on the size of the screen that’s viewing it. Website analytics show us that every month the number of mobile users visiting our site increases. The new website will now be easier for you to use whether you are on a computer, tablet, or mobile phone.
Responsive design = user-friendly on many types of devices.
In June of this year, White House's Office of Management and Budget released a memo requiring that all publicly accessible federal websites migrate to an HTTPS standard, in order to better secure the privacy of government website visitors. This security protocol encrypts nearly all information sent between websites and their visitors, and with the release of our new site, IMLS is now in compliance! This means that the default web address for the site is now https://www.imls.gov, and those who use our old web address will be redirected to the new one.
There are a number of individual features worth highlighting:
- The new search engine has improved searching capability and performance.
- Our database of agency publications can be filtered by type, and print copies can be ordered through the website.
- More flexible platform allows for more information to be organized by issue or initiative. Users can even sign up for e-mail updates by issue.
In addition to the improvements that are visible on the front end, the new site’s content management system makes better use of IMLS resources, through the site’s ease of maintenance and the elimination of some duplicate systems.
We at IMLS are thrilled to launch the new site, and we hope you will take a look. This launch is really the first step in a long-term web improvement strategy. We look forward to sharing new developments as they are completed, and as always, we welcome your feedback. Please submit any comments and questions about the site through our Contact Us form or via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.