Thanks to everyone who has commented and do keep your comments coming. We have received thoughtful, good ideas on what you want to see. Many encourage the use of mobile so that access is immediate when and where health information or services are needed. I want to answer some of the comments here and will continue do so from time to time.
Comment: A desire to incorporate visuals on mobile sites.
Agreed! A good visual can be worth more than a thousand words if it provides context and directly supports the information needed. Learning and understanding becomes much easier when visuals support the words. When designing content for mobile use, these visual benefits have to be tempered by the fact that graphics often make the loading of the mobile information much slower. Sometimes the visual is too much for some phones to support. That will change one day, but for now, we must balance using more visuals with insuring that critical information can be easily accessed on mobile and tablet devices. We are learning more each day about building better mobile sites (and soon, this site will use responsive design so it can be viewed on any device). We value your input in reminding and urging us to use more visuals. We welcome advice on how best to do mobile sites so they are inviting and so information sought can be quickly accessed.
Comment: What kind of research do you conduct to determine when it would be good to build a one-stop, topic site?
HHS believes strongly in the consolidation of content on a specific topic. Gathering information from the many parts of HHS in one place makes it easier for you to find the information you need. But this is a very large job. Any one office may only have one piece of the total picture. Here are some of the steps we go through before undertaking a topic site: (1) we conduct a complete inventory of all the web pages that exist on the topic; (2) we use metrics for existing sites to tell us about traffic and where people are going; (3) we look for duplication of information and whether it is current; and (4) we consider the timeliness and need for the information (examples—bullying prevention, food safety). Our greatest challenge is that there is so much valuable content that needs to be organized and consolidated into topic sites!
Most of our consolidated sites are managed by a cross-department or government Editorial Board with subject matter experts and web and communications staff that approve content and maintain the site to add new or update information as needed. Cross-department/government sites need a strong leadership and governance that establishes how people will work together and fund and maintain the site.
What do you think? How can we make information more available? We’ve suggested some ways we are exploring. We are sure there are other—perhaps better—ways we have not thought of. So please share your ideas and suggestions. Thanks.