Mar 21, 2014

In 1994 when the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) launched it’s first website, the Web was a very different place. Many websites that were launched had little consideration given to, or even had an understanding of, things such user experience, content strategies, or design. Over the next 20 years our USGS Web presence has grown immensely as we’ve pioneered new research, tools, and applications in the support of understanding our planet’s complex environment and the ground on which we stand. As our Web presence has grown, things such as consistent navigation, and overall user experience and design have taken a backseat in many cases. However, we know this needs to be changed.

Over the past two years, we’ve been working diligently to build an effort focused on improving our Web presence to improve customer service, usability, and easy access to our science. We’ve listened to and analyzed your feedback over the years and have baked that in from the beginning of this effort. In addition, we’re embracing new directions in federal Web management such as the Digital Government Strategy, mobile first, domain consolidation, content management tools, and more.

The new site is just the tip of the iceberg. As we move forward with our effort, we’ll be focused on improving our entire presence in this new direction. With the launch of our beta, we’ve focused on goals such as:

  • improving access to science and data through multiple pathways
  • a simplified design
  • mobile-responsive
  • improving navigation and search
  • incorporating top tasks
  • proving multiple pathways to science
  • enhancing user experience

While the beta is a step in a new direction for the future of the USGS Web presence, we can’t do this without your continued comments. As a valued stakeholder, we encourage you to visit with both your desktop and mobile device…and provide us with comments via the Send Feedback button at the bottom of the pages. As you try out our new beta website, please be aware that some links will take you to the current version of the website. We’re still working on moving content into this new design.

Thank you for your comments, support and thoughts.Scott Horvath is the Bureau Social Media Lead, Office of Communications and Publishing at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).