A new ED.gov is coming. The transformation is already underway and includes a brand-new look-and-feel and a critical rethinking of how we effectively communicate online. The goal: a digital experience where you can find what you need, discover things you did not know, and leave feeling satisfied.
Step 1: Plan
In the fall of 2019 ED began planning for the redesign of ED.gov, creating a number of internal Innovation Teams charged to lead the effort. The teams rewrote web governance policy, created new standards, and began developing the roadmap for the future. ED also hosted an open innovation challenge calling for input from across the country to help shape the design of the new ED.gov. The result was an ED.gov prototype that would define our path forward.
Meanwhile, ED has been diligently conducting user research, consulting with experts, and preparing the requirements for a modernized ED.gov that will meet the primary tenants of the 21st Century Integrated Digital Experience Act:
- Accessible – be accessible to individuals with disabilities in accordance with Section 508
- Consistent – have a consistent appearance
- Authoritative – not overlap with or duplicate existing websites
- Searchable – contain a search function
- Secure – be provided through a secure connection
- User-centered – be designed around user needs with data-driven analysis
- Customizable – provide an option for a more customized digital experience
- Mobile-friendly – be functional and usable on mobile devices
Step 2: Prepare
To consider the modernization of ED.gov a purely technical challenge would be short-sighted. Truly improving the user experience for our website visitors requires thorough evaluation of the content we create. Are we communicating with the American public in the best way possible? We’ve examined the web analytics and the short answer is, probably not.
One of the biggest problems: it’s been awhile since we’ve cleaned up our content. For nearly 20 years our website has been accumulating content without regular consideration of whether things are still relevant, up-to-date or useful. Now we’re ready to change that. Beginning today, ED will begin to implement new content lifecycle management standards; the new rules for how we maintain content on the web. These new standards are rooted in research and borrowed heavily from industry best practices. Over the next couple of months we will begin to remove content from ED.gov that does not meet these new standards.
Focusing our web content to only include information that is useful, accurate, and up-to-date will help users better find what they need. This means you won’t be wasting time wading through outdated content; and we hope it means your experience with ED.gov becomes a more positive one.
Step 3: Rebuild
The future for ED.gov is beginning to take shape, but there is still a lot of work to be done. The cleanup activities we start this week are simply the first major milestone on this path toward the goal of rebuilding ED.gov. We appreciate your patience as the work continues on!