New defense.gov design offers 'one-stop shop' for Department of Defense news, information
By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
| Courtesy Story | July 09, 2014
FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. --
Department of Defense
Defense.gov, the Defense Department's official website, took on a new look overnight, thanks to a home page redesign that officials said was driven in large part by user feedback.
Visitors to the site will find a new, richer content experience, said John Valceanu, chief of the news content management division at the Defense Media Activity here.
"Previously, the page had a lot of text materials," he said. "It had some links to videos, but it was very text-heavy, and it had a lot of static, standing links."
The new design, he said, offers a mix of videos, social media, print stories and photos, giving visitors a one-stop shop for news and information regarding the Defense Department.
"Surveys have shown us over time that military news is the primary reason that people come to the website," Valceanu said. "They want news about what the Defense Department is doing. Now, rather than having our visitors go find the news on inside pages, we're making as much as possible directly available to them on the front page."
The links visitors found on the old site still are available under the Resources tab at the top of the new page, Valceanu said. "Visitors to the site can still get all of the information they needed before -- they'll just need to go to Resources, and it's all collected right there for them," he added.
The last major redesign of the Defense.gov home page was almost five years ago, Valceanu noted.
"In terms of website design, that's actually a long time," he said. "Most websites refresh their designs fairly frequently. Ours was a good design -- it worked -- but it was time for a change."
Integrating social media was an important consideration, Valceanu said, and widgets on the new page present the Defense Department's official Facebook and Twitter feeds. "As other social media platforms grow and develop, and as the Defense Department starts to use them, we'll look to integrate those," he added.
Valceanu noted that the Web is constantly changing and evolving, and as new technologies become available to enhance the visitor experience or deliver news and information in a new way, they will be considered for incorporation into the website's design.
"Our intent is not to have a design that is set in stone and will look this way for the next 50 years," he said. "It's going to change, and we know it's going to change."
Another overnight change is incorporation of the former Pentagon Channel website as part of Defense.gov. The change reflects the channel's new role as the broadcast branch of Defense Media Activity's DoD News division, which also includes the former American Forces Press Service and the Defense Department's social media branch.