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CDC’s New Website Keys in on User Experience

As a part of CDC’s “Moving Forward” project, the agency unveiled a new website. The user experience drove the heart of the project.

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CDC officials said the new site design updates the user experience. Photo Credit: CDC Website and Ground Picture/Shutterstock

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its website, the latest move as a part of a long-term “Moving Forward” modernization plan that is transforming how the nation responds to public health crises.

The new site updates the user experience that takes into account feedback from 3,000 members of the public. According to CDC officials, approximately 65% of the website content was removed.

Fred Smith, chief of the Enterprise Technology Branch and Division of Digital Media, said removing the content helps improve search on the site. Similar to the old site, the new site uses a “sophisticated search algorithm” based on website traffic.

“[The new site] is not like looking through the junk drawer that everybody has in their kitchen when you just throw everything in there. Everything is organized,” Smith said.

Other agencies are redesigning public-facing websites in an effort to meet user expectations and needs. In September 2023, the Office of Management and Budget’s M-23-22 memo follows a customer-experience executive order that called on agencies to make significant changes to the customer experience like improving accessibility and prioritizing mobile design.

Users of CDC’s updated website will see a consistent format between pages and page summaries, Smith said. These summaries will improve how CDC communicates information to its primary three audiences: the public, health care providers and public health professionals.

“We really started reorganizing content around our three primary audiences. We changed the navigation, getting away from the standard, left navigation, more to providing user journeys through content and links,” Smith said. “The overall user experience of the site has been drastically changed.”

The website redesign is not specifically related to the CDC’s Data Modernization Initiative, but Smith said that it works in tandem.

“We have got a lot of data visualization efforts to standardize the data visualizations across the website in a way that’s scalable,” Smith said. “It leverages a lot of our internal data systems. To streamline processes of gathering and analyzing and then publishing data [uses] a lot of the new data systems.”

More updates to the site are expected to come in the next few months, with monthly updates providing more content to various microsites.

“Everybody’s busy and the more efficient we get, the better it helps,” Smith said. “I’m really excited about all this, and I hope everybody goes to the new to give it a look.”

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