Ever been to NASA's website at nasa.gov before? If you have, you know it's not exactly impressive. Cluttered, busy, sprawlingly confusing and stuck in the Internet of five years ago, nasa.gov was in need of a massive remodel.
Happily, "was" is the correct verb. NASA heard users' pleas and it's given nasa.gov a major overhaul. And it's everything the space agency's Internet home should have been all along. Better late than never, right?
In all seriousness, NASA's done a terrific job of streamlining its wildly complex website. An extensive blog post explains everything that's been done to redesign and refine nasa.gov, but we'll sum it up for you.
You'll find some much-needed simplification of the site's navigation, which has always been hard to get one's head around. There are less links per page now, much more white space and most importantly, a unified navigation menu atop every page that makes it easy to jump to the area you're most interested in. The front page now features a photo blog type of feed, with everything from all of NASA's missions and initiatives and whatnot always pouring its latest updates into that single feed.
One of the best features of the new design is the "card feed" that groups content together better than ever before. In the past, there might have been a webpage devoted to a Mars rover mission, for example, while an unconnected area of the site might have photos or videos or what have you about that same mission. Those days are gone; the card feed corrals every piece of content about a single topic together.
Speaking of missions, if you're interested in finding out more about NASA's major programs aimed at the red planet, Pluto, Ceres or the International Space Station, hubs for those missions are one click away. You'll find them on the main menu at the top of every page. There are similar hubs for other areas of interest like image galleries, downloads, NASA TV and an extensive directory of social media accounts connected to the space agency. (You're guaranteed to be surprised at how many social accounts there are — from programs, departments, and even individual astronauts. NASA is nothing if not transparent.)
There's loads more... Mobile upgrades make the site work better for devices like smartphones and tablets. A new timeline box at the top right aggregates NASA's upcoming events in an always-updated stream. An "Audience" tab will filter content for teachers, students or media. And so much more.
There's more going on at NASA these days than most of the public knows about, and now there's an easy, user-friendly way to find out about every bit of it. Bravo, NASA. Very well done.