Thursday, May 8, 2008

Unveiling a new homepage, let us know what you think...

We are always looking for ways to improve the information we provide via the Web. In this spirit, we have been doing lot of research based on the usage of our Web site and what a few of you have taken the time to tell us.

For example, here is what we have found are the top 10 things users do on our site in a typical month of May:

  1. Get Seattle area traffic information
  2. Find statewide traveler information
  3. Get ferry information
  4. Find job openings
  5. Get mountain pass information
  6. Find project information
  7. Get ferry schedules
  8. Find travel alerts and slowdowns
  9. Do business with WSDOT
  10. Contact WSDOT

(Honorable mentions go to finding Good to Go and environmental information.)

We also found out that you weren't clicking on most of the links in the center of our homepage. The result of this research is that we are making changes, which we are unveiling today. This is the first step in a direction to improve and simplify access on our Web site.

This is just one project in a long list that we hope will make it easier to access the vast amount of information we have to offer, and make that information more usable. Other projects in the works are a redesign of traffic and travel information (putting incidents and cameras on the same map), making it easier to find a job in your area, and attempting to make the project index easier to use (did you know we are reporting on over 350 projects?).

Check out our new homepage and let us know what you think by taking our poll or just leave us a comment.

Thank you in advance for taking the time to provide your feedback.


pauldf said...

Overall, I like the new one better. However, I don't like the formatting of the link phrases in the center; it makes it harder to pick out what I need, but it does make the whole layout more compact (yay!). Maybe the "Travel on Roads and Ferries" could have a "Ferries" and a "Roads" column, with the last line spanning both columns, saying "Also: commute options, more..."

KarenB said...

Brighter, easier to read, less complicated format. All the important, first-line stuff is there. "Most Requested" appears to be traffic sensitive. Would be good to have street address at the bottom of the home page. Good job!

Anonymous said...

It's fresh and interesting. It will take some getting used to. I find it harder to locate my search material. I usually want to find planning documents. This had them in two locations. Planning, Local Programs and Research were under Operations while WTP was under Business at WSDOT.
At least the Mobility Options were alphabetized instead of forcing bikes at the forefront as usual.
Lastly, "strategies to increase the capacity of the system" seems like TSM instead of TDM.

steph said...

I sent the link to your beta page to my boss (we both use your site a lot) and it's interesting, we both had the exactly the same comments -- we really like the information groupings in the center of the page and the way you tightened the page up. Keep up the good work!

Question: Does WSDOT have any info pulled together about efforts your agency is making to be green?

Anonymous said...

It's not really radically different from your current homepage. Looks like all the same info just shifted around ever so slightly. Seems kind of silly to stop there. Have you considered changing your layout resolution to 1024 x 768 pixels instead of 800 x 600? Are you able to analyze what screen resolutions visitors have through a package like Google Analytics? I think in general the page needs to breathe a bit more. Whitespace is your friend on an information heavy site like WSDOT...

Anonymous said...

I prefer the subject groupings better on the 'original' (the current, not beta 'new') page. I don't like the animations (cycling pictures) on either home page. I find animations of any kind to be distracting from the information I'm looking for. Other changes I'd like for the current home page: "Find a Project" (on the new beta page) is a good feature. The current page could be modified to include that. And I don't understand why "Commute Travel Info" is under Projects on the current home page. It seems like it ought to be under Mobility, with some better clarification between "Commute and Travel Information" and "Commute Options".

Thanks for asking.

Anonymous said...

While a few things are better, there are several things worth mentioning that are not or could be otherwise improved. The old center structure may not have had the best groupings of items, but the Ferries items were together under Ferries - leave that alone. The groupings of "Know before you go" and "Travel Focus" are indistinguishable.

I dislike the new format with links back-to-back in sentences. The old style groupings were more readable: the headings stood out better and the items below them were a bulleted list. I agree with the comments about the white space and also about using (or allowing the use of) more pagre width. Also, the half-tone pictures are a waste; they can't be clearly made out and don't relate all theat well to the adjacant items. Use a Ferry picture for Ferries as before.

Anonymous said...

The accountability link and the performance measures link goes to the exact same accountability page. Seems duplicative...

Anonymous said...

The new layout seems to make it harder for us in the construction business. I just figured out where everything was ,now I have spent two days and still cannot find your downloadable program for forms, QPL and standard specifications..... HELP!

Jeremy Bertrand said...

We designed this page specifically for those in the construction business. Thanks for letting us know to add the standard specs.

Is there anything else we could add there that would benefit you?

This content is a direct link from the "Build" section of the new homepage (see the "more..." link).

The Geezer said...

The Geezer, being, well, the geezer, likes the old page better.

Sometimes I had to click around to find what I want on the old page, but the new page seems to effectively hide more stuff, and require more drilling down.

My 2 cents, value all advice at cost, and your mileage may vary.

No friend of the menopausal matriarchs, I am,

The Geezer

Jeremy Bertrand said...

I wanted to take the time to make sure I have a chance to address your feedback:

a. Green efforts
We have a lot of content on our new
climate change site.

b. Layout
We keep the content portion of the site right about 760 pixels wide to make sure the content can be printed. The traffic information is around 900 pixels wide for the 1024 audience. Interestingly enough the 800x600 audience is still 5% of our Web site use.

c. Groupings
We are still testing the groupings and have heard a feedback either way. We are currently testing changes that will help that grouping be slightly more readable.

d. Accountability
We missed that one and now have them linked up to the appropriate locations.

Thanks again to all of you who provided feedback.

Anonymous said...

My vehicle license tab renewal form came in the mail directing me to go to to renew online. When you go there, there is NO link for online tab renewal. HELLO?

The Geezer said...

The Geezer would be pleased to offer anon a spare pair of his reading glasses.

Your notice on your tabs remewal said go to www.

L, not T.

Geezer rests, having done his public service for the day.

Anonymous said...

I do not like it. There is no easy link to the Washington State Ferries homepage. I don't want a link to the ferry schedule maker page, just a simple link to the ferry homepage. It seems like that should be on the homepage and easy to get to.

The Geezer said...

Anon above is correct.

The Geezer noticed this, but the WSDOT boyz give no credit to the Geez, therefore he didn't mention it.

Please post an additional tick mark in the "put an easy link to your poor disfunctional cousins, WSF on the wepbage"

The Geezer

Anonymous said...

It's very hard to find the commercial vehicle services office. This used to be a front page link.

Anonymous said...

No such thing as design specs (unless you mean AASHTO green book or Design Manual). Please change to Contract specs or Construction specs, or provide a link to where those are available.

Jeremy Bertrand said...

Very interesting comments regarding the ferries site. Did you know that there are actually three separate links to the ferries site. The first is under "most requested" on the left and is titled "ferry schedules". The second is under "Travel on Roads and Ferries" / "Travel Focus" and is titled "buy a ferry ticket". The third link is under "Our Transportation System" / "Modes" and is titled "ferries".

We are listening and evaluating the site based on usage and feedback. Thanks for taking the time and letting us know those were difficult to find.

Anonymous said...

this is stupid, I am trying to renew my tabs and can not find it, why do people make it harder for people rather then easier.

Jeremy Bertrand said...

@anonymous - The Department of Licensing is the place you want in Washington state to renew tabs.

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