Visitors to www.acs.org this week will notice a lot of changes. ACS has spruced up its website to take advantage of recent technologies while incorporating feedback from members. The goal of this project is simple: to improve user experience. The society last revamped its website in September 2007.
“This ‘Web refresh’ is our opportunity to be responsive to our members,” says Louise Voress, assistant director of user experience for ACS Web Strategy & Operations. “ACS is a rich source of information, and we want to make it easier for users to navigate the site and conduct their searches.” The site incorporates a new Google-powered search engine and gives users a more intuitive browsing interface.
The first thing visitors might notice, however, is the new look. It is more modern, with rounded edges, more images, and warmer colors. “We wanted the website to be warm, open, and inviting,” says Meka Parker, assistant director of marketing and communications for ACS Web Strategy & Operations.
A new “content carousel” highlights ACS programs, resources, and services and features new material each week. Visitors will be able to learn about ACS programs ranging from green chemistry to legislative affairs and everything in between. ACS local sections and technical divisions can continue to take advantage of free hosting of their Web pages on the ACS website.
Quick-links provide direct access to frequently requested pages. For example, a person looking for the technical program of the next ACS meeting won’t have to conduct a search; it will be quick-linked on the homepage. “You’re now just one click away,” Voress says.
Users of the updated site will be able to interact with each other more easily than before through social tagging, comments, and discussions, along with more audio and video capability.
ACS hopes to attract more teachers and the general public with prominent placement of “Everyday Chemistry,” which highlights the relevance of chemistry to everyone and offers outreach ideas for volunteers. The “Cool Science” section provides ideas for experiments and science activities for students.
Global chemistry and “ACS Chemistry for Life” branding are more prominent on the website, and a special section will be devoted to the 2011 International Year of Chemistry.
The ACS Network is also getting a facelift. Starting at the end of June, the network will have a look consistent with the ACS website, and it will include enhanced user profiles and new functionality, such as the ability to tag friends and sort them accordingly, add bookmarks, blog, and send messages through the network.
Both the website and the ACS Network will continue to evolve to keep up with the changing needs of ACS members, Voress says. “We have an ongoing commitment to talking with our members, our potential members, our volunteers, and our governance to get their feedback,” she tells C&EN. “This website is a work in progress, and we’re going to continue to refine it.”