As its digital-communications team prepares for the next redesign of NASA.gov, NASA is asking the public for thoughts on what the agency should be doing on its website.
NASA has set up a forum on Ideascale to allow users to submit, comment on and vote on ideas. Opened Nov. 19, the forum already has received 228 ideas from 970 users, who also have posted 269 comments and cast nearly 7,000 up-or-down votes.
“The digital universe has changed significantly since we overhauled www.NASA.gov in 2007,” said David Weaver, NASA’s associate administrator for the Office of Communications. “Our focus now is to better integrate our web and social media efforts, while continuing to improve the site’s overall look and feel and navigation capabilities. We welcome the public’s input on how best to do this.”
NASA is among a few government agencies making the most effective use of the Internet and social media to communicate directly with the public. The landing of the Curiosity rover on Mars in August was the biggest event in the history of the NASA website. There were more than 15 million visits to the site during the event, and the peak of 1.2 million simultaneous webcast streams for the landing was more than double the previous record.
On social media, NASA has 1.3 million Facebook likes, 3.1 million Twitter followers and more than 280,000 people in its circle on Google+. NASA’s challenge now is to ensure its social media audience knows it can find more information on the website, and make the web audience aware there is a broader conversation going on via social media.
Any new design features also need to recognize the public’s adoption of smart phones to access online content. Visits to the site via mobile devices have increased tenfold from 2011 to 2012 and now account for 10 percent of all site visits.
The NASA.gov discussion forum can be found at http://nasaweb.ideascale.com.