HHS Launches Redesigned Responsive Website

The Department of Health and Human Services has completed the re-vamp of its website and its visitors are now presented with a clearer, crisper and more user-friendly interface thanks to a design that was developed to work on all devices and screen sizes.

The change has been long overdue as any regular visitor to the HHS website could attest; the information was always there, but finding that information was a slow process and searching was especially difficult on a handheld device.

Designed with Current and Future Visitors in Mind

Before the site was developed, the HHS conducted market research survey, web analytics, workshops and usability testing with the public, and took the initiative from companies such as WIRED and NPR; both of which have recently redesigned, reorganized and re-purposed their own web content.

“Out with the old and in with the new” has been taken to heart, with the HHS clearing out 154,000 files that were obsolete, removing all of the unnecessary files to speed up site searches. With less files to search with every query, search sped has been greatly improved.

The HHS chose a mobile-friendly design, with large clear navigation buttons that are easy to operate on a mobile device, yet have the dual benefit of making desktop use of the site faster and more intuitive.


Beauty is Only Skin Deep

The HHS appears to have put a lot of careful thought into the design of the new front end of the website and to the presentation of information. The search function has been given prominence, which for an information portal is critical. Searching the database of articles, posts, news, grants, services and regulations can be time consuming and tedious but the new Smart Search function improves the process no end.

The predictive text is very useful, especially on a hand held device, and there are a good range of options to choose. A bite sized chunk of information with a relevant article link is highlighted on the right hand side of the page with the most relevant data.

Sadly, the beauty is only skin deep. Visit the HIPAA/OCR section of the website – which has yet to be redesigned – and its back to the old design. Not all of the website has been updated.

OCR/HIPAA Section Scheduled for Overhaul

The Office for Civil Rights section of the website has not yet benefited from the overhaul, but from the look of the new HHS front end, if the same design is applied it should make finding information much easier.

Fortunately, the OCR and HIPAA section is due for a makeover too. The website design has been a major undertaking for the HHS, and as a result of the magnitude of the project it has been broken down into manageable chunks. The latest redesign is phase 1 of the project. The OCR/HIPAA section is phase 2 and that is scheduled to be completed during the winter.

Further information on the redesign and new features of the HHS website can be found on the HHS blog.

Author: Steve Alder has many years of experience as a journalist, and comes from a background in market research. He is a specialist on legal and regulatory affairs, and has several years of experience writing about HIPAA. Steve holds a B.Sc. from the University of Liverpool.