Help Us Redesign GovLoop!

Hello GovLoopers –

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Judy Siegel and I’m a Fellow at GovLoop. I have a background in User Experience Design and Human-Computer Interaction and have been previously completed a fellowship at the DNC this past summer. I have also worked at several software companies designing websites, applications or both.

For the last couple months I’ve had the great opportunity to propose new designs for the homepage as well as the rest of GovLoop. I’ve spent a lot of time looking at analytics and talking to people about how they use the site, as well as receiving lots of input from Steve about the strengths and weaknesses of the current design. I’ve come up with 6 different designs and would love any and all input regarding them.

We have heard that GovLoop’s home page is very information-heavy and therefore not the easiest to navigate. We know that a lot of people like to follow various blogs or discussions about certain topics. We also want to encourage members to reach out to other members and invite their friends and colleagues to join GovLoop.

Check out the images below and comment on any and every detail. You can also email me at [email protected] with any questions. Lastly, we’re going to have a pizza and beer party at the office next Tuesday at 6pm (11/16) at our offices (734 15th street, nw, suite 500) for people to come check out the designs in person and also just mingle and enjoy free food and drink. Send me an email if interested – would love to have ya – [email protected]


Thanks for reading!


Design 1:

Hot topics moved to the top; navigation simplified. Areas highlighted would be perpetual on every page.

Design 2:

Hot topics moved to top. Common user tasks presented in main body of page. Areas highlighted would be perpetual on every page.

Design 3:

Stories are scrollable. Areas highlighted would be perpetual on every page.


Design 4:

This is more of a introductory page that one would always see to login to GovLoop. Image at left would present latest stories and would be constantly changing. Meant to attract new users to the site and present information very simply.

Design 5:

A merging of designs 2 & 3.

Design 6:

Navigation by topic.

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39 Comments

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GovLoop

Would love feedback…don’t worry too much about colors/logos – those staying mostly the same.

More on structure/UI and how to fix crowded home page feel

Kevin Carter

hmmm… well, i never look at the latest activity section, would prefer the calendar be an actual calendar, would like an rss feed that pulls in any social media reference of #govloop, a retooled job board that isn’t just a blog feed, maybe a word cloud to see the most popular topics?

Would also prefer one central graphic for the main page story that can then rotate (see http://mlb.mlb.com/index.jsp).

These are just random wants – feel free to ignore.

Bill Brantley

I like design 6 if it means that the “topic” squares are user-controlled so that I can choose what topics I want presented when I visit GovLoop.

Scott Burns

I would love a box that is not a search that said, “Ask the GovLoop community a question” where I could ask a question and have it posted to the community. The “result” could show me the search results for my terms and other questions like mine. The questions could be posted for rapid fire response or longer comments from the community. This would “lower the bar” for engaging.

Ed Albetski

One option should be to leave it as it is. It may have “design” flaws, but we have been using and know our way around it. Re-designs just mean a new learning curve when we often have something better to do.

GovLoop

Good comment via email:

I find design 2 the easiest to scan and most natural-looking.

It’s often hard to know whether to write a blog or start a discussion,
so it would be useful to provide guidelines on some other page about
the differences.

Henry Brown

My two bits worth….
Why not make it “cusomizable” for the individual user… So that those who feel comfortable with the current design can leave it be. For others, if they want to limit view to selected group discussions, or only want to view/comment on blogs give them the option…

Bill Brantley

I agree with Henry Brown. Make GovLoop customizable like you can do with PageFlakes or iGoogle. And Amy Phillips also has a good suggestion. Look into Drupal for a better website experience.

GovLoop

If anyone has examples of really good Drupal community sites, would love to see them. Some solid ones like brazencareerist.com.

I’m still yet blown away with one that is truly amazing and has all the nuanced features of Ning plus stuff like APIs, iphone app integration, etc. But I”m game.

Dannielle Blumenthal

I like the mockup by Chris Bennett, designs need more work. I like the Huffington Post website design and GL has a similar approach to content (many topic areas, more verbal than pictorial, it’s really about immediacy and relevance). Also I think a more businesslike look is good, but retain the goofiness and the green that started it all. Good luck!

Heather Coleman

I like design #6 the best, but also like the topic design that Chris Bennett developed. I think the GovLoop green should be kept as well (agree with Dannielle).

Jeremy Bertrand

I wish you had put some wireframe examples up instead of these designs. I am having a difficult time looking at the design because I am not that impressed by the color scheme of any of the designs.

Heather Coleman

How about the Drupal social network as an example – http://drupalsn.com/

Could incorporate the “ask the community a question feature” at the top, followed by featured posts/projects. I like the tabbed section further down possible for blog posts, discussions and events. Also like the recent logins as a way to feature active community members.

Lynn Hannblom

I like #6, but I also like the comment posted by Scott Burns:
“I would love a box that is not a search that said, “Ask the GovLoop community a question” where I could ask a question and have it posted to the community. The “result” could show me the search results for my terms and other questions like mine. The questions could be posted for rapid fire response or longer comments from the community.”

Jim Reed

I’m less interested in the visuals than in the functionality. Make it customizable so it’s easier to focus on topics that are most interesting and useful to each user. We’re all buried in information, so help us sort it out better.

Megan Price

I like #6 – as long as we get to keep the GovLoop green and yellow we have grown to love! Being able to see content by topic is very helpful; I agree that these should be selected by the user so we can select the topics that interest us most!

Shannon Donelson

I like the boxed organization of #6. I’m such a visual person and need everything laid out in boxed format. I agree with Megan, I think we should keep the Yellow and Green, especially for marking purposes.

Vang Xiong

I like #6’s layout with the exception of the blue. The layout looks functional with the headings on top to grab the user’s attention upon login, while other areas of interest are listed in easy to read list.

Heather Coleman

Agree with @Jeremy regarding the wireframes. That might have been a better starting point to get structural/organizational feedback before choosing a new (or same) color scheme.

Judith Siegel

Regarding wireframes, while I start with those originally, I felt like it be more helpful to make something more hi-fi. I’m going to see if I have the original Visio files. I can also re-upload the images as just grayscale images…would that be helpful? Will people look at them and comment? 🙂

Candace Riddle

Gonna have to go with Design 3. Keep the events on the front page. I love this feature now. And P.S. – Are you really going to change the color to blue? GovLoop has really branded itself with that yellow and green. I mean, I know its not easy being green (but it sure is AWESOME to be different).

Judith Siegel

Thanks for the input, Candace. There are no current plans to change the color scheme, however I was overthinking how to use different green and yellow hues so just chose blue in the interest of saving time….blue is pretty unassuming….I’m surprised so many have noticed the color change. It might not be easy being green, but apparently GovLoopers are used to it. 🙂

Lisa Pierson

Not in love with any of them really, but it’s between the simplicity of design #4 and with the flash features of #2 to navigate key topics.

Adriel Hampton

Of the choices, I like 3 best. But I don’t have any problems with the design now. I still go back to the HUGE problem of people not getting to put up a profile picture in the same step as creating a profile. In my strong and considered opinion, that has been GovLoop’s biggest problem for some time now.

Jaya Polden

I’m going to have to weigh in here and comment. As a graphic designer myself I’m not in love with any of them!! Instead of looking modern and fresh, clean and polished they remind me of websites from 10 years ago. (plain blocks, heavy dropshadows and no design elements ;( ). I understand the need to present a lot of information, but is there a way to do that with a bit more style? Perhaps I’ve got this wrong and these are just wireframes in which case I’ve jumped the gun and commented on the presentation which hasn’t been developed yet. I hope so. Please don’t forget the role of design in creating a site that’s inviting and a pleasure to look at in addition to having quality info that’s accessible.

Judith Siegel

@Jaya….thanks for the input. I would say, yes the emphasis on these designs are on the IA/interaction part of things, not the graphic design. As least, that’s how I approached…the organization vs. pure visuals. So, something in between traditional wireframes you would make in Visio and something polished, if that makes sense. Please tell me if that does.

Marian Doucette

Thank you for inviting the end-users to comment on the designs Judith. In keeping with some of the previous comments, I’m not really “in love” with any of the six proposals. A wireframe might have been easier to review, so that we had a true understanding of the navigation. That said, if I had to select one of these I would vote for #2. It seems the cleanest and provides the most direct ways to reach the content. The one aspect of this design I don’t really get or like is the centrally positioned line of horizonal tabs that reads 35,000+ Members | 60,000 Blog Posts | etc. I don’t really need to know the numbers; I just need to be able to navigate to the sections. Save the statistics for the GovLoop promotion materials and exclude it from the navigation scheme.

Tara*

Please don’t change our GovLoop Green! It’s the soothing green glow that gets me through a hard day at work! 🙂

For format, I like the top half of #2 and the bottom half of #3. I also like the idea of presenting the events in calendar format.

#6 is good, too, but would put the “I want to go to…” section at the top where “Latest Conversations”. I think it’s helpful to new users to see that prominently displayed. If they have to scroll down, it might take them a while to find it. And I would only want the “Topics” if I could choose which ones I would see. Otherwise, I rather have it grouped by “Blog”, “Discussion”, etc… and search for topics on my own.