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GovLaunch – Energy.gov Refresh

Pretty fascinating refresh of energy.gov today.

Some initial thoughts:

-I’ve never seen the normal header not be the top most part of a gov’t website. Pretty innovative

-What is even cooler is when you scroll down, the actual normal looking header becomes the header and stays there. pretty slick.

-Love the interactive maps/data for topics like energy expenditure per person

-I’m curious what are most popular parts of the site. I really like govt websites that highlight the top 5 most common tasks really prominently. energy.gov may already be doing this I’m guessing just not naming it “most popular”

-I’m guessing this will change as they are in outreach mode right now but when I hit the FB, Twitter, email buttons, I was hoping to sign up for energy information and not share the page.

-I like the color green they use. Feels fresh and feels like ‘energy’

-Only downside I would say which is not totally a negative is that it’s such a different feeling for a government website. Both the colors, fonts, and layout. Which on initial take makes it hard to find the stuff I’m looking for.

What do you think?

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Kristy Dalton

I love the sticky header and would like to learn how to replicate it. The site bears resemblance to http://www.acquia.com. Alex Howard said they worked closely with them on the site. I like the clean look that doesn’t go into information overload. I like the focus on ‘search’ because they get that it shouldn’t be the ONLY tool. One problem I ran into is the fueling stations didn’t load when I entered my zip code and hit enter, until I clicked ‘Go’ with the mouse. Also, couldn’t edit zip code once location entered once.

Stephanie Slade

I get the distinct sense that everything is way too big. The text, the images. I’m taken aback. Other than that, I like the look. Maybe I just need to zoom out on my browser.

Kristy Dalton

It resizes nicely to 1024px width, which means netbooks can view it okay. I like aquia’s site sizing better, as it resizes all the way down to 800px, meaning even old schoolers won’t have to scroll.

Alexander B. Howard

Steve, the new FCC.gov website had a “most popular” section but people had to start using it for that to become clear. Check back in a week.

The interactive bit is actually quite cutting edge — uses open energy data baked in and displayed with Node.js. you won’t see that in many commercial .coms, much less .gov. http://oreil.ly/pGSeDg

Jeff Ribeira

Overall, I think the site is pretty awesome. Some great features particularly with data and interactivity that can keep a person like me occupied for quite some time…

Still have mixed feelings about the huge image at the top…it’s kind of a lame picture, and I’m still wondering why they chose to limit the main, most prominent search to finding nearby refueling stations? My only idea/hope is that they plan on switching this section out periodically to feature other initiatives and sweet data visualization projects (which I really hope they do).

Carol Davison

As a person with visual and dexterity disabiliteis I feel disrespected that DOE forces me to focus on and mouse through a page that has negative It appears that they didn’t vet this page through people with disabilities before launching it. And why make ANYONE work harder to find the information they are seeking than they must? I don’t want my government cool. I want it effective and efficient.

Kristy Dalton

@Carol, I’m sure the folks behind energy.gov didn’t intend to disrespect you, and I’m sure they’d love to hear about the challenges with the site – their homepage says they’re asking for feedback, and so does their webpage on accessibility: http://energy.gov/about-us/web-policies. When Utah.gov launched, we let them know right away about some accessibility problems and they worked on correcting them the same day. I urge you to share your issues with the energy.gov team.