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NCI Launches Web Design, Usability Site

In an effort to improve the usefulness and accessibility of federal government health information on the World Wide Web, the National Cancer Institute has launched a new site called Usability.Gov. The site will serve primarily as an online resource for those involved in web site design and management at NCI, NIH and other federal agencies. However, anyone wishing to access the latest news, research-based guidelines and methods on how to design and test the usability of web sites is welcome.

"This is the first time an entire web design and usability package is presented on a single government site," said Susan Sieber, director of communications at NCI. "While the site is specifically designed to help NCI staff improve the way we present cancer-related information to the American public and cancer researchers, we're enthusiastic about also helping others improve the way they communicate through the web."

With more patients, researchers and health care professionals seeking information online, it is critical that government web sites are highly intuitive, easy-to-use and accessible to ensure success, according to Sieber. Research has shown that nearly 60 percent of users couldn't find the information they were looking for even though they were viewing a site where the information existed. "When patients or family members are looking for health information online, they can't afford to waste precious time sifting through a poorly designed web site," Sieber said. "Usability.Gov offers web site designers the information and tools they need to help ensure users find information quickly and easily."

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