From the Governor’s press release trumpeting the new site:
The site has an inviting new look backed by an efficient architecture focused on improving citizen usability. It provides citizens with easy-to-use Web access to Virginia government information and services. An all-new mobile version also has been launched. This website, also known as the state portal, directs visitors to the many online offerings of Virginia agencies faster and more efficiently.
The new website enhances Virginia’s image as one of the nation’s best states in which to operate a business and raise a family. It provides direct access to information that businesses looking to start up, locate or expand can use, enhancing economic development and job creation efforts.
Five rounds of formal citizen usability testing were conducted on the desktop and mobile versions. Citizen users participated in a series of real-world scenarios during each test. Their responses drove enhancements.
“We have measurably improved our service delivery through this new website by focusing on the user’s experience with government tasks,” Governor McDonnell said. “Use of this quantifiable process will help us continue to improve going forward.”
The new www.virginia.gov site loads more quickly, both on desktop and mobile versions. Task times to complete and success rates of task completion also are improved. The same tasks were tested on the previous version of the website and the new site in order to validate the comparison. A user survey is prominently displayed on the home page of the website; ongoing refinements and enhancements will continue based on further usability best practices.
That sounds like marketing gobbledygook for “this got turned into a platypus reaaaaal quick, folks — reason #352 why you don’t build websites by committee.”
I dunno about anyone else, but I’m not a fan. The site looks way too blocky, and there’s not a whole lot of style behind it. The old website design was far superior when it came to look, feel, and style… though everyone could have appreciated a slightly larger font.
No worries — in three months, we’ll have all forgotten the old. Or maybe not… this is Virginia after all.