New Design

Image of the new homepage desing overlapping the old homepage design

"" serves as the nation’s portal to emergency information in times of disaster. In the month that followed Hurricane Katrina’s landfall along the Gulf Coast in August, 2005, more than 14 million visits and 400 million hits were logged on the website. For five straight weeks, more than 500,000 individuals, per week, applied for assistance or checked the status of their application using our online registration system.

To better serve those who look to our website for timely and accurate emergency and disaster information, we will be launching a completely re-engineered website on April 6th, 2006. Among many other improvements, the new site will showcase a completely restructured, customer-driven and easy-to-use navigation system and a new streamlined look and feel developed by the Department of Homeland Security.

The restructuring of the site will make it easier for citizens, emergency personnel, businesses, and federal, state, and local government agencies to quickly get to the information they need on the agency’s disaster training, preparation, mitigation, response, and recovery efforts and services.

The FEMA website will be the first Department of Homeland Security (DHS) site to roll out the Department’s new web branding that features a simple, yet distinctive interface. The common usage of typography, color and page layout found throughout our new pages will eventually be used across all of the component agency’s sites.

The redesigned will also meet President Bush’s directive to use electronic media to provide citizens with timely, accurate, and consistent information about government services and operations.  It will also meet Secretary Chertoff’s directive to improve customer service and ensure timely and accurate information during an emergency.

Milestones in the development of the new website

FEMA conducted a year-long usability study of the site and is implementing recommendations from victims of disasters and those involved in disaster response and recovery efforts. The development of the new site has been in high gear since October 2005 and implements several lessons learned from last year’s hurricane season.

Several steps that were taken along the way to get the new site to where it is now, included:

(1) Information gathering and needs analysis:

(2) Definition of site goals:

(3) Iterative usability testing:

(4) Internal training:

(5) Content development and management:

(6) Information architecture development:

(7) Streamlining the Homepage:

The new homepage has been designed to quickly get visitors to the information they are seeking.

After the launch, FEMA will conduct ongoing usability testing of the site and analysis of Web metrics (including user research, customer comments, Web traffic reports, and the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), an industry standard for measuring Web site performance over time) to continually improve the site. FEMA will listen to and work with users of the site to ensure that it continues to be an effective communication tool for disseminating information about the agency’s national and regional emergency management efforts and services.

Check back for a more detailed outline of the strategic plan for the future of the website.

Last Modified: Wednesday, 05-Apr-2006 10:39:56 EDT