Dec 13 2011
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CDC Home Page Gets a Face Lift

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) launched a home page redesign yesterday that reflects the growing use of social media to access health information. The home page now prominently features the agency’s Twitter and Facebook feeds.

Additional changes include:

  • More browser compatibility
  • Brighter colors, as well as improved display to accommodate the growing number of people accessing the page on mobile devices
  • A new “Outbreaks” module that will continually update information on disease outbreaks—a valuable tool for people who don’t rely on other frequently updated sites such as Twitter and Facebook.

"Emphasizing Twitter and Facebook is important," says Karen Morrione, senior advisor for research and strategy in the electronic media branch at CDC, “because our guiding vision is to make sure our information is credible but also that our information is available where people are actually spending time. We want to make sure they have access to us no matter how they’re accessing us."

The page also has done away with some of the clutter of the previous version. “We wanted a much more modern look and I think we got it,” says Morrione.

The top of the page, which once had rotating stories, now has just one feature that will change regularly. (Today’s feature links to a video on exercising in spite of arthritis pain—a timely update, given a study published last week in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Report that found that pain keeps many of the 50 million people in the U.S. with arthritis from exercising.)

The stories that once rotated at the top of the page are now located to the left of the home page and will change frequently. Current stories include ones on holiday road safety and lead hazards in some holiday toys.

Last year, CDC.gov received over 550 million page views, and the most popular topics included the agency’s A-Z search function, navigable from the home page, BMI calculators and salmonella. Early next year CDC will release an iPad app to make it easier for health professionals to share data with consumers.

CDC is asking users to take a survey and let them know what you think about the new changes.

>>BONUS Recommended Reading: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services offers a guide to writing and designing easy-to-use health websites. Read the guide here.

>>Weigh in: What other public health websites might benefit from a redesign and what changes would you suggest?

Tags: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Health Literacy, Marketing, Public health, Technology