Home Page Going Mobile

EPA responsive homepage at tablet size

EPA responsive homepage at tablet size

By Danny Hart

Did you know we have a mobile website? For the last several years, this small version of our full site has provided a limited set of resources that work well on small screens. But it’s always been missing many features we have on the normal home page.

As part of our efforts to make our site work well on both a normal-sized monitor and on a mobile device like a phone or tablet, we’ve been rebuilding our whole website to be responsive. Which means the page changes based on what device you’re using to view it, navigation changes, images scale, content blocks wrap etc. And the home page presented some special challenges.

The responsive design offers you one major advantage over the special mobile site we currently offer: it will provide exactly the same information and links as today’s full-sized design.

We’re almost ready to launch it, but before we do, I wanted to invite you to poke around and let us know what you think. Here are a few points to keep in mind:

  • You’ll see some features that look different on a small screen. That’s intentional. After all, large images don’t work well on many mobile devices. But everything should work, links should be clickable, etc.
  • Where we can, we link to responsive pages from the home page. For example, our news releases have a responsive version that you should see when you follow a home page link. Same goes for our blog posts. But it’s not universal; we haven’t finished redesigning our entire website.
  • In some cases, sets of links are collapsed into bars that open when you tap them. That’s another conscious choice as we thought through how to make things work best on small screens.

With that said, here’s the responsive design. Please share your thoughts in the comments!

 

About the author: Danny Hart is the Acting Director for the Office of Web Communications in the Office of Public Affairs.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

New and Improved ENERGY STAR Product Finder

Eamon Monahan

Eamon Monahan, EPA

By: Eamon Monahan

The ENERGY STAR label is great because it’s simple – nearly everyone knows that a product with the little blue square has been independently certified to meet strict energy efficiency requirements. But if you are looking for more information about these products, you should check out EPA’s recently updated product finder. It is a fantastic resource for those interested in more of the technical details and features of specific products, in a broad range of categories – including electronics, appliances, lighting, and heating and cooling equipment. With the rollout of the ENERGY STAR product finder over the course of 2013, EPA has made data easier to find, understand, and use than ever before.

Compared to the old Excel-based approach, the ENERGY STAR product finder represents a huge improvement in usability. The basic view is designed to resemble the kind of experience that consumers are familiar with while browsing retail sites. Users are able to sort and filter results based on the key criteria they are interested in, as well as compare results for up to four different products. A keyword search also allows you to zero in on a particular brand name or model number, even a portion of a model number.

For the more technically inclined, an advanced view allows open access to the complete data set for each ENERGY STAR product category. The Excel-based lists are still available here, but the data can also be downloaded in five other formats for easy machine-readability. Users can create unique data visualizations and custom reports based on real-time data, and they are encouraged to create accounts to save and share their work.

Access to the dataset’s API (application programming interface) also allows users to create their own tools and apps based on certified product data. An app could, for example, help people identify what size refrigerator they should look for to replace an old one, then provide a list of ENERGY STAR certified models that meet that criteria.

EPA hopes individuals and businesses will take full advantage of this improved access to product performance data, to make it easier than ever for consumers to make informed decisions on energy efficient products. To get started browsing through ENERGY STAR certified products or developing your own innovative mobile app based on EPA’s data, visit the ENERGY STAR website.

Eamon Monahan works on program integrity and communications for the ENERGY STAR products program. He oversees the testing and certification process for all 65 product categories and assisted in the development of the ENERGY STAR product finder tool. 

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

New Home Page

Click for a larger view

As we continue the process of rebuilding our entire website to better serve your needs, we’ve kept our focus on the mantra ‘think first of your audiences and their top tasks.’

In a post back in 2010, Jeffrey Levy told you about how we approached our home page design, using data to make decisions.

We use tools like: popular search terms, web metrics, a customer satisfaction survey, and ‘heat maps’ (scans that show where people are clicking on the current home page).

To add to that, I recently helped with a series of usability tests on different types of content on the site. This is one more critical tool to help give you what you need when you come to epa.gov.

We’ve adjusted the home page since 2010, adding things like the map that lets you roll your mouse around to get state-by-state updates. Now it’s time to again apply what we’ve learned. We took all that good historic knowledge and combined it with what we learned in the usability tests to create a new, more usable home page.

Some highlights of the new design:

  • A smaller banner: it’s smaller than it was in 2010, but shrinking it even more frees up critical space ‘above the fold’ while still giving us a place to tell you about some of the most important topics affecting the environment.
  • Task-specific navigation: Next to the banner are several links that will help different audiences accomplish their tasks.
  • An entire section on what you can do, divided into “At Home”, “At School or Work” and “In Your Community”.
  • Links related to our three main pillars of Science, Health, and the Environment are directly under the banner and use our visual ‘chunk’ concept we’ll be using throughout the site.

Our main goal was to give you easy access to what you need in a clean uncluttered and visually appealing page. While it’s not live quite yet I do have a mock up to share. Want to take a peek?

Please tell us what you think.

 

About the author: Danny Hart is EPA’s Associate Director of Web Communications

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

Have You Seen … Kids.gov ???

kidsgov

Kids.gov is the official kids’ portal for the U.S. government. It links to over 2,000 web pages from government agencies, schools, and educational organizations, all geared to the learning level and interest of kids.

Check it out at: http://www.kids.gov/

Wendy Dew is the Environmental Education and Outreach Coordinator for Region 8 in Denver, Colorado.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

Introducing the New Student's Website

flowEPA has launched a new student’s website where you can find games, homework reference resources, awards, events and contests!

Parents and teachers can also find resources and lesson plans.  Get the latest and greatest environmental info!

Check out the new EPA student’s website at http://www.epa.gov/students/

Tell us how you like it.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.