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NSF.gov – Usability Case Study

Many government websites are informational in nature – you don’t sign up for things or buy anything. Instead, you look for something – a name, a ruling, some contact information. Informational sites – and scientific sites in particular – can be a challenge to design. With so much information, how do you make the important content stand out?

The National Science Foundation’s NSF.gov site conducted a usability test with some help from the DigitalGov User Experience Program. Here are some screenshots showing how the design improved as a result of the test.


  • Users assumed that pages with studies from 2006 or before hadn’t been updated in years and weren’t relevant


  • New “Most Current” label let users know that, even if a report was many years old, it could still be the most current data available

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