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Mobile-Friendly Park Websites on NPS.gov

Mobile-friendly NPS.gov website on phone
Park websites on NPS.gov from A (Acadia) to Z (Zion) are now mobile-friendly. Visitors using phones and tablets to visit national park websites now have a user-friendly experience to enhance their virtual visits. Previously, visitors using mobile devices saw a smaller version of the website scaled to fit the size of their screen. Now, the content will adjust to fit small screens while providing the same functionality available to those visiting the site using a desktop or laptop.

Other types of sites that use the NPS.gov content management system will become mobile-friendly in the coming weeks. This includes both subject and organization sites, such as the Centennial subject site and the Office of Communications organization site, and national-level pages, such as Find a Park.

A team of National Park Service (NPS) designers, developers, and testers made this project possible.

Project Overview

Improving the quality of the overall user experience of NPS.gov is a major priority of NPS leadership as the bureau approaches its centennial in 2016. The project to make NPS.gov mobile-friendly helps address the National Park Service’s Call to Action Item 17: Go Digital, which outlines the need to “create a user-friendly Web platform that supports online and mobile technology including social media.” The project will allow NPS.gov to function well on the wide variety of devices, browsers, and network speeds used by visitors to access NPS Web content. Our approach to accomplish that goal is known as responsive Web design (RWD). Instead of having separate websites for each type of device, RWD features a more fluid design that adapts to a wide range of devices.

Benefits

Mobile-friendly sites on NPS.gov:

  • Search engine results indicating that an NPS park website is mobile-friendly
    Provide a better user experience on web-enabled devices of all shapes and sizes. Right now, almost 40% of NPS.gov visitors use tablets or mobile devices to access the site. The responsive design will better serve those visitors.
  • Ensure that audiences whose only Internet access is through mobile devices have good usability on NPS.gov.
  • Appear higher in Web searches on those search engines that factor mobile friendliness when displaying results.
  • Use the same Web design code as all sites using the NPS content management system, rather than having different code for desktops/laptops and for mobile devices.
  • Improve speed and performance for visitors.
  • Are ready for whatever devices come in the future!

Timeline

  • Park websites: As of April 20, 2015, all NPS park websites are mobile-friendly. Internal accessibility and usability testing on the mobile-friendly park websites has already been performed. External testing using a pool of 60 NPS volunteers is now being conducted.
  • NPS.gov homepage, subject, and organization sites: The design and testing of the styles and code that will make the NPS.gov homepage, subject sites, and organization sites mobile-friendly is complete. Those pages and sites will be updated between now and the end of May 2015.
  • National pages: Other national-level pages on NPS.gov managed by the Web team (for example, Find a Park and About Us) will be made mobile-friendly by the end of May 2015.

The new centennial design that will launch in January 2016 will also be mobile-friendly.

About NPS.gov

NPS.gov is the public Web presence of the parks and programs of the National Park Service as well as the primary destination for virtual visitors looking to plan trips to parks or learn more about our nation’s natural and cultural heritage. NPS.gov includes websites for the more than 400 places the NPS cares for and the programs that make that possible. Management is distributed among NPS employees in parks, regions, and national offices across the United States. A quick look at 2014’s NPS.gov figures show:

  • 100,000+ Web pages
  • 75 million website visitors
  • 125 million sessions
  • 490 million pageviews

Todd Edgar is the NPS.gov Web manager in the National Park Service Office of Communications.

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