Pew Debuts a Redesigned Web Site (Summer 2007 Trust Magazine briefing)

Aug 13, 2007

Go to www.pewtrusts.org for anything but the “same old, same old.” Pew’s Web site has been redesigned, the result of 18 months of research, planning, development and testing. It’s high-tech—and easy to use. Trust asked Deborah L. Hayes, managing director of Public Affairs, to discuss the changes.

Q: Why did Pew decide to redesign its site?

Hayes: A Web site is the face that any organization presents to the world, and more of the world is likely to get acquainted with us, at least at first, electronically. A Pew Internet & American Life Project survey finds that threefourths of all American adults have Internet access. Literally, we’re only a click away.

But we’re seeking more than a good first impression. We want people to understand who we are and what we do, and our Web site is an important way to do that.

The new site, in fact, is an investment in serving our visitors and in continuing Pew’s commitment to being accountable and transparent. We also want to build long-term relationships with our visitors.

Q: What do you mean by Web users understanding Pew?

Hayes: The new site presents the breadth and depth of Pew’s work, and our projects cover a range of issues. At the same time, it shows the institution as a coherent whole, with a mission and approach—and a legacy—that cut across our projects. And because it is dynamic, the site can be updated frequently, highlighting our new work and offering materials of past initiatives in a way that can be quickly accessed.

Q: What can visitors expect?

Hayes: For starters, the site is visually inviting, with photographs illustrating our projects, a slideshow of top stories and news of the week.

Second, the organization of the site is driven by users’ needs, so all of our initiatives are grouped within 18 top-level categories written in easily accessible language—the kind of words people are accustomed to using when they search for information online.

And third, our users told us they come to the site for research, polls, reports, issue updates and the like, so it features a Resource Library, where they can browse, search and find what they want. The expression “one stop-shopping” truly fits here.

Q: How detailed is the information?

Hayes: Pewtrusts.org presents the background and context of each project. It also has the documents that the project produced, so visitors can see what’s at stake for the public and the progress, to date, of the initiative. To investigate further, users simply click on the link to each project’s own Web site.

Q: What technological advances will help users?

Hayes: Well, a lot of the technology is invisible to the user, but there’s a world of difference from our previous site, which was last updated in 2000. Now, our visitors can receive Pew’s news and information in multiple ways or channels: customized e-mail alerts, multimedia clips, slide shows and RSS, “Really Simple Syndication”—that’s the channel that delivers news content directly to a subscriber’s desktop computer. And we plan to add podcasts. Our new technology enables us to build individual Web sites inhouse, which would be easily reachable through our main site. Through our events section, we will be able to communicate about our real-life meetings—press conferences, briefings and the like—with promotional materials, calendars, e-mails and registration.

Q: Finally, what would you like Trust readers to do?

Hayes: Be a Web user. Go to www.pewtrusts.org, try it out—and then click on the Feedback button and let us know what you think.

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