Long Awaited Upgrade for OCR Website

The Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights website has completed a redesigned recently, upgrading with new features, a responsive design and a more user-friendly feel.

The redesign was part of the Reimagined HHS.gov project. The aim was to introduce a website that is faster, easier to use, and makes content sharing and syndication much more simple. The HHS site-wide overhaul has begun over a year so far, with the OCR the first HHS department to receive its site upgrade.

The upgrade and redesign was carried in phases, with phase 1 of the project completed in May, 2015. OCRs overhaul was completed on schedule and went live this week in time for the January 6 launch.

The new crisp, clean, and simplistic design displays  information more clearly, while a fast and powerful search function has been incorporated to ensure people visiting the site can quickly and easily gain access to the information they require. Typing in a search term will offer numerous predictive suggestions based on the most common searches of the site, ensuring the most relevant data can be quickly retrieved.

In order to quicken the search function, HHS had to trim down the site content substantially. Over 154,000 obsolete and outdated files were taken down from the site as part of the overhaul.

Visitors conducting searches are presented with OCR-specific data at the top of the search results page, with relevant information from other government websites also listed (OIG, CDC, HealthIT, samhsa, his, Etc.). The website much more easy to use, one-stop-shop for information on Health Information Privacy and Civil Rights.

A responsive format was selected to ensure the website could be easily accessed on the widest possible variety of devices. Content is shown clearly on laptops, desktops, Smartphones, tablets, and mobile devices, regardless of screen-size.

The OCR section of the HHS website receives an estimated 2 million visitors every year, and includes 8 out of the top 10 most popular pages on the entire HHS site. The OCR site is accessed by the public, healthcare providers, and other professionals, so it was important to segregate content to make it more relevant for each specific visitor. Information and resources have been categorized and split into sections for individuals, professionals and providers to make it quicker and easier to find the most relevant information.

The new design was selected after extensive research, and development has been guided by web analytics, user surveys, market research and usability testing. HHS also researched similar projects carried out by digital leaders such as NPR and Wired Magazine.

Jocelyn Samuels, Director of OCR stated:  “Our website is a critical component of our outreach, education and enforcement efforts.” She added: “The new features and capabilities of the website will help visitors quickly and easily find the information they are looking for. We are committed to providing the most useful tools as possible for our audiences and this new site will help us in achieving this goal.”