Thoughts on the National Archives Web Redesign

The National Archives is undertaking an interesting project--asking the public to vote on their webpage redesign. They have narrowed the choices to four designs and are bringing in the public as part of an admirable open government initiative. There is even a discussion forum (please vote up my request that they not use Flash!).

I applaud the idea but the implementation is flawed. The designs as presented are too small to discern much, and the links to larger images do not work update: the links are fixed. The larger images are PDF files hosted at Google Docs, which won't tell us much about the usability of the sites. (Sample question: Will any of these use Flash? Hope not!)

What I really do like however is the is the data analysis and feedback section about web redesign they released, which is a rich if disorganized set of information about NARA and its users. I also like that each design incorporates social media features and includes content that will be constantly refreshing, such as "latest blog posts."

If you have a few minutes and care about out national archive, go check out the redesign page and cast your vote.