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November 29, 2012

NASA Gets Public Input to Improve its Website

By Ed Silverstein, TMCnet Contributor


NASA wants input from the public as it prepares to redesign its popular website, NASA.gov. So it is posting ideas received from the public on everything from content to design to software it uses.

Between Nov. 19 and Nov. 26, NASA received 228 proposals from about 970 users. They posted 269 comments and cast 7,000 votes on the suggestions.

The organization is using Ideascale to post the comments.

Here are some examples of comments that are favored by many members of the public.

“NASA already collects more data than it can interpret. Make more databases widely available to the public, and encourage app builders, programmers and students to build and share apps that make that data understandable. Centralize current data crowdsourcing projects. Develop, or encourage the development of an open-source SDK for NASA data.”

Another possibility is a live feed round-the-clock from the International Space Station. It could offer views from cameras inside, outside, some pointed toward Earth and some pointed toward space. Another possibility is to have more historical content available on the website. And some suggestions relate to technology.

One suggestion is that NASA move away from Adobe (News - Alert) Flash, and instead use HTML5, and another wanted to see more use of open HTML5 standards.

NASA is happy to receive the comments.

"The digital universe has changed significantly since we overhauled www.NASA.gov in 2007," David Weaver, NASA's associate administrator for communications, explained in an agency statement. "Our focus now is to better integrate our web and social media efforts, while continuing to improve the site's overall look and feel and navigation capabilities. We welcome the public's input on how best to do this."

In August, the landing of the Curiosity rover on Mars led to more than 15 million visits to the website. At one point there were 1.2 million simultaneous webcast streams, which is over double the previous record.

Also, NASA has 1.3 million Facebook (News - Alert) likes, 3.1 million Twitter followers and more than 280,000 people in its circle on Google+, the agency said.

One of NASA's new focuses relates to social media. Another interest is in the use of smartphones to access content. Visits to the site through mobile devices jumped 10 times between 2011 and 2012, and now represent 10 percent of all site visits, the agency added.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO Miami 2013, Jan 29- Feb. 1 in Miami, Florida.  Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO (News - Alert). Follow us on Twitter.




Edited by Braden Becker



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