Welcome to the New Cancer.gov
May 15, 2015, by Peter F. Garrett, Director, NCI OCPL
Millions of people depend on the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the nation’s leading cancer research institution, for trusted cancer information. There have been many changes in how people get information about cancer, and NCI has changed along with them. Today, we are launching a new, dynamic, and easier-to-use version of NCI’s central websites, Cancer.gov and its counterpart in Spanish, Cancer.gov/espanol.
In redesigning our new website, we queried our website users from four groups: cancer patients, friends, and family; cancer researchers; policymakers, advocates, and people wanting information about cancer research; and partners and potential partners in business, nonprofits, and government. To identify the best ways to explain how cancer research and treatment work, we asked our users to give us feedback on different approaches.
We used the results of this research to focus on three priorities:
- Putting users first
- Making information easier to find
- Responding to how people get cancer information
On the new website, you will also find more information about the research NCI funds and conducts, and an overall explanation of the cancer research process. But most important, NCI’s new website still brings you the same trusted, evidence-based cancer information that you have become accustomed to receiving from us.
Putting Users First
In redesigning, a website that quickly and easily provides the information all of our users seek was the first priority.
- Patients, Friends and Family
Patients and their caregivers need to find timely, authoritative, and science-based information about their type of cancer, as well as basic information about what cancer is, what causes it, how it is treated, and how to manage it.
Researchers need information on NCI’s funding and training opportunities, key initiatives, and research tools.
- Policymakers, Advocates and People Interested in Cancer Research
Advocates and policy makers need accessible content that summarizes what NCI is, what it does, its key initiatives, and the most important milestones in cancer research and discovery.
- Partners and Collaborators
Partners and potential partners in business, nonprofit organizations and government need to know about NCI’s key initiatives and opportunities for collaboration.
Making Information Easier Than Ever to find
Because NCI has such an abundance of information for so many different types of users, our new website helps each find the information they want simply and more intuitively.
To give users shorter and clearer paths to information they seek, we created dropdown mega menus accessible from all pages that provide an at-a-glance overview of the entire site. On each page, “breadcrumbs” at the top and navigation menus at the left tell users where they are on the site to help them easily find relevant related information.
Responding to How People Get Cancer Information
Another major change is that our website is now responsive, which means that all of its content can be viewed easily on any device. The layout will automatically resize for viewing on desktops, laptops, tablets, and mobile phones. Whether our website visitors are at their desks, on their phones, or browsing their tablets, they will get the same great information presented the same way.
We have also followed user suggestions to make the website more appealing visually throughout, with engaging images, infographics, and videos telling our story. The typeface is larger and more readable than on the previous site, and it’s simple for people to make the text even larger if they need to.
While the easier navigation helps all of our users quickly identify and reach the information they seek, our new “feature cards” let us highlight fresh and interesting content. And to keep this content current, we’ll update the information in these zones often. In addition, blogs—not just this one, but blogs of other NCI divisions, offices, and centers—will bring even more NCI perspectives and information to you.
Finally, we’ve improved our social media-sharing capabilities. It’s now much easier for site users to share a page or a piece of information via email, Facebook, Twitter, Google +, and Pinterest.
I would like you to please take the new Cancer.gov for a test drive. Kick the tires, check the brakes, and let us know what you think; you can give us your thoughts by taking the ACSI Survey on the site or by contacting us via phone, email, or LiveHelp.
Today, more and more people get their health information online, and for many seeking the latest cancer information, Cancer.gov is their first, most trusted source. We have researched, tested, and made all of the changes that I’ve discussed in order to better meet your needs.
Cancer.gov is your website and we hope you like it.
Peter F. Garrett is the Director, NCI Office of Communications and Public Liaison