Coast Guard intranet wins kudos

The clean design and personalized features of the Coast Guard's intranet caught the attention of the Nielsen Norman Group, which this month named the network one of the 10 best intranets.

The Coast Guard intranet, known as Mission Advance Collaboration Network or CG Central, was the only government intranet to be honored for its usability and design.

"It was surprisingly good-looking for a government intranet," said Kara Pernice Coyne, director of research at Nielsen Norman. "It's very clean."

Nielsen Norman reviewed about 100 submissions, about 10 percent of which pertained to government intranets, Coyne said. The judgment process included initial design reviews and numeric ratings, follow-up questions with the top 30, and thorough design reviews and interviews with the top 10 contenders. Judges evaluated the intranets based on usability and design, and considered the users, their tasks and how well the intranet helped them.

CG Central stood out among the nominees first for its pleasing design. A Coast Guard seal makes the site feel official while the blue-and-gray color scheme connotes the water, Coyne said.

The site also includes a Feature from the Field — stories of Coast Guard personnel — which serves to connect the organization.

Lt. Tom Shelton, CG Central Web program manager, said the redesign was about connecting people with information and other people. "We are moving beyond the Web as something that is nice to have as a place to put stuff to an integral part of the Coast Guard communication system," he said.

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