Homeland Security

CBP unveils revamped website

futuristic touchscreens

Customs and Border Protection has taken the wraps off a new, more user-friendly, data-intensive public webpage as part of a Department of Homeland Security effort to make its component agency's websites more efficient.

CBP's website overhaul, according to Melanie Roe, the agency's assistant commissioner for public relations, was the first in the 11 years since agency was first formed. The upgrade, she said, moves the page over to the open-source Drupal content management framework that is far more flexible and efficient than the old platform.

The upgrade site is hosted on DHS facilities, she said, but CBP designed the page and the supporting pages on its own.

Using the new platform, Roe said CBP can update page information in minutes instead of hours. That capability is especially important for the agency's oversight of seaports, she said. Cargo shippers and travelers will be able to tell with more accuracy the status of ports that might be closed because of weather conditions.

The overall look of the site, said Roe, was aimed at providing site users, which includes the general traveling public and international trade interests, with faster access to information on the wide range of duties the agency performs, from information on travel documentation to export/import trade forms. The latest information on its Automated Commercial Environment, CBP's primary single-window system for reporting imports and exports is also included

According to CBP, the new design keeps the older site's clickable upper navigation links to travel, trade, border security, and careers, but adds new sub-navigation structures that access deeper content areas.

CBP said the new site contains 30,000 pieces of content, including article pages, documents, video and links to other content.

The redesign also incorporates blocks of content customized to individual pages, allowing supporting information on articles, such as news releases, associated links and topic Q&As to be displayed on the side of a page.

The redesign also optimizes page viewing for tablets and smartphone, as well as quicker page loading, especially for international users.

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a staff writer at FCW.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, tele.com magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at mrockwell@fcw.com or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.

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