NIGMS unveils new Web site

National Institute of General Medical Sciences

The National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) has launched a new Web site designed to better highlight the institute's programs and increase usability with simplified navigation.

"We realized we needed a more 21st-century look," Web site manager Dan Hogan said. "The old site was looking kind of dated."

NIGMS, one of 27 centers in the National Institutes of Health, supports basic biomedical research and training. On the Web site, grantees, students, teachers, government officials and the general public can access information on grants, training and biomedical publications.

Hogan said since the last revamping two and a half years ago, NIGMS has changed and so have the needs of the Web site. For example, as funding opportunities grew, the need arose to break them down into four categories rather than simply list the opportunities on one lengthy page.

The institute enlisted focus groups to test the site's usability, Hogan said, and initial designs were rejected for not being clear and easy to navigate.

He said the developers tried to go beyond Section 508, which requires federal agencies to create Web sites that are accessible to people with visual impairments. On the top right corner of the page, the user can change the size of the text with one click, tailoring the site to meet each user's needs.

In addition, instead of manually coding pages individually as they did before, Web managers are now using a content manager database, making for a more consistent and easier-to-maintain Web site.

The site is organized into five sections: Research Funding, Training and Careers, Minority Programs, News and Events, and About NIGMS. The site's organization is intended to draw attention to previously overlooked programs, such as minority access to research careers and biomedical publications for students and teachers.

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