OPM overhauls Web site

Office of Personnel Management Web site

The Office of Personnel Management today unveiled its new Web site — designed to be more user-friendly and easy to navigate.

OPM chief information officer Janet Barnes called the site "our new doorway" and said it follows many of the principles outlined in the President's Management Agenda.

"President Bush wants results, and he wants us to use technology," she said, speaking at an event to highlight the new site and the agency's progress on five e-government initiatives.

Although the Web site is not one those initiatives, "we believe our design captures some of the principles nonetheless," Barnes said.

The redesign began 13 months ago with in-depth customer surveys and focus groups, said OPM's Web site manager Vivian Mackey. The department went to great lengths to ensure information was well grouped and organized, she said.

"A lot of the content already existed," Mackey said. "We've tried to make the relationship to that content easier."

Mackey could not give a cost estimate for the Web site overhaul.

The top of the Web site provides a link for new users, since OPM officials discovered that more than one-third of visitors have never been to the site before, Barnes said.

Six boxes on the bottom of the page link the user to the most frequently sought information, including federal forms, news and events, human resources tools and resources, OPM publications, e-gov initiatives, and products and services. The search tools were also made easier to find and use, Mackey said. The center of the page is dedicated to special features, such as messages from OPM Director Kay Coles James.

Mackey said the redesign team looked for best practices and features at other Web sites, including FirstGov, which aims to deliver any type of information to users in no more than three clicks.

"We believe three clicks to service is [an] excellent [motto] to follow," she said. "We've attempted to do that."

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