NASA's new site gets personal

NASA wants to give Web surfers a more personal experience when they browse agency news.

The agency launched NASA 5.0, the latest version of its Web site, Nov. 30. It features expanded personalization options for registered users.

“More than a graphic facelift, NASA.gov 5.0 will offer users a new level of interactivity,” according to an internal memo that NASA headquarters sent Nov. 8. The memo also gives employees a preview of the site.

In the old version of the Web site, registered users could choose what news topics would be displayed on their main pages but had few other opportunities to customize. The new NASA.gov allows users to comment on articles and bookmark content to keep track of favorite stories and video postings. Surfers can also link or submit content to social media Web sites such as Digg and del.icio.us.

NASA also overhauled the site’s layout and appearance. Topics are now broken down into 10 categories, represented by icons. Users can browse events and news items via a calendar or a widget called a tag cloud.

The application keeps track of most-searched content based on subject tags and displays them in a box on the front page. The more popular the search subject, the larger the tag that appears in the box.

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