Sunday, June 17, 2007

CIRM Has a New Look on the Internet

The California stem cell agency has a new look on its Web page, a redesign dictated by the eServices Office of the Golden State.

The ostensible reason is to create uniformity among state Web sites. So the eServices Office dictated, among other things, that a photograph of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and a link to his site be placed on the home page of each state agency.

By November, all state departments must be marching together online.

Based on an initial look, CIRM's new design seems graphically friendly, although it will require a little re-orientation for those who those who are accustomed to the old look.

Several issues emerged, however. The most egregious problem is a failure to post prominently an email address that can be used to contact the agency. The email address should be on the "contact" page. At first we did not think it was anywhere on the site. But we finally found it buried deep on the "regulations" page.

The home page also does not have a link to upcoming meetings. Those can be found by clicking on "calendar" and then on "2007 Past Meetings." The transcripts of meetings are also found under "calendar," which is a tad non-intuitive. Once you are on the transcripts page, the transcripts are listed in a table that reads oddly -- at least to us. The widely separated columns in the table -- a format that seems to invite reading down -- are actually organized to read left to right. The wide separation between the columns, however, creates a barrier to the eye.

The "what's new" feature on the home page is similar to the previous effort. The question is whether it will continue to display only new press releases and statements, which is useful. But what would be really useful would be to post a "what's new" listing whenever a change is made to the Web site, such as when a fresh transcript or meeting agenda is posted.

For inexplicable reasons, the upper right hand corner has links to "content," "footer" and "accessibility." "Content" really should be called "about." "Accessibility" does not need to occupy such prime real estate on the home page. As for "footer," who knows what that refers to.

We have no doubt that CIRM is interested in feedback on the design and how to make it more useful. Send your comments to -- an email address that is now nearly "secret."

If you are interested in a PDF copy of the Web site marching orders from the Golden State's eService office, please send a message to

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous11:18 AM

    Thanks for your comments and suggestions. The site is still being reviewed, so any input is greatly appreciated. Several of the items you mentioned have been corrected.

    As for the upper right hand links of "content" and etc, those are part of the New Template standards. I'll forward your suggestions about the "What's New" to CIRM for consideration.

    Thanks again!


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