Update Your Bookmarks, FDA Has a New Website
[Thursday, May 2, 2019]
This Monday FDA released its new redesigned website. The content has been reorganized, with new colors, images and other improvements, but the changes will require reacquainting one with the website. Many bookmarks have been transferred to the new website, but many old bookmarks don’t work. The key pages have been made less wordy with hyperlinks for additional information. The emphasis seems to be to make it more friendly for smaller screen devices such as mobile phones and tablets over computer screens. According to the FDA the redesign was primarily done since it had to update its web content management system (WCMS) anyway, so it decided to upgrade the site as well to make it more consumer friendly. Unlike regulators in any other country, FDA uses its website as the primary mode of interacting with consumers and industry. FDA is the owner of the largest regulatory website in the World, with thousands of pages of content organized in various ways. The FDA website gets about 5 million visits each month. Since most webpages are primarily seen over smaller devices, an upgrade to fit the smaller screen makes sense, hence the less wordy pages with more graphics and images. In addition, FDA announced that it is organized content based on popularity, so the most popular pages are easier to find while the less frequently visited pages are archived or removed. We already could not find a few pages we had bookmarked. The new website is supposed to be more searchable due to better metatags, but it is hard to rate that. It seems that the upgrade is at most limited to the top two or three layers with most of the in-depth pages buried deep inside the website still in the older format. The searches on the website present results differently and for those, like us, very used to the old website, it would take some effort to relearn the location of critical information. Many of new web pages will take some time before they are picked up by the search engines. Many of the older webpages were still visible in Google and Bing searches but when clicked led to “Page not found” areas. Regular users of the FDA website should check if the current bookmarks still work or re-find and update the bookmarks. Also, users should practice the new navigation tools on the FDA website. While being more friendly with smaller screen devices, the website is not as attractive on the large computer screens, in our opinion, but that’s probably the annoyance of having to learn FDA website all over again. Overall, FDA website is still very important interface and the changes will not affect its importance to the stakeholders.