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Top Story: OCCnet Redesigned with Agency Needs in Mind
11/14/2013By Margaret Stewart
Web and Electronic Publishing
Imagine going to a library and trying to find an article, but the library’s content is located in one large file cabinet. In this scenario, you may or may not find what you are looking for, and the task of searching for what you need will be challenging at best.
Until recently, content on the OCCnet was also organized in one large directory file, which made finding, managing, and using information on the Web site inefficient. The Web and Electronic Publishing (WEP) Team, responsible for managing the Web sites, has been working to resolve this problem.
Web and Electronic Publishing Services representatives Christina Rasche (foreground) and Jennifer Hales discuss the Human Resources OCCnet pages with Maureen O’Connor (right) who works in Compensation and Benefits.
Earlier this year, the team launched a redesigned OCCnet, which is supported by a new content management system (CMS), Percussion Rhythmyx. This new system that structures the content in a database, along with new methods for organizing the information by topic, and recently created governance, are increasing the site’s usefulness.
The OCCnet redesign project is one part of a WEP initiative to update all of the content on the OCC’s Web sites, including OCC.gov, Helpwithmybank.com, and the Examiner’s Library, according to Dana Hallman, Web and Electronic Publishing Manager. “We’re overhauling the Web sites on both the front-end and back-end,” Hallman says.
When she arrived at the OCC eight years ago, there was a single person posting items to the OCCnet. As the OCC continued to grow over the years, so did its need for advanced Web expertise and best practice guidance as well as automated systems to manage content. Without these resources in place, redundancies and out-of-date information became commonplace on the OCCnet.
However, now the WEP team has staff with expertise in Web site design and development, and it has implemented standards that adhere to best practices. In addition, the new CMS is helping the team better publish, organize, and manage the information from cradle to grave. “We are leveraging the same CMS that is deployed on OCC.gov and Helpwithmybank.gov, to make improvements on the OCCnet,” says Hallman.
Currently, WEP is moving already-published OCCnet content to the new CMS. During this process, the team is meeting and working with the OCC’s business units to remove out-of-date, unnecessary, or redundant items. “We use a Content Analysis and Transformation (CAT) process that utilizes a ROT method, which stands for removal of Redundant, Outdated and Trivial content,” explains Hallman.
The WEP team is also assisting with writing new content as needed. “We are utilizing a user-centered design process, which is a best practice for Web site development,” says Margaret Stewart, a Web Content Specialist with expertise in usability engineering. “OCC employees from across the country who represent numerous professional disciplines have tested versions of the new OCCnet at various stages of development.” Even with the latest release of the OCCnet, Stewart notes that the testing will continue for the foreseeable future, which will give all OCC employees more opportunities to provide feedback on the new site.
The redesigned OCCnet boasts several new features.
Pages deployed from the CMS now have left-hand navigation to help ease information browsing. The navigation centers around new topics, which, according to Hallman, will help employees, find information more easily. “Choosing topics that users understand is central to effective Web sites. We worked with our business unit partners to determine and test topics that are meaningful to their customers,” she explains.
The OCCnet home page also features a new search box that allows users to search both the site and the online staff directory. In addition, OCC News Feeds are now a part of the feature box on the homepage. See more information about News Feeds including instructions for subscribing.
A new audience page that focuses on “New Employees” is an example of content that was created to meet a specific need previously not met on the site. “While working with the business units to clean up the content, we also identified any gaps in information that needed to be filled. Creating a page that addressed questions specific to staff just joining the OCC, is an example of a content gap that was addressed as part of this project,” says Hallman.
A star rating system also allows users to rate the quality of the content on a given page and provide feedback about its usefulness or how it can be improved. “We are excited about this new function, because it will allow us to get feedback directly from staff so that we can continue to improve the quality of the content on the site. We want to make sure that the information on the OCCnet is effectively answering questions people have and providing access to useful services,” says Hallman.
More to come
Going forward, the WEP team will continue moving content from the old intranet site into the new CMS. Hallman expects to complete the content migration for all the business units by the middle of next year. She also notes that the team is looking into more technologies for the OCCnet to continually improve the user experience for OCC employees.
Employees with questions or comments about the new OCCnet or those who would like to participate in future usability tests of the site, can contact the WEP team at WEP@occ.treas.gov.
Last Updated: 07/10/2014