What Do You Think Of The National Parks' New Look?

Well, it's been a week or so. What do you think of the new look of the websites across the National Park System?

They're bold, with the expansive photo hole at the top of the page. And the type font is definitely more attractive than that of the old sites.

But do you find them easy to navigate? Can you find what you're looking for without spending an inordinate amount of time?

One of the new features I find nice to have is the "alerts" bar that resides just below the homepage photo when the park in question has some important news to relate to visitors.

There are still some bugs. Not all parks were ready with all the content when the Washington office pushed out the new "skin." As a result, some links lead to 404 (Page Not Found) errors.

What do you think? Is there anything missing that you'd like to see, or something you'd like to see in a more obvious place?

Comments

I didn't realize they'd changed their look until I read your question, so I gave it a whirl.
The next park we'll visit for the first time is likely to be Joshua Tree, so I went to NPS.gov and did my usual navigation by state. That part worked about the same as before. The JT site worked great, and I thought the navigation to the information I care about was easy enough.
Visually, this change is overdue. The new look is bigger and brighter - they could have taken that further, in fact. Older people need more contrast for easier reading, and I thought that improved slightly. The next change should amp up the contrast even more. At the same time, it is probably more attractive than the previous design when it comes to younger people, who are very oriented to reading everything on a small device.
Speaking of small devices, I just tried it on my iPhone (thanks for making me waste so much time, Kurt!). The type is impossible to read, but the layout sort of indicates where you'd want to go to enlarge the screen section to readable size. So IMO they did a reasonably good job of cramming as much info as possible into what is, on a smart phone, a tiny space. It also showed up well on the Kindle Fire.
So I'll give it an A-, with the minus indicating room for improvement regarding contrast.

What's up with the green bar down the right side of the page? I can't read the text clearly and it's quiet annoying and prevents me from enjoying the contents. Please tell me how to delete it or would you change the format. We really enjoy this site and are strong supporters of all National Parks.

Steve, if you're talking about a green stripe on the Traveler, it could be one of two problems.

1) If you're using Internet Explorer 8, it could be a compatibility problem that can usually be resolved by clicking on "compatibility view" under the icon "view pages."

For what it's worth, the problem doesn't seem to appear on either Firefox or Chrome browsers.

2) What resolution is your screen set at? Some folks run into the problem you describe if their resolution is just 1024 pixels wide, while things look fine at 1280 pixels wide. Also, are you looking at the page through a window on your browser, or at "full screen"? If you're viewing it through a window, try moving to full screen. That should solve things.

We've also found that if the above solutions don't work, you can adjust the view by using the Zoom In and Zoom Out buttons on your browser.

Please let me know if one of those suggestions resolves your problems. We certainly don't want to make it difficult for you to read the Traveler. Thanks for being a reader!

I don't think navigation from nps.gov is easy at all. When I pull down Find A Park By State and click on a state, it brings up a map (which is down at the bottom of the page and you have to scroll down to see) and then I have to click on that state on the map again. Then when I get the map of that state it shows the NPS units in green but you have to zoom way in to see the name of the unit. You used to see the name of the unit pop up when you hovered over it on the map, and you could click on a it to go directly to that unit's website. This may work well if you know the name of the unit but if you are browsing an unfamiliar area it's not very friendly.

Kitty, that confused me for awhile, too. But if you look up in the top right hand corner of the state page, you will see a place that says Show List or something like that. Click there and you will soon have a list of all the state's NPS units in front of you. It's confusing.

Confusing indeed. A young internet-savvy person once told me that the attention span of his generation is two clicks. More than that and they change course and go somewhere else. So this website is not going to help attract our younger citizens into exploring their National Parks. My verdict: Needs Work.

I started with nps.gov, then went to my home park. Other than one misspelling, everything looked good. I easily navigated through, decided to look at the museum collection and quickly found photographs of artifacts and all was well. I didn't explore all the options, but so far so good.

It seems to me they've gotten rid of the old 'search' function, in which you could search the website of the park page you're on for a topic in that park. The new search button seems to search the entire nps.gov, which is cumbersome. I hope I'm wrong....

Kurt, the specific park search function is still available. (yay!) When on a park page begin typing in the top right search box and a drop down menu appears with the option "this park" or "NPS.gov", also starts suggesting what it thinks you are searching for. Took sometime to find it though!

Well that's certainly good to know! Thanks!!

One issue I have are with the links. Let's say you click on "Plan Your Visit." Instead of bringing those items to the page it expands links underneath that main heading in the left sidebar. Would be nice to have the links on the main section of the page, not just hidden in the sidebars.