Government Analysis: NASA.gov
While the NASA site does have a lot of similarities with the other government sites (http://www.disa.mil/, http://www.fda.gov/, and http://www.america.gov/) it is kind of like the design outcast of the group. Now it does feature the image on the front like the other sites but the NASA site does not have a slideshow like the America.gov and DISA.Mil sites. Instead it has tabs to navigate through the images or news pieces that illustrate the three key points of the day. While I don’t mind this design choice, I personally like the slideshow better because it makes the page dynamic. One would think that the NASA page, of all the pages, would be the one with the crazy special effects, or video.
Nonetheless, I don’t want to give the impression that NASA’s website design is inferior to the other government sites. On the contrary, it actually is the most visually appealing site I analyzed (I just think it could have been better with a slideshow). The space-like background is completely suitable, and the glowing blue icons are attractive yet simple. Not to mention the fact that they did add one special effect: the menu bar has gliding transitions. While this may seem like a small addition, it makes a big impact on the impression one gets when navigating through the site.
I also like the fact that NASA posts an image of the day; the images are absolutely stunning and almost pop out of the screen. In addition, the website also effectively balances the amount of imagery and text on the page so the viewer doesn’t get overwhelmed with one or the other.
While NASA does not have links to the typical social media pages like the America.gov site, it does feature an RSS feed of its tweets to maintain the page with content that is updated in real-time. I think this is a great idea not only because search engines love updated content (although I’m not sure if NASA needs help on Google) but also because it shows a place where people can go to follow the content themselves via their own mobile devices or social media platforms.
In conclusion I really liked the design for NASA.gov. I felt like the imagery was extremely attractive and the whole site had the look and feel of a Star Trek episode, which is fitting for a branch like NASA. Much like the other government websites, the content was separated in clean, flush boxes, and there wasn’t too much to be overwhelmed with. I applaud NASA for stepping an inch outside the box and providing a fun design that is both informative and appealing.