This post was written by Karen Rutzick, staff correspondent for Government Executive Magazine.
NASA is retooling their Web site, and theyâ€™re doing their homework first. NASA Internet Services Manager Brian Dunbar is conducting extensive interviews with Web site users, including the media, such as this reporter.
Dunbar says theyâ€™re â€œkicking off a full re-design of the site,â€ including the media section. He wanted to know how useful the current offerings were to reporters, what else could be added, how often sections were used, and other information.
NASAâ€™s reaching out to members of the general public for feedback, too. A customer satisfaction survey asks Web site perusers to weigh in on the ease of reading the site, the clarity of its organization, search results and trustworthiness.
Software design experts routinely warn that one of the pitfalls of system and web development is not to ask users for input. An article in The New York Times last month (which ran with the headline: "How to Improve It? Ask Those Who Use It") discussed the advantages of so-called "citizen product design." Here're some tips on interaction design offered by Asktog.com, operated by the usability designers Neilson Norman Group.