New EU website goes live

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The European Commission will today (21 September) launch a revamped version of its Europa website. After two years of analysis and review, the EU executive hopes its new central web portal will make for a simpler, more organised experience for EU citizens.

As reported by EURACTIV, the current site is considered by EU officials to contain “too much information” and Europeans navigating the portal find it “hard to know where to start looking” (EURACTIV 14/07/09). 

Indeed, when DG Communication (DG COMM) officials in 2008 asked Ernst & Young to evaluate whether the Europa portal satisfied the objectives set out in the Commission’s Internet strategy, the consultants concluded that the website was “too unorganised and too complex to navigate,” and the EU executive was “not clearly targeting” its main audience. 

Following a comprehensive restructuring process, the Commission has simplified Europa’s layout, dividing the site into six main themes reflecting users’ needs. 

An Internet expert close to the Commission told EURACTIV that “the overall aim is to make the site much more user-friendly and to switch the focus from DGs adding the content they want, to putting the content that visitors are looking for in places that are easier to locate”. 

The first stage of these updates will apply to the DG COMM pages. According to the expert, “their hope is that the other DGs will be inspired to improve their own areas. DG COMM certainly seems to believe that other high-level people involved in this process realised that their parts of the site needed to change”. 

The expert concluded that the overhaul “must have been an enormous task so far, and this is just the beginning”. 

An article on DG COMM’s internal website, seen by EURACTIV, states: “We hope that the user-centric approach will spill over into other DGs and institutions, so that future visitors will be able to navigate better on Europa – and find the things they search for without too much confusion.” 

While the email specifies that “many of the sub-sites that the new pages link to will keep their current look and feel (Eur-Lex, press room, health portal, etc.),” it is nevertheless emphasised that “pages that are clearly inter-institutional should be adapted to the new common layout in the future”. 

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