The FDA Revamped Their Website

 

 

https://www.fda.gov/ as of April 26, 2019

 

 FDA has announced the launch of a newly redesigned FDA public access website. They have made changes to provide a more modern and customer friendly access for the public. The new FDA website launch was completed April 26, 2019.

PRODUCTS THE FDA REGULATES

FoodDrugsMedical DevicesRadiation-Emitting ProductsVaccines, Blood, and BiologicsAnimal and VeterinaryCosmetics and Tobacco Products

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The FDA public website receives nearly 5 million visitors—consumers, health professionals, scientists/researchers, and industry stakeholders each month. It serves as the face of the agency and a critical vehicle for meeting FDA’s mission, as it’s home to agency policy and perspectives and information about recalls, safety alerts and important regulatory actions. Ensuring that this content is easy to find is a top priority.

The FDA has attempted to make the FDA.gov website more user friendly, by redesigning not only the functionality, but the way it looks as well. The new FDA site is cleaner and the overall layout is less distracting and the content is much more contemporary.

The goals for the new FDA.gov website include:

https://www.fda.gov/

  • Remodeled webpages that can be viewed on any internet-ready device
  • Easier access to popular content
  • Updated navigation based on data and audience behavior
  • Easier to find FDA content in search results
  • Better consistency of FDA content across web and social channels

The FDA.gov website refresh centers around the migration to a new web content management system (WCMS). The current WCMS is end-of-life and we are replacing it with a new modern publishing platform.

Here are some of the things we are doing to improve FDA.gov:

  • Using data to archive and expire webpages that aren’t being used, consolidating similar content/renaming page titles to reduce redundancy so it’s easier for online audiences to find what they are looking for.
  • Adding stronger and more relevant metadata to the webpages to optimize them for search and social media.
  • Updating FDA.gov’s design to provide more visuals and interactive content. Overall the site will have a more modern look-and-feel. FDA content will appear consistently regardless of web and social channels.
  • Upgrading to a modern publishing platform ensures that our content is accessible anywhere, anytime and on any device.

WHAT THE FDA DOES AND LINKS TO RESOURCES.GOV

FDA Mission

The Food and Drug Administration is responsible for protecting the public health by ensuring the safety, efficacy, and security of human and veterinary drugs, biological products, and medical devices; and by ensuring the safety of our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, and products that emit radiation.

FDA also has responsibility for regulating the manufacturing, marketing, and distribution of tobacco products to protect the public health and to reduce tobacco use by minors.

FDA is responsible for advancing the public health by helping to speed innovations that make medical products more effective, safer, and more affordable and by helping the public get the accurate, science-based information they need to use medical products and foods to maintain and improve their health.

FDA also plays a significant role in the Nation’s counterterrorism capability. FDA fulfills this responsibility by ensuring the security of the food supply and by fostering development of medical products to respond to deliberate and naturally emerging public health threats.

FDA’s Regulatory Responsibilities: Laws and Regulations

Product Approval

Recalls, News, and Events

Guidance Documents, Rulemaking, and Freedom of Information

Navigating The New FDA Site

Being a large and diverse agency with aesthetics apart, just keeping track of pathways and names is overwhelming in such a complex website, and it is easy to lose track of what needs to be updated.  The FDA stated that one of the goals was to make the site more friendly to consumers and it has improved. The former site ran banner photos of some topical interest, the new site landing pages feature a topic with a photo array focused on a feature topic. To get to the information, you need to click on the box announcing the feature, not the photos. Key to success for this approach will be topics that change out frequently as well as the topics themselves. This month’s is about children and allergy relief, timely given the time of year and the number of children, but perhaps not as serious as the recall of blood pressure medications.

Each FDA division – DrugsFoodMedical Devices has “featured information” that generally mirrors the FDA landing page (though stylistically there is not consistency across all divisions in terms of layout). For FDA to achieve its consumer friendly goal here they will have to work at providing information that is of interest to consumers and not necessarily just focus on that information FDA wants most to talk about.

Longer, Less Crowded Landing Page – It used to be when you went to FDA’s landing page, you had a LOT of information crammed into the screen offering you pathways in a bunch of different directions at once – from links to speeches to advisory committee information to meetings information to the latest press releases, etc. All of that is still on the landing page, but it is more coherently laid out. That means that there is less splashed in your face on the screen, but the content has been elongated – and you now have to scroll down to find all the bits and pieces. That may not be entirely apparent to some. As you scroll down, you come to additional featured topics beyond the main one mentioned above. Right now one of them includes a link to information about the revamp of the site; a link to information about combatting opioids and one on FDA fostering drug competition. As noted above, these topics fall a little more into the category of things FDA may want to say versus the things we want to hear more about from a consumer perspective. As you scroll down, you come to press announcements (where curiously the title of the section is in smaller type than the titles of the most recent press releases). Scrolling down further takes you past many of the links that were formerly crammed into the landing square of the old site. It is almost all still there, just there more for your leisurely scrolling rather than in your face. But not everything is on the landing page. For that you need the next section.

Menu Function is Key – In the upper right hand corner is the Menu Function. You are going to need this as it is the key to providing you a one-size fits all access to various divisions of the agency. It takes you to a site-map-lite that is actually very helpful if there are some specific things you want to look up. Most notably on the left side are a list of “featured links”. These are vital. They take you not only to guidance documents, but also one is the link that gets you to Advisory Committee information — to the page that is set up for each committee containing such information as the committee roster and meeting notices as well as documents related to specific meetings. To the right of this menu you will also find access to the FDA’s divisions, though it is not called that – instead it is called “Products”. Under that heading you will not see links to “CDER”, “CBER” or the others and where is the Office of Prescription Drug Promotion? Actually CDER, CBER and the others are there, but they are not called that. They are under their generic names (haha) – Drugs, Food, Medical Devices, Radiation-Emitting Products, etc. FDA may want to consider adding the acronyms here. These pages are generally laid out in similar fashion to the initial agency landing page, with a heading that is meant to cover topical information, prompting the user to scroll down to find the bits desired. Here you will find a link as you travel down the page to the Warning and Untitled Letters issued (still only one issued this year so far). The link to the Office of Prescription Drug Promotion exists but not on this page – it is under the About FDA Tab, and then drilling down through organizational structure through CDER there before you find it – here.

Finding Specifics Related to Function in the About FDA Link – One thing you don’t see when you go to the Drug page or the Food page or any of the other division pages is a map for getting to where you want to go within that division (hence the lack of an OPDP link from the Drugs Page). To find that level of detail – to find a specific office that does a specific function, you may have to either conduct a Search (which can offer up a messy slew of links) or go to the About FDA link mentioned above. Here’s the thing – that is in very small letters at the very bottom of the landing page. It is a small, obscure link to an important function. Overall, navigation of the site is less confusing now that everything is removed from a single frame shot. The order of things as you scroll down is pretty logical, though the demarcation of sections is subtle. Of note, if you have links to FDA materials at any site, some of the material may have shifted.


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