The National Park Service (NPS) has launched a redesigned NPS.gov website. The website has a new look and added features to help visitors find information quickly.
“The new design is the result of a multi-year effort to transform NPS.gov into a world-class digital experience and communications tool,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “I think the best part of the redesign is that NPS.gov now works great on mobile devices like tablets and smartphones.”
The new design:
- Provides a greater set of trip-planning tools and opportunities for NPS.gov visitors
- Improved content links across NPS.gov
- Makes use of structured data, essential information about parks and NPS programs (such as contact information, location, and operating hours and seasons) that can be used for internal purposes and will soon be shared with developers of external applications, maps, and websites through an application programming interface (API)
- Works well on all devices, including phones, tablets, and computers
NPS.gov is the primary destination for virtual visitors looking to plan trips to parks or learn more about our nation’s natural and cultural heritage. The website includes more than 100,000 web pages, with more than 1,000 web authors contributing content. In 2015, NPS.gov received 84 million different visitors in 145 million browsing sessions (a group of interactions that occur within a given time frame) and more than a half-billion page views (the total number of pages visited).
NPS staff analyzed visitation statistics, reviewed customer satisfaction surveys, and worked with a design firm to develop a new look and functionality. A group of digital volunteers tested the new designs to help ensure that the site would be usable and meet the needs of visitors as well as parks and programs.
Additional functionality, such as new activity and itinerary listings and an improved park search, will be introduced in the coming months. Learn more about how the NPS is transforming the NPS digital experience: https://www.nps.gov/digital.
NPS.gov also features a collection of popular lesson plans at Teaching with Historic Places. The award-winning lesson plan series features sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The lesson plans can be used to teach history, social studies, geography, STEM subjects, and more.
Also in the digital realm, the NPS and Geocaching HQ today launched the “Find Your Park GeoTour”. Geocaching, or “ParkCaching,” is an outdoor game using GPS-enabled devices. More than 800,000 people in the United States participate in geocaching with their friends and families, and over 2.5 million geocaches have been placed worldwide.
Twenty-eight parks have registered 62 traditional geocaches and EarthCaches to the Find Your Park GeoTour. This list will grow throughout 2016 as additional parks are developing ParkCaching programs.
Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find a geocache container hidden at that location or a geologic feature to document with a photograph. The National Park Service permits geocaching when the activity is directed by park management and has an educational component. ParkCaching provides several opportunities to show off particular features of a park and to share nuggets of information with geocaching participants.