April 7, 2011 - 12:44 pm
By Haley Van Dÿck | FCC New Media

The FCC’s online presence is a lot of things to a lot of people. Reimagining FCC.gov means maximizing the value that all of the agency’s stakeholders – consumers, businesses, public safety and telecommunications professionals – derive from the site.

The overall redesign of FCC.gov is taking place in two phases. The first phase, currently taking shape on the live beta site, is focused on making the site more citizen-friendly by emphasizing plain language, limiting the use of obscure acronyms, and making it easier for the public to engage with our agency.

The second phase of the redesign will bring many of the FCC’s legacy systems and databases up to speed. Many of these systems facilitate billions of dollars in transactions that are vital to American prosperity in a global, connected economy. We can use the lessons we’ve been learning from the beta launch to simplify data collections, improve time to market, and facilitate transactions at the speed of 21st century technology. We’ll have more details on this next phase soon.

To help our daily FCC.gov users get better acquainted with the new site, we’ve created a cheat-sheet describing some of the major changes:

EDOCs -> Official Documents

Looking for an NOI or a recently released PN? Check out the new “Official Documents” section of the site—a large feed of the dozens of official documents the agency produces daily, equipped with filters and sorting tools to help you quickly find what you’re looking for.

Electronic Comment Filing System -> Public Comment

ECFS isn’t going anywhere—it’s just getting a bit of a new skin. You can find ECFS in several places on the new site:

1)      At http://beta.fcc.gov/comment

2)      Under “Comment” in the Take Action bar

3)      Under “Online Filings” in the Business & Legal section

We recognize ECFS is an essential part of the business workflow for many telecommunications practitioners and experts across the country, which is why we broke our own “no acronym” rule and created a page for ECFS expert that directs you to the current system as we begin to work on upgrades for phase 2.

Headlines-> Newsroom

The legacy FCC.gov homepage was primarily a feed of recently released items by the commission. The Beta.FCC.gov site highlights featured news items on the home page as well, though you can always access the complete list of releases in the http://beta.fcc.gov/newsroom. In the newsroom you will also find tools to help filter results by bureau & office, content type and topic.

Transactions-> Mergers

Mergers, listed under the Business & Legal section, is home to all transactions and acquisitions before the commission. We are working to expand this section further to bring easy access to court filings and decisions as well pending transactions.

Filings->Official Documents

You can find recent court filings on the Office of General Counsel's page, or use the filters in Official Documents to pull up court filings & decisions.

New Functionality

Take Action Bar

Web analytics show us that the two most popular actions on FCC.gov are filing a public comment and reporting a consumer complaint. As a result, we wanted to make sure users could take these actions within one click from any page on our site. This was the impetus behind the ‘sticky’ Take Action bar that follows users as they scroll down the page. “Comment” takes you to a re-skinned ECFS, and “Complain” directs you to the consumer complaint system. You will also find a “Discussion” section for website feedback and policy conversations, along with a “Help” section to get support.

Filtering & Sorting

Across the site on pages such as search results, newsroom, FCC encyclopedia and official documents, you will find tools that let you filter page content by content type, bureau and office, and topic to help you quickly find the information you need.

Related Information

A complex relationship of topics and filters is what makes the new beta.FCC.gov run. These relationships allow the site to dynamically pull related content from across the site instantaneously. Check out the new public safety page, for example. The dynamic related information block on the right side allows you to sort for any related information such as events like the Emergency Access Advisory Committee (EAAC) Meeting, or related rulemakings like the Review of the Emergency Alert System, all in one place.


Don’t forget—if you can’t find what you are looking for, you can always search.

During the redesign process, we conducted an expansive effort to listen to FCC.gov users on the changes they needed. The most consistent feedback across the board was to improve search. By creating a search bar that follows users throughout your FCC.gov experience, we’re putting the new feature literally everywhere on FCC.gov. Search will continue to improve, and we’re eager to hear what users like and what needs work.