By Staff Sgt. Don Branum
U.S. Air Force Academy Public Affairs
The front page of the Academy’s public Web site, www.usafa.af.mil, is going to look a lot different starting next week, but rest assured – everything you’re used to seeing on the front page will still be there, and more.
The Academy Public Affairs Office is driving the change to comply with an Air Force initiative to standardize the look and feel of all Air Force public Web sites.
More than 95 percent of the Web site content will remain the same as it is now. However, some items that users are used to seeing in one location will move.
The makeover will streamline how links are organized. For example, users will find 10th Air Base Wing organizations under the “10th ABW” menu at the top of the page, fact sheets and biographies will be located under the “Information” menu, and the McDermott Library page will be under the “Dean” menu.
Staff Sgt. Eric Bolt, the NCO in charge of internal information here, was involved in a similar initiative when he was stationed at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D.
“Getting AFPIMS for the Academy is huge because it unifies the Academy with the rest of the Air Force in terms of flying under the same banner,” Sergeant Bolt said.
Although the new homepage will have a heavy focus on Academy news stories, photos and other information, it won’t replace the Academy Spirit any time soon. Instead, the paper and the Web site will work with each other to put more information at people’s fingertips.
“There’s definitely a role for both the paper and the Web,” Sergeant Bolt said. “Look at the Wall Street Journal – they have the highest number of paid Web memberships of any newspaper, and they still sell papers.”
The Academy Spirit and the public Web site must work hand-in-hand to get information to readers in a convenient manner, Sergeant Bolt said.
“It’s one more tool commanders will have to get their messages out,” he added. “Whether information’s on the Web or in the paper, the message is always important. No matter where you get the information, we’re going to make sure that messages from our leadership get across to readers.”
Public Affairs’ goal is to develop an online presence that reflects the Air Force’s Web site branding, presents the Air Force Academy brand in a visually appealing manner and serves users’ needs.
The new public Web page will be more interactive for readers and viewers and still serve audiences’ needs.