The act of communicating — that is, the sharing of information, knowledge, data, stories, ideas, images, and tools — has transitioned into a technology-dependent, multidirectional endeavor. Websites make up the internet, and together they have become the essential and foundational component of all modern-day communications. NIEHS websites inform the institute community and present NIEHS to the world, and serve as home for known and emerging electronic communication mediums used by the public and research partners alike. Communications at NIEHS begin with websites and multimedia content that is leveraged to broader audiences through other technologies, such as social media platforms, mobile devices, online data sharing, and the internet of things. The demand for web-based information continues to grow as research itself becomes more reliant on technology-assisted analysis and virtual collaboration. Good web interfaces will enable the institute’s commitment to FAIR+. Visitors and users of NIEHS websites include current and potential researchers, educators and students, governments and policymakers, health care professionals and patients, regulators, and millions of people interested in environment and health.
- NIEHS will maintain the reputation as the leader of the environmental health field and go-to source for environmental health information.
- NIEHS audiences will be able to use internet-enabled devices to access data and resources presented in well-organized, user-friendly formats.
- NIEHS will establish a culture of information sharing, foster and strengthen multidirectional knowledge and data sharing, and make NIEHS data FAIR+.
- NIEHS will use technologies to further recruitment, partnerships, and collaborations.
- NIEHS will effectively use communications technologies to inform and educate staff (contractors, employees, fellows, guests, and volunteers).
- NIEHS audiences will receive information through multiple venues when, where, and how they want to receive it, and thus be more likely to think and act upon it. By delivering information directly to individuals, the institute can carefully manage content, accuracy, and timing.
- NIEHS will have the tools and technologies to measure the effectiveness of these technologies.
- NIEHS will follow good practices and industry standards of efficient spending and product lifecycle management.
- NIEHS will implement technologies and policies mandated by HHS, NIH, General Services Administration, and other federal agencies.
Strategic Capability Priorities
Support NIEHS Knowledge and e-Science Initiatives
NIEHS will support knowledge and e-science initiatives, to increase the consumption of data. Success will be measured by evaluation, which will be project-dependent. For example, NIEHS may collect and analyze metrics (e.g., through web analytics, number of logins, number of downloads, etc.) on use of the electronic products created. Success will be understood based on return on overall investment.
Establish a Web Content Lifecycle
Users do not rely on or trust websites that are not updated, and building trust helps make audiences receptive to messages. Search engines downgrade websites not updated regularly (displaying those websites lower in results). Internal efficiencies are also hurt by old or incorrect intranet information. Additionally, there is a small cost for every webpage that must be maintained, even if it is not edited often. While some content is evergreen, most is not. Success will be determined by semiannual measurement of web documents from all contract and federal sources, updated according to an overall content lifecycle (creation, storage, categorizing, metadata tagging, delivery or sharing, repurposing, review and reporting, archiving and destruction), which will be established.
Update Web Infrastructure
To ensure availability of systems and reduce the risk of instability from using out-of-date components necessary for website communications, NIEHS will update I&IT infrastructure, including, but not limited to, software and hardware. Success will be determined by the establishment of a lifecycle process and an inventory, and by measuring the percentage of website communications components that are compliant with that lifecycle.
Continued Improvements of User Interfaces for All Audiences, Including Navigation and Search
To increase credibility and ease of use, and further spread institute information, NIEHS will make continued improvements of user interfaces for all audiences, including navigation and search. The institute will measure success by defining, gathering, and analyzing metrics regularly, using the July 2018 federal digital analytics program Google Analytics as a baseline. NIEHS will track IC to IC status over time via the federal Digital Analytics Program, to weed out general marketplace variability. Qualitative metrics, such as user satisfaction surveys and usability tests, will also be collected.
Lower Barriers for and Enhance Internal Communications and Communication Efficiency
To reduce duplication of efforts, promote collaboration, and save staff time by communicating effectively, NIEHS will lower barriers for and enhance internal communications and communication efficiency. The institute will measure success by establishment and evaluation of metrics around communication efficiency; monitor, collect, and analyze metrics regularly (time to receive a notification, time to understand a notification, time to find information); and react to metrics to increase communication efficiency. Qualitative metrics, such as user satisfaction surveys and usability tests, will also be collected.
Build and Facilitate Access to NIEHS, NTP, and EHP Presences on Social Media Sites
To increase consumption of information, the institute will build and facilitate access to NIEHS/National Toxicology Program (NTP), and Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP) presences on social media sites. Messaging will be increased on diverse and domain-specific channels, following federal, HHS, and NIH policies for use of social media. Success will be measured by evaluating metrics available from social media staff.
Create and Use More Multimedia
To increase engagement and offer information in multiple modalities, NIEHS will create and use more multimedia. Success will be measured by the amount of multimedia created quarterly, which should show an increase over time. Additionally, NIEHS will measure increased access to multimedia, via metrics available from web analytics internally and externally.
Inform and Educate Internal I&IT and Website Communications Communities About Best Practices, Industry Changes, New Technologies, and Policies
To increase credibility and ease of use, and further spread institute messages, NIEHS will inform and educate internal I&IT and website communications communities about best practices, industry changes, new technologies, and policies. Best practices will also be adopted, from other NIH institutes and centers (ICs) and local universities, to include both informing audiences and expanding capabilities. Success will be measured by evaluation of changes to technologies and approaches due to internal information sharing. NIEHS will develop the appropriate knowledge base(s) for target audiences.
Increase Virtual Meeting and Virtual Collaboration Capabilities and Use
To reduce travel costs, increase transparency, and increase community involvement, NIEHS will increase virtual meeting and collaboration capabilities and use. The website communications capability statement includes increased use of webcasts and website content collaboration. Additionally, website communications are responsible for effectively communicating about in-scope virtual meeting and collaboration tools available to NIEHS audiences. Success will be measured by evaluation of the monthly webcast counts, which should increase over time. Utilization of any new technology will be monitored.
Upgrade NIEHS Websites From Percussion to Drupal CMS
Drupal migration will allow NIEHS to remain synchronized with NIH and HHS efforts, while also reducing the cost to NIEHS of using a CMS. Most of this migration will be completed within two years. Success will be measured by evaluating the percentage of NIEHS (including NTP) webpages migrated from Percussion to Drupal, with no measured degradation in performance, as measured by baseline and periodic robust stress and speed testing of the website(s).
Website Communications Theme Map
|I&IT Landscape||Agility||Analytics||Communications & Transparency||Foster Collaboration||Governance||Optimize Resources||Workforce Development|
See Appendix A: I&IT Priorities Support NIEHS Strategic Themes