03.01.10

Leahy Launches Redesigned Website

...Ease And Usability Are Keys To Improved Site

WASHINGTON - Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), an online pacesetter on Capitol Hill, has again launched a full redesign of his website (http://leahy.senate.gov). 

A lifelong technophile, Leahy in 1995 became the second senator to start a website, was the first to venture into blogging, and has been dubbed “the cyber senator” for his enthusiasm for and leadership on Internet issues.  He was cofounder and remains Senate co-chair of the Congressional Internet Caucus.  A leading advocate of the public’s right to know and of Internet freedom issues, Leahy also has authored several laws to strengthen the Freedom of Information Act. 

The new site builds on the foundations of Leahy’s previous website.  Highlights of the new site include:

  • Redesign for improved usability and ease of finding information
  • Easy ways to contact Leahy, including customized forms for such common requests as submitting intern, page, and academy nomination applications, for submitting requests for flags flown above the Capitol and for Washington tours
  • Photo galleries of events in Vermont and Washington, including some of Leahy’s photographs
  • Incorporation of YouTube videos across the site
  • Dynamic homepage with multiple feature stories
  • Events section for happenings in Vermont and Washington
  • An e-newsletter with the latest news from Washington and events around Vermont

Leahy’s previous website earned plaudits from the Congressional Management Foundation, which grades congressional websites based on how well they incorporate what they define as the five basic building blocks of effective websites: audience, content, usability, interactivity, and innovation.  Leahy received the Foundation’s “Gold Mouse Award” all three times they have been given.

Leahy noted that Vermonters over the last decade have steadily and dramatically shifted from using postal mail  to using the Internet in contacting him, with email now accounting for about 90 percent of Vermonters’ messages to his offices in Vermont and Washington.

Leahy said, “My goal from the start has been to incorporate into the website as much of my work as a senator for Vermont as possible.  Keeping content fresh and useful never stops, and design improvements should be a seamless part of a dynamic process.  The guiding principle here  isn’t glitz, but usability -- sharing information faster, easier and better.  I believe this redesign succeeds in taking the website to the next level.”   

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