The Supreme Court's long-awaited Web site redesign was unveiled Thursday at supremecourt.gov, bringing the site into the 21st century only a few years late.
The new site is visually appealing, with a rotating series of photos of the Court building, and iconography drawn from the Court's architectural features. It has an easy search function on its main page, which also displays the Court's oral argument calendar. Several important pieces of information about the Court that used to take several clicks to get to are now brought forward, for easier access.
The Court's 10-year-old Web site had been criticized as clunky and outdated by the Sunlight Foundation and others, especially in comparison to the high courts of other nations that have Web sites with virtual tours and material for students, among other updated features. From a quick survey, it does not appear that the Supreme Court's new site has much new or different content, but what is there is more accessible and reader-friendly. The Court's announcement of the new site, made by public information officer Kathy Arberg, also indicates the site is a work in progress, with new features to be added over time. We'll have more on the redesign later.
Here is the text of the Court's announcement:
"Today the Court will commence in-house hosting of its Web site, assuming site management responsibilities from the Government Printing Office (GPO), which had provided hosting services since the site's inception ten years ago. The Court received funding in its FY 20 10 appropriation to make the transition from GPO to in-house management. That transition will enable the Court to integrate the Web site with the Court's other operations, improve the quality of the site, and expand services for the public's benefit. The Web address for the site will change from www.supremecourtus.gov to www.supremecourt.gov, but either address will provide access through July 1, 2010.
"Visitors will find that the Supreme Court Web site has an updated and more user-friendly design. The site continues to provide online access to the Court's slip opinions, orders, oral argument transcripts, schedules, Court rules, bar admission forms, and other familiar information. But it also has several new features, including enhanced search capabilities, an interactive argument calendar, improved graphics, and additional historic information. The Court plans to continue to update and expand the site's features over time. The process of launching the new design may occur over several hours, but the new version of the Web site should be available to all users by the end of the day."
This article first appeared on The BLT: The Blog of Legal Times.