MedlinePlus hits the town

MedlinePlus homepage

So I know I’m a little late talking about MedlinePlus’s new design but I had just one or two things to say that I hadn’t read yet.

Michelle Kraft pointed out that the link to the mobile version of the page is at the bottom, so you have to scroll down to a) find it, and b) mash your screen to make it go. Agreed: annoying. But to me, the solution is not moving the link from the bottom to the top of the screen, the solution is adding some code and making the website detect mobile browsers automatically.

This technology is not new; in fact, many sites do it to say “Hey, you can’t use Firefox to login to this government page, use IE.” (ed. note: this can go awry: I recently tried to log in to an account at Government Canada and, because they require old versions of browsers, I literally did not have an approved version installed on my computer.) But anyway. Even my blog detects mobile browsers and redirects my viewers to the mobile theme.

There is a Google index literally full of solutions to this problem. Feeling lucky? Here’s one: http://detectmobilebrowsers.mobi/

Related MedlinePlus pages

Mobile issues aside, I am happy to see these changes. The huge buttons for the three major categories are great and the new look compartmentalizes the would-be overwhelming amount of content and makes it a little easier to parse.

Related to the “compartmentalization” of content, I am glad to see the links between sections (the information architecture, if we can be so formal) improved. Time was, Health Topics were one place, Encyclopedia was another, Directory, Video, News, etc and they were mostly cordoned off from one another (saved somewhat by the beauty of the faceted search engine). Those links have been improved, and most sections now allow for quick travel between other areas of the site, while remaining on a topic of interest. Widgets are also available for embedding in your own site, helping to spread the word about the MedlinePlus resource.

It is great to see such a wealth of consumer health information get an excellent facelift. It just gets easier and easier to recommend.

Other, better reviews:

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2 thoughts on “MedlinePlus hits the town

  1. I completely agree their site should recognize mobile browsers automatically.
    In the meantime I think they should have the link up top and I think that should be standard web practice if for some reason their site fails to recognize a mobile browser.

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  2. Yeah it’s strange how that has become somewhat standard practice to link to the mobile version from the bottom of the page. Hopefully it’s only a matter of time before they start to detect mobiles, since the heavy lifting of having the mobile site in place is already done.

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