WASHINGTON – Deep within the Pentagon, a team of programmers and web designers have been working for over a year now to bring the Army’s award-winning flagship website, Army.mil, up to the latest web standards while adding some much-needed pizzazz.
“Our Soldiers, civilians, family members and those who support the Army deserve a site that represents them and the greatest team on earth,” said Brig. Gen. Malcolm Frost, Chief of Army Public Affairs.
“The new Army.mil website was built with this goal foremost on our mind. (Our team) has put together a modern site, viewable over all mobile devices, that clearly and simply shares the Army’s story with the American people,” he said.
Most striking among the changes, which went live on the Army’s birthday Tuesday, is the implementation of a “responsive grid” design.
“The idea of a responsive website is that it displays correctly on every device, including smartphones, tablets and a variety of browsers,” said Zack Kevit, the Army.mil project manager.
“All of the design, layout and coding decisions, and the framework we use to display the content, has been driven by the goal to make the site more mobile-friendly because that’s the direction our audience is moving,” Kevit said.
About 40 percent of the site’s visitors now come from mobile devices.
The redesign of Army.mil involved a complete re-write of all of the site’s code, Kevit noted.
“We took a deep look at the structure of everything, including the information architecture, the file structure, the corresponding sites and legacy data,” Kevit said. “It’s all new now. It’s lighter and faster.”
Army.mil Technical Director Johnathan Howard added that two updates contributing to both increased speed and security are the enabling of HTTPS and HTTP/2.
“DOD policy mandates all sites have HTTPS connectivity, and Army.mil is the first among the services to make that happen. Enabling of the HTTP/2 protocol also will improve site performance,” Howard said.
The previous version of Army.mil had existed since 2006 with only a few minor design refreshes over the past decade, according to the web team.