WE REALLY LIKE THIS WEB SITE
Although great web sites are not the cure for everything that ails unions, they can do a lot of good, such as A-Z topic pages. So, we like to point out examples of good pages when time permits—and AFGE has a really good one for the following eight reasons:
1. The home page is not cluttered nor organized like a pasted up cardboard collage of random selfies. In fact, its layout strikes us as highly intuitive. But most of all, it does not give the reader the feeling that he/she needs a good ten minutes just to figure out what is on the single home page screen before using some search tool to find the need information.
2. We luuuuuvvvvveee the automatic drop down menus, namely, Member Benefits, Leaders, Issues, Agencies, Publications, and Action Network. It took us no more than ten seconds to drag our cursor across that menu bar to find where over 75 topics instantly displayed by menu item. NFFE and POPA also use the automatic dropdown feature from their menu bars.
3. And you have to give AFGE credit for some of the topics it prominently places under the various menu bar topics, e.g., a page for retirees, a separate page for those in different federal departments, a direct link to a case tracking system that will let you know what issues are being grieved, arbitrated and litigated around the union—if you have a password, etc. The page on Member Benefits deserves special attention because of how the dozens and dozens of financial benefits are simply and clearly listed.
4. Another reason to fall in love with this page all over again is the print. The print font size and boldness of the letting fits a modern audience. Not only are a few of us getting older, but zillions of us are using phones to read these pages, not 22 inch screens. Ditto for the size of the pictures. Faberge eggs are beautiful, but one must have superb squinting abilities to see the details, where the real craftsmanship is displayed. That acceptable for those artistic miracles, but not for union web sites.
5. Another layout feature that deserves mention is the compact space in which print material is posted. It resembles a normal 8.5 inch wide piece of paper, not a spreadsheet. That reduces the need to have the neck flexibility of a yoga swami to read comfortably. NFFE , NATCA, and NWSEO do the same.
6. The page reflects a real openness in the union’s culture. For example, right on top of the home page the “Contact Us” button shows you how to contact each member of the national executive board as well as all of its Councils, which do a large part of the representational work.
7. Another feature that we like (and has real potential if further developed) is the menu bar “Agencies” button. It pops up a list of the various cabinet departments where AFGE represents employees. For example, click on the Homeland Security page and you see the various AFGE-represented components of DHS that make it the dominant DHS union, by size, in an agency of over 110,000 unit employees. It also provides some DHS-specific news. Although the solidarity, one-for-all concept is a romantic one, we have found that readers appreciate being able to click quickly to the information most relevant to their employer. It would be nice if the labor agreements of each of those units were available there as well.
8. Finally, the page aligns with the union’s strategic plan of boosting membership and member clout in the legislative process. Right up front it requests reader e-mail addresses and gives them a single click access if they wish to join the union.
Of course, these are just our opinions. Feel free to disagree, but first wander around AFGE.org for a few minutes..