The U.S. Mint introduced a new look Dec. 15 to its Web site at www.usmint.gov as part of a long-term branding initiative.
Tom Jurkowsky, director of the U.S. Mint’s Office of Public Affairs, said the initiative “is designed to provide a consistent look and feel across product packaging, publications, marketing materials and now, the Web.”
The initiative is part of the Mint’s marketing strategy of “Connecting America through Coins.”
The “re-skinning” or electronic face-lift of the Web site will leave the basic functionality of the site intact, as additional enhancements are developed and introduced, according to Jurkowsky.
The “Shop Online” tab, for example (at the top middle of the www.usmint.gov home page), will still take users directly to the online product catalog online at (www.usmint.gov/catalog). And the “Coins and Medals” tab remains the link to access basic coin program information.
Changes just a start
“As proud as we are of our new ‘look and feel,’ we know it is a ‘face lift’ that does not change the existing functionality of the United States Mint’s order management system or other Web site features,” Jurkowsky said.
“This is only the first step in a longer process to improve the United States Mint’s Web sites and enhance the online experience for our customers and other visitors. Our Web architecture is relatively old and upgrading it to create more user-friendly sites will take time and effort,” Jurkowsky said.
“We are making the investment necessary to continue the improvement of our Internet sites so they will be world-class,” he said, adding that the changes will complement “our effort to connect America through coins.”
Cost so far of $69,000
Jurkowsky said the “re-skinning” of the Web site cost approximately $69,000 to accomplish.
“We don’t know yet how much it will cost to upgrade the entire architecture,” Jurkowsky said. “We are currently working with our legal and procurement departments to obtain an appropriate contract vehicle.”
Over the six months leading up to the Dec. 15 unveiling of the Web site’s new look, Jurkowsky said the Mint had to manually incorporate new images and visual identities from more than 3,000 Web pages, accessing information from more than 18,000 files.
“Again, what was done is only a cosmetic upgrade of the Web site,” Jurkowsky said. “We haven’t changed the functionality or the back-end technologies. We’re working on a long term plan and hope to implement a permanent solution in Fiscal Year 2011.”
Heavy sales volume at the launch of some popular U.S. Mint products at times has made the Web ordering system slow to respond to customers, sometimes prompting Mint alerts about the situation. ■