AUSTIN, Texas (January 12, 2021) - The American Botanical Council (ABC) launched its much-anticipated new website yesterday. In 2020, ABC’s information-filled website had more than 1.6 million pageviews and was visited by approximately 600,000 visitors from 230 countries.
As part of the tax-exempt nonprofit’s ongoing research and educational mission and commitment to provide ABC Members around the world with reliable, authoritative science-based and traditional-use information on herbs, phytomedicines, essential oils, medicinal fungi, and other beneficial botanicals, ABC has spent the last two years building a new website to improve the user experience for ABC members and other website visitors.
For the last several decades, ABC has delivered much of its research and educational content, including programs and services, via its website, www.herbalgram.org. The website, which has more than 13,000 distinct pages in 11 searchable resource sections, is updated with new content almost daily. One database alone, HerbMedPro, has more than 125,000 entries. (HerbMedPro is a comprehensive, interactive online database that provides access to important scientific and clinical research data on the uses and health effects of more than 265 herbs, spices, medicinal plants, and fungi.) Other content, such as the ABC-AHP-NCNPR Botanical Adulterants Prevention Program, focuses on plant identity adulteration and fraud and provides access to 62 (to date) peer-reviewed documents ranging from Laboratory Guidance documents to Bulletins to a newsletter.
ABC’s new website makes accessing educational content easier. In addition to having a new look, ABC’s new website is built on a more powerful and intuitive platform resulting in a website that is mobile responsive, has improved navigation, and benefits from an elastic search engine that ‘learns’ from the users to provide better search results over time.
Below are more details of this exciting new website’s features:
- Mobile responsiveness – Users can view the website on any device because the layout and content adapt based on the size of the screen. This makes accessing ABC content easier and improves the user’s experience on multiple devices.
- Improved navigation – All content is now found under a drop-down menu at the top of the page and in a mega-menu that appears at the bottom of all pages. ABC’s website has always been dynamic, i.e., a large amount of content being added frequently. This new design more prominently displays previously hard-to-find items.
- Powerful search features – The search function is a customized (and customizable) elastic search that works via an index of the content and “learns” from the user’s searches to provide more tailored results based on previous searches. It will autocomplete the user’s search, if they allow it to, or provide a search suggestion (great for when the user doesn’t remember how to spell an herb or author name). The search results will default to the most relevant results (i.e., those that include the search term the most), but it can be filtered by resources (e.g., HerbalGram, HerbClip, etc.), and chronologically, with the newest results at the top of the list.
- New design – The website is now easier to read and over time will include significantly more graphics to highlight what appears in the text. (ABC staff expects to add even more of Steven Foster’s beautiful photographs over the coming months.)
- State of the Art Platform – It uses application programming interface (API) software to seamlessly connect with customer relationship management (CRM), bulk e-mail, and e-commerce tools. Moreover, ABC now has the infrastructure to deploy specialized mobile applications and improved globally syndicate searchable content to licensees and university and other libraries.
- Easier to use for ABC Staff – While this is not something that the site visitor will necessarily notice, the new CMS is much more intuitive and user friendly which will make it easier for ABC staff to add new content, improving workflow, and making ABC even more efficient.
“This has been a huge and exciting project,” said Gayle Engels, ABC’s Special Projects Director. “As the third iteration of ABC’s website since 1995, there was a great deal of restructuring to do to unite all the content into a user-friendly, consistent whole. While we will continue to make improvements, we hope site visitors enjoy the fresh look and refinements to the site architecture.”
The website will remain open to the public, meaning no ABC membership is required to access the content, until February 1, 2021. At that time, membership will once again be required to access the vast majority of ABC’s website content. Approximately 20% of the website information will remain open to the public. ABC has a variety of membership levels available to consumers, researchers, educators, health professionals, organizations, government agencies, industry members, and others.