Go Ask Alice!, a leading Internet resource supported by Columbia University that answers reader-generated questions ranging from acne to x-rays, debuts an updated website on January 17, 2012 at www.goaskalice.columbia.edu. Site enhancements enable readers to find information easily and quickly, and be a part of the conversation. Launched in 1993, Go Ask Alice! is one of the oldest Web sites to provide systematically researched, reliable, and culturally sensitive health information.
Among new features of the site are a redesigned navigation system and page layout, an expansion of site capabilities to allow more flexibility and engagement with readers, as well as an evolution of the site’s technology to meet current and future Web standards for disability access. In addition to maintaining our core anonymous health Q&A content, we are please to introduce new features, including:
• Mobile friendly version for smart phone users;
• Interactive quizzes;
• Robust social media integration;
• Rate this question;
• A new Health Information section to better present alerts, recalls, health in the news, and other core information; and
• Easier mechanisms for submitting questions, reader responses, comments, corrections, and rants & raves.
With intensive reader feedback, Go Ask Alice! was redesigned to streamline the way visitors navigate to new or archived health questions and answers and other related content. Information is now categorized in four sections: 1) browsing for questions by health topic; 2) directly receiving new Go Ask Alice! questions; 3) participating in health quizzes, polls, and other features; and 4) accessing health information and resources in one convenient location. The page layout and color palette were also upgraded for a cleaner and more approachable site that highlights Go Ask Alice!’s 18-year digital presence combined with contemporary branding.
Go Ask Alice! maintains its format as an anonymous question and answer site, but further engages users by enabling readers to rate or comment on any of the thousands of questions found in six broad health categories: alcohol & other drugs; emotional health; general health; nutrition and physical activity; relationships; and sexual and reproductive health.
Leveraging current technologies for social networking and sharing, readers can distribute Go Ask Alice! content on any of their preferred social platforms. The redesign incorporates a “Share” button listing social communities, including Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, among others, and allows the site to expand into newer technologies further down the pipeline. Additionally, the site is redesigned to provide full Web accessibility to visitors with visual impairments.
Go Ask Alice! has more than 1.5 million visitors each month and contains thousands of health-related questions produced by Columbia Health, Alice! Health Promotion. This is the third major enhancement of the site. Go Ask Alice! is supported entirely by Columbia University and does not receive funding to promote specific products, nor does it accept advertising of any sort.