I'm pleased to announce that on 16 March 2021, the Information Transparency Initiative (ITI) will reach a significant milestone. We will replace some content types on the current https://icann.org with our new ITI search experience and launch a new content subscription feature. This means that you can begin to access the work of ITI, even as we continue to replace content over the coming months.
Tackling the Hard Work
In January 2018, we undertook this project together. It was never going to be easy. Over ICANN's long history, we created hundreds of thousands of pages and files, but ICANN hadn't taken the time to govern, organize, and preserve that content to ensure its findability. Take a few moments to use the Wayback Machine to view previous iterations of https://icann.org and you'll see only cosmetic changes.
Fixing this problem would take significant effort and there would be inevitable challenges along the way. We needed to create a taxonomy and information architecture, tag all of our public content, implement a document management system (DMS), and integrate it with a content management system. ICANN has never had a taxonomy or a DMS, and we had not audited our content. This was going to be a first on many fronts, which would mean there would be some trial and error. And the technical challenges would be significant due to the volume and unstructured nature of our content.
The status quo was not an option. One of the many things I love about ICANN is that we don't shy away from a challenge. We take on hard problems and we work to solve them, together. And that is what we've done with ITI. We've built a scalable and secure foundation, as well as content governance that will serve the entire ecosystem of ICANN sites.
What Will We Release on 16 March?
When you navigate to https://icann.org, you will be presented with a new content-level search experience for content types including:
- Accredited Registrars
- Registry Agreements
- Acronyms and Terms
This change will include easier access to translations via a new multilingual site navigation - another first for ICANN.
A new content subscription feature will be available. This is a tool many of you are excited about and we believe it will be transformative. It will allow you to receive new https://icann.org content that you are interested in directly to your email inbox. To start, it will be available for the content types we are releasing, and eventually it will expand to include all topics and content types, such as Public Comment, Board Meeting Materials, and Correspondence.
What Work Will Remain?
While we are releasing the new content-level improved search and subscription feature, the site-wide improved search, information architecture, and navigation will remain the same. Those improvements are scheduled to launch later this year. When you navigate to the https://icann.org homepage, there will be some minor user experience changes, but the site menu will remain the same until we launch more content that fits into the new navigation and information architecture.
As we've mentioned in previous blogs, we will also be using the ITI platform to improve our community sites. We will begin work on the Country Code Names Supporting Organization (ccNSO) site in May 2021 with a content audit and work directly with the ccNSO on requirements, using ITI's templates and foundation.
Thank You to the Community and the Board
We could not have reached this point without the continued support of the ICANN community. Many of you spent hours with the ITI team in small focus groups to provide input and recommend changes. The improvements that we are releasing are a reflection of your feedback. Thank you for your time and for your dedication to ICANN.
I also want to thank the ICANN Board for making the decision to approve ITI and working with us to ensure its continued success.