Grants.gov has undergone a significant update, resulting in a new user interface. And, despite claims that this is supposed to be an improved experience, it is terrible. The changes were made to align with the United States Web Design System (USWDS) standards and in the process, a lot of functions were broken. While the recent release brought about a new look and feel, there are a lot of features that require attention. The Grants.gov team says they are aware of the issues and are committed to addressing them through a series of upcoming releases in the coming months.
Certain functionalities and sections of the website, such as post-login pages, are currently awaiting updates to enhance the overall user experience. Additionally, features like the Chatbot are not yet available on the new sections of the website. However, we’re told these functionalities are considered a priority, and efforts are underway to update them in subsequent releases. The site has provided an estimated timeline for fixing a few high priority issues, but most remain “to be determined.”
Some of the known issues include the absence of the Subscribe button on certain pages, an issue with the Apply button being enabled when it shouldn't be, and the lack of notification for logged-in session timeouts on public and grant search pages. The Chatbot is also currently unavailable on the homepage, and users cannot export Opportunity search results to Excel. Furthermore, the search function for static site content, RSS feed availability, and the FON field in the search grants feature have certain limitations. Users may also experience issues with the message displayed when searching for closed opportunity packages and navigation between public and post-login pages.
To mitigate these issues, Grants.gov is encouraging users to follow alternative methods or workarounds that make for a decidedly not enhanced user experience. For example, they suggest users can copy and paste search results directly into Excel or use the tabs available on each page to find the desired information. Users can also visit the Grants.gov website to view the latest opportunities and modifications instead of relying on the RSS feed. They also caution that users should enter data in uppercase when searching using the Opportunity Number field and may need to navigate between pages using specific methods to access certain functionalities.
Grants.gov says it recognizes that users may have questions or require assistance during this transition period and claims that the support team is readily available to address any concerns or inquiries. However, there is no estimate for when they’ll have their chat function up and running, so you can be assured any support is going to be a long wait time for a call to their 800 number.
Users are encouraged to engage with Grants.gov by providing feedback through the feedback form to help shape priorities for fixing this disaster and we strongly encourage you to do so. We are.