Cary, NC – This is the second article in our series of the new paradigm for redeveloping municipal websites. We will bring you stories of the innovative things people are doing in this space. This article is about one of the first of this new best-in-class website redesign efforts, the development of GOV.UK.
GOV.UK is the online home of government services and information in the United Kingdom. Released in October 2012, it was the first phase in the creation of a single domain for government, addressing the needs of users previously served by several other websites. GOV.UK is a key element in the government’s Digital by Default agenda, which was instigated by Martha Lane Fox’s “Revolution, not Evolution” report and endorsed by Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude.
GOV.UK has been built and tested in public, so that feedback from real users could be gathered and fed into successive improvements. This is in stark contrast to how large government IT projects have been delivered in the past. The agile, iterative approach means that the site can rapidly accommodate new standards for development and security, catering to emerging technology platforms and user requirements. These techniques have been shown to be more effective at delivering large-scale projects for the web – in the same way that world-class services like Amazon, Google and iPlayer are built and maintained.
GOV.UK has also been built using open source technology, which means that government won’t have to pay expensive software licensing costs.
Francis Maude on GOV.UK
Francis Maude said that creating GOV.UK has required a step-change in the way government presents services and information online:
GOV.UK is focused on the needs of users, not the needs of government. It has been planned, written, organised and designed around what users need to get done, not around the ways government want them to do it – providing only the content they need and nothing superfluous. Not only is the result simpler, clearer and faster for users, it will also cost taxpayers up to £70 million less per year than the services it replaces. We anticipate further substantial savings as more departments and agencies move on to the GOV.UK platform.
In the way it has been built – and will continue to be updated and improved on the basis of experience and user feedback – GOV.UK is an example of how the civil service should keep continuously changing and improving and remain focused on outcomes. The public wants services to be delivered better, and with GOV.UK we are responding with a digital platform that makes services quicker and easier to use, and produces efficiencies for government.
Check out the GOV.UK Website and see how you like it, also see if you like the process they have used to redesign their site. If you find this interesting and useful, please talk to your elected officials to see if your Town or City can use a similar process for their website redesign.
This article is based on information from the GOV.UK Press release: “GOV.UK: making public service delivery digital by default“, first published on 17 October 2012.