Creating a website for the nation

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Creating a website for the nation

Creating a website for the nation


Hi, I’m Ade Adewunmi. I work at the Government Digital Service, and I’m here to tell you about GOV.UK. We launched GOV.UK in October 2012. It replaced the two big central
government websites; Directgov and Business Link. The idea was to make something simpler,
clearer and faster; something focused on users. Firstly, we took a careful look and worked
out what services and information we actually needed to deliver. We thought, for instance,
that we could probably stop spending tax payers’ money telling people how to haggle when abroad
or how to identify different kinds of waves. We eliminated thousands of pages that no-one
ever visited. Then we made sure that the information we were providing was as easy to find and follow as possible. This, for example, is the page on Directgov that tells you about bank holidays. Now, it has all the information you need and you’d think it would be hard to do it better. But looking at how people actually use the site, we realised that what most people were searching for was the date of the next bank holiday, so we put that right at the top of the page – big and bold. We’ve done the same thing to more complex tasks like working out how much maternity pay you’re entitled to. Before, on Directgov, you’d need
to read all this information. On GOV.UK you just need to ask a few simple questions and the site calculates the answer for you. In April 2013 we finished moving all departmental
sites to GOV.UK together with the sites for No. 10 and the Deputy Prime Minster’s Office.
So instead of every government page having a different design and different navigation,
every site now looks and works the same way. At the same time, we’ve rethought how policy
is presented online. Before GOV.UK, if you wanted to understand government policy on
something like gangs, for instance, you’d have needed to visit all these separate pages.
Now there’s a single page for each policy and all the departments involved share the
responsibility for keeping it up to date. You can even subscribe to those policy pages
so that you’re always kept informed of any changes. And if you’re responsible for a particular
policy you can find out how often it’s being looked at and how closely it’s being read.
Today GOV.UK is handling more web traffic than the sites it replaced at a far lower
cost and users get to the information they need quicker than they did before. GOV.UK
is not perfect and it’s not finished – it’s never going to be. It’s designed to improve,
to react to user needs. We’ve made thousands of changes to GOV.UK and we make small improvements almost every day. This idea – iterative, responsive change – is at the heart of everything we
do. You should visit us at www.gov.uk Hopefully you’ll see something you like; something simpler, clearer and faster.

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