Open source, user-focused - is this a model government websites worldwide should be emulating? As Gov.uk launches, we take a look under the hood.
The UK government has launched a new website, Gov.uk, to replace and integrate its previous sites Directgov and Business Link as the primary location to find government services and information.
The design team took the decision to be as public and open with the build as possible. The site, which launched in beta earlier this year, was built on open sources technologies; the design principles were shared online in a 10-point document, the public were kept informed of updates via the Government Digital Service blog and the code was shared on GitHub.
The new site looks sleek and modern, with the breadcrumb-style navigation of its predecessors replaced with a simpler and more user-friendly search-based model.
The main aim of the new site is to give its users - the UK public - the information they want in a simple and intuitive way. "People don't hang out with the government," said Richard Pope, who was product manager of the beta. "So you have to build things that genuinely work for everyone rather than just ticking boxes, and you have to design to get people in and out as quickly as possible."
Other aims of the project are the ability to iterate quickly and easily, and the huge cost savings to the public purse. Gov.uk is expected to cost taxpayers up to £70m less per year than the services it replaces.
We're big fans of the new look - the new monochrome logo is superb and we're glad to see the back of the garish orange that dominated the old Directgov site. As for usability, we look forward to seeing how easy the British public find it to use in practice.
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What do you think of the new site? Let us know in the comments!