GDS sets out next phase for GOV.UK: ‘We’re going to experiment’

The Government Digital Service (GDS) has set out its vision for the next phase of GOV.UK.

The new plan, as outlined by GDS Director of GOV.UK Christine Bellamy, looks to develop the digital home for government services up to 2025. It involves the development of a GOV.UK app, increasing the platform’s presence on social channels and embracing new technologies.

“It will involve trying new things,” Bellamy said. “Like any good product team, we should never stand still. We're going to experiment, test our ideas and iterate quickly, using data and evaluation to measure the impact on users.”

More growth 

At the heart of the strategy is growth; across GOV.UK’s product offer, its user base, and its team. Since launching ten years ago, GOV.UK has established itself as the digital interface between government and the public. With over 28 billion page views since go-live; it is consistently among the most-visited websites in the country. 

The next phase involves building on those wins. GDS said it wants provide a more interactive service that ensures people are getting better outcomes from government. “We want to make it quicker and easier for users to access information and services, in formats and channels of their choice, helping them to receive the full support that they are entitled to,” Bellamy said. 

GDS has already experimented with providing a more interactive service on GOV.UK, through the Brexit Checker - which was used over 5.6 million times - and through during the pandemic.  

“These case studies show that by providing a more proactive, interactive and relevant GOV.UK user experience, we can help people to get the right support from government and help government to communicate and deliver services to people,” Bellamy said.

Delivering the vision 

In practice, translating this into delivery will involve nine actionable steps: develop a GOV.UK app; explore how the platform can be used with emerging technologies; develop the presence on social channels; create new content types and expand the use of formats such as video; update the home page and site search; improve the user experience around targeted journeys; evolve the content operating model; reduce the complexity of publishing tools; and update the brand guidelines.

Revising the past

Enabling an exciting, new future can also mean revising the past. “A decade is a lifetime in tech and some of the choices made at the birth of GOV.UK may no longer be the right ones,” Bellamy noted. 

To move forward on its vision, GDS will work with colleagues GOV.UK One Login for Government to align the GOV.UK app with the One Login app. 

“Looking across government, it’s only through partnerships with departments that we’re able to provide a consistent and high-quality user experience on GOV.UK, so we’ve created this strategy by engaging with cross-government stakeholders and will continue to partner with them every step of the way,” Bellamy said.   

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