Mention the word “API” to the wrong audience and blank looks shortly follow. For the uninitiated, an API, or “Application Programming Interface”, is a way for one computer to use information or services held on another computer, often across the internet. The strategists say that developing high quality APIs has the potential to transform public services. One example where this is proving to be the case is legislation.gov.uk, the official UK legislation website, operated by The National Archives.
Archive for March, 2012
At GDS, we have been building teams focused around product rather than teams focused solely on expertise and I am pretty typical of this ethos. My background is graphic design, so working on the web meant I needed to learn how to build websites as well as designing what they look like. It forced me to think about users’ interactions with, and their journeys through the sites I designed and built.
This afternoon, I attended the first meeting of the new cross-Government Digital Leaders network. Chaired by Mike Bracken it brought together the nominated Digital Leaders from all Government departments and the devolved administrations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland with the ambitious shared remit of reinventing public services for the digital age.
This week saw one of the key set pieces in the Government’s annual calendar – the Budget. All of Government is affected and we’re no different here in Government Digital Service. In this budget the government set out its ambition to make the UK the technology hub of Europe, supporting technological innovation and helping the digital, creative and other high technology industries. Read more
As Product Analytics Lead at the Government Digital Service, one of my interests is how effectively people are finding government information and where they are finding it.
I recently read the post on Government in the Lab; Social Media Drives Five Times As Much Traffic To Australian Government Sites As Online News Media.
Hitwise data showed “between December 2008 and December 2011 social media had doubled its share (of traffic to Australian government websites) while news and media had barely held its own.” The post further reports “by December 2011 social media was sending 9.75% of the traffic to government sites while news and media sites were only sending 2.27% of the traffic.”
The Cabinet Office Identity Assurance Programme (based in the Government Digital Service) aims to help users transact digitally with public services through convenient & secure login mechanisms. Behind this simple objective lies a complex problem: how to ensure the user and the public service have sufficient trust in digital channels. Identity is an important part of the answer.
Since we released INSIDE GOVERNMENT, 2 weeks ago, we’re already iterating and have made a number of changes.
We’ve had tons of useful feedback and we’re making incremental improvements in response, as well as continuing to develop the software and site as planned (remember: when we released this part of the GOV.UK beta it was by no means a finished product. We have a product backlog to work through – that’s agile speak for a prioritised list of features written in the format of ‘user stories’ – which we mentioned in the blog post which accompanied the release. Read more
GDS aims to create digital services that are world class and become the channel of choice for service users. But the demographic of those who remain offline reveals that these very citizens are some of the heaviest users and most reliant on access to public services.
We recognise that if we are to succeed in driving channel shift to digital then services and transactions need to be developed with a relentless focus on users. We want to make use of the most innovative and versatile technology to deliver products that match industry leaders while ensuring that no-one is left behind. Read more about how we are engaging with hard to reach users