INSIDE GOVERNMENT – how busy the busy bees have been
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.
As with all GDS product teams, our processes are iterative and agile (with a small ‘a’). This means continuous development based on user feedback, shipping new features early and often, and keeping a sharp focus on the minimal viable product – that’s the smallest change to achieve the desired value.
These are the changes we’ve made so far:
- Made the site work in IE7. We made a lot of design changes very quickly in the weeks before our public release, which broke the site for IE7 users. In particular we had problems with the grid layout and homepage, but that’s all fixed now
- Improved the colour contrast on the main navigation, for accessibility. Several of you had mentioned this in your feedback
- Resolved some layout issues on the page showing all the ministers, on desktop browser widths, so there are no gaps caused by long job titles and the ministers are now in hierarchical order
- Fixed a bug which was preventing images appearing on the publications listing page in Safari, and added design on the publications listing page to make it more readable
- Simplified the design of the ‘latest’ feed on the homepage to make it easier to read. Many people reported legibility issues on the homepage in the first week
- Added images for the featured places on the UK & the world section, and featured news on the page for each country. These now share a similar design treatment as the departments and agencies
- Added icons for UK & the world, ministers and departments listing pages to add colour and interest to those pages, and help with recognition of content types. Seeing them in situ, we think we can make these better so you can expect them to change in the coming weeks
- Extended search so that it now finds the attached documents on pages, and the introductory pages for policy topics
- Fixed a bug that was preventing some newly added content from being indexed by the search
- Taken our first steps towards providing a filter for big lists of content, like publications by policy topic. This was on our backlog already, and many users suggested it too so we moved it up the priority list. We’ll extend this and roll it out to the other content types soon
- We’ve added URLs that expose consultations as JSON: just add .json to the end of a consultations page URL if you want to try it. We do similar things on the citizen part of GOV.UK too, but developers should note it’s a beta and may change (which means please tell us if you have problems or suggestions). We plan to extend it to the rest of INSIDE GOVERNMENT incrementally
- Added a visual guide in the publishing interface to help editors crop the images for use on department homepages, and changed the positioning and dimensions of those images to make them easier to source. There’s a lot more work we want to do to make the publishing system smarter, and we’ll be focusing more on that in the next few sprints
- Addressed all the content comments that have come in from users (have you commented? You still have time to help shape INSIDE GOVERNMENT.
- Published 223 new content items, including:
- 12 speeches
- 25 policies (plus some supporting pages)
- 36 publications
- 16 consultations
- 2 consultation responses
- 132 news stories
As a next step, we’re getting the Whitehall departments more closely involved in prioritising how we spend our development effort, and of course as with all our products we’ll keep iterating based on your feedback.