A couple of weeks ago, the team who worked on the visit visa alpha for the Home Office came in to GDS to talk about how it went. We asked Katy Arnold and Chris Atherton to explain a bit more about how they’ve found testing the service with users around the world.
Why did we go to the effort of testing our prototype with dozens of people all over the world? Basically, we did it because they are our users. Around 1.5 million visitor visas are issued every year and we want to make the best possible customer journey for people coming for a lovely holiday in the UK. Read more
The transition team are the people responsible for helping hundreds more agencies and organisations move their websites onto GOV.UK.
They’ve started blogging about that work, and I wanted to explain a bit more about what that work means for GDS. Read more
This week Minister for Government Policy Oliver Letwin came to see the work going on at GDS; the Open Standards Board is meeting, and GDS people are out speaking at DARE London and Government ICT 2.0.
Mike Beaven gives the latest news on the Transformation programme work going on at the Home Office, Defra (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) and DWP (Department for Work & Pensions). Lots of GDS people are speaking at events this week, including Structure Europe, EPIC2013, Monitorama and Webexpo, and on Thursday Richard Perez, Director of the 2014 World Design Capital Cape Town, will be visiting us at Aviation House. Read more
Back in May of this year I tweeted about how impressed I was that London-based agency ustwo had released an update to their “Pixel Perfect Precision” handbook, which included a new section on accessibility.
The handbook, written so that new members of their team can quickly get up to speed on how they’re expected to work, was notable in that it pushed accessibility as a skill designers and developers should be giving consideration to. That it does so in such an open and inviting way is a great thing.
As the Accessibility Lead for the GDS I spend my time sharing that view; across the GDS, and across wider government, and the web community. I was contacted by ustwo and invited to go and speak to their designers and front-end developers about my role in the GDS, how we work, and the kinds of things that accessibility here encompasses.
On 1st July the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) launched the beta of the Lasting Power of Attorney digital tool. Service manager Kit Collingwood wrote about the release on the MoJ Digital blog, and we asked her to write about what they’ve learned since.
Even though it’s only been six weeks since we’ve launched, we’ve already learned a lot. Overall, our experience of going live has been great and the feedback so far has been brilliant – I’ve got to use my favourite line from a member of the public: ‘Dear Sir: this is the best government website I’ve ever used !’
However, nothing ever goes 100% to plan – that’s where the fun and the challenge lie. We’re really cutting our teeth on the LPA service and, though we’ve got an amazing cross-agency team and had prepared really well for launch, you can’t predict exactly what will happen when you go live. In the event, it has been easier in some ways and harder in other than we’d expected – here are our top lessons: Read more
We introduced a new version of the GOV.UK homepage a few weeks ago, and since then we’ve collected lots of data about what’s working and what improvements we can make.
We thought we’d share some of the headlines here. You can find the full analysis over on the Inside GOV.UK blog, the best place to follow what’s going on behind the scenes of GOV.UK.
Mike Beaven talks about how GDS has been helping Technology in Business fast streamers learn about coding and design, the beta release of the employment tribunal fee service and the ‘GIST’ spending tool, which provides data visualisations of government spending. Next week we’re hoping to publish performance data from the lasting power of attorney application.
Mike also welcomes new starters, and congratulates James Taylor on completing the Trailwalker 2013 challenge.
Read the full transcript
There’s an adage in writing circles known as “kill your darlings”, based on a quote by William Faulkner (“In writing, you must kill all your darlings”). The theory goes that writers should be ruthless about cutting the bits of their work that they love the most, if that’s what the story demands. If you love it, you’re not being objective. If you’re not being objective, it’s likely you’re holding onto it for the wrong reasons and should let it go.
Dropping the words “Inside Government” from GOV.UK, which we quietly did in yesterday’s release, felt a lot like killing one of our darlings.
We are often asked to put content in Frequently Asked Question format (FAQs). They’re a popular convention on the web, but we don’t recommend them and here’s why: