The first thing you see when you walk into GDS is the 7 main messages which guided the build of the GOV.UK alpha. Visitors to GDS often scribble them down, and like our Design Principles they help provide a shared language for people inside and outside government.
They’re also really useful points to keep in mind as we build a community around the exemplar services and the new service manual.
Highlights – this week marks 6 months of GOV.UK, with some great statistics including 187 million visits to the site and 546 million page views since launch. We were really pleased this week to be chosen by the Design Museum as their Design of the Year 2013 – not just for the team in GDS, but for all the departments who’ve been supporting work on GOV.UK. The Digital by Default Service Manual was also launched this week; we’d love your feedback – get in touch through the site. And another big departmental move to Inside Government, with DWP’s corporate content coming over.
Next week sees two more departments moving over: Treasury and Education, and we’re also holding the monthly meeting of departmental Digital Leaders. On the agenda are a presentation from Tim Brooks, from our Digital Advisory Board, and a look at training for service managers. We’ve also got some international visitors, including ministers from Indonesia and South Africa.
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The Government Digital Service started out as a small group of people with experience building and running large online services. Since then we’ve grown the team, added lots of smart people, and talked to even more experts from other organisations. The Government Service Design Manual is an attempt to bottle that collective wisdom, with the aim of improving public services and making sure they meet the Digital by Default Service Standard.
So how did we write and review more than 286 (at the time of writing) items of guidance?
Today we welcome the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to GOV.UK.
DWP is the 21st department to move to the Inside Government section of GOV.UK. It has joined Inside Government with almost 900 publications, 9 new policies, a host of case studies, and detailed guidance on Universal Credit and workplace pensions.
Last night we were surprised and proud to win the Design Museum’s Design of the Year award.
That picture sums up what I want to say. This is not just a win for GDS, this is a win for everyone across government.
In that picture there is a fraction of the team who have worked on this at GDS: designers, content editors, developers, product managers, operations, strategy, engagement, and project management people. There’s the Minister for Civil Society, Nick Hurd, and Rohan Silva, Senior Policy Adviser to the Prime Minister. Pippa Norris from Ministry of Defence, Roger Oldham from Ministry of Justice and Adam Bye from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. There’s also Margaret Calvert (who designed the UK road signage system in the ’60s) and our little award.
Today we launched the Government Service Design Manual. It sets out the agreed Digital by Default Service Standard, and provides tools, guidance and code to help teams across government achieve it.
It meets one of our 14 commitments in the Government Digital Strategy. And it demonstrates the future of collaboration and governance in government digital and technology: browser-based, iterative, owned by many, and with a strong bias towards action.
In the Open Standards Principles we said that we’d set up an Open Standards Board to help us to decide which open standards to use in government IT.
Now that we’ve published the first 8 challenges on the Standards Hub, it’s time to set up the Board and start making those decisions.
We need to be sure that before any of the identity assurance framework suppliers begin providing services to departments, they are certified as being capable of delivering proof of identity as defined in the Government’s Good Practice Guides.
As one of the product analysts for GOV.UK, search is my main focus. Recently I built a handy tool to get an overview of Google search results, to help us review and optimise our content. I thought it was worth sharing as other people might find it useful, and my version was inspired by the work of others.
How to use the rank checker
If you just want to get on and use it, you don’t need to know much about how it all works. First, get your own copy of the spreadsheet:
- You’ll need to be logged in to a Google/Gmail account with access to Google Drive (formerly Google Docs)
- Open the view-only Google SEO rank checker spreadsheet
- Select File > Make a copy…
- Give the document a name and click OK
Highlights this week – a great presentation to all our staff from Adam Bye of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, who’ve recently moved all their services to GOV.UK, and the completion of further departmental moves including Defra and the Ministry of Justice. The Student Loans Company, working with GDS, have just completed a major digital product release, including significant changes to their registration process. Several other large transactions at Defra, the Home Office, DWP and HMRC are also making progress.
Next week sees the full launch of our Service Standard manual – advising anyone who is working with us how we want to build public services online – and also the move of DWP’s corporate information to GOV.UK. Our other big news is that GOV.UK has won the Design Museum’s digital category for excellence in design this year.
(Full transcript below)