Single Government Portal To Replace DirectGov In October
Gov.uk will be the single site for public sector services
Following a successful ten month beta test, UK government is in the final stages of launching a new government portal, gov.uk, to replace DirectGov and other sites and serve as a single point of reference for all public sector operations.
Upgrading the government
In 2010, the government’s digital champion, Martha Lane Fox, launched an online review of Directgov, hoping to design a replacement for the public sector portal based on user feedback. The old website is serving over 30 million visitors each month. By now, it is eight years old, which is way past expiry date as far as the Web is concerned.
By 2011, the Cabinet Office spent £261,000 and launched an experimental prototype named alpha.gov.uk, which is now closed, followed by another round of consultation and feedback.
The first beta of the current gov.uk iteration was launched in February this year. The government believes the single website approach will lead to savings of £50 million a year, thanks to software licence, infrastructure, and operational cost savings.
The beta was built by a small team of designers, developers and managers from the Government Digital Service (GDS). It has been designed “to make it simpler, clearer, and faster for you to get to what you need from government.”
The new website includes features to satisfy 667 citizen “needs”. In comparison with its predecessor, GOV.UK boasts improved search algorithms, simplified interface and a clean, modern design that’s a far cry from the bright orange Directgov. The website offers more online services than ever before, and presents new ways to organise information, which should make access to relevant material a lot quicker.
“We’re using open software and tools as much as possible, and developing in the open. The site is hosted in the cloud. Our processes are iterative and agile, we have daily stand-ups and our walls are covered in whiteboards and post-it notes,” wrote Tom Loosemore, deputy director of the GDS earlier this year.
“What it means is – we’re building GOV.UK the way Google build Google and Amazon build Amazon,” he added.
The website is already available for use, but a disclaimer warns that some information it contains might be “inaccurate or misleading”. On 17 October, all content from Directgov will be automatically transferred over to GOV.UK, and users will be automatically redirected to the new portal.
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