GOV.UK is the new Government information website that will replace Direct Gov and the Business Link websites from Wednesday 17th October 2012.
The idea behind GOV.UK is to bring almost everything published by the Government together under one ‘domain name’ i.e. GOV.UK – and the new website will also include the business advice and information formerly included on the Business Link website.
Launched next week, the website will aim to be a simpler, clearer and faster way to use government services online. The designers of the website, the Government Digital Service, claim that ‘user needs’ rather than an assumption of what the Government thinks are needed, will be at the heart of the new service.
One of the design principles behind the GOV.UK is to make the website as inclusive, legible and readable as possible – the people who most need digital services are quite often the people who will find them hardest to use.
So will the GOV.UK website achieve its aims? We’ve had a look at the website which is available to browse now (but not an official source of information until Wednesday 17th October 2012) .
We tried the following searches:
How much is a passport? We put Passports in the search bar (actually we spelt it wrong the first time, but our original mis-spelling was still clearly visible in the search box, so was easy to correct), and found the page on renewing a passport within two clicks of the mouse.
When is the next Bank Holiday? Bank Holidays. We found the date in big clear letters in two clicks.
Renew my TV Licence? TV Licence. In three clicks we were on the TV Licensing Website at the Renew Now page.
When is the next School half-term Holiday? School holidays. We thought this might be tricky, because school holidays vary so much in different local authority areas. In two clicks we were taken to a page to enter our post-code. The third click took us to GOV.UK’s Get Started on East Riding Council page. The fourth click took us to the correct page on the East Riding Council’s website.
So from our first simple test – we found everything easily. Of course the real test will come after Wednesday 17th October 2012 when the site becomes official and used for millions of search requests. But from first look, HU12 Online is impressed!
Note: GOV.UK is a TEST SITE until official launch on Wednesday 17th October 2012