I know there are more websites out there than Gov.uk, but I somehow feel the need to keep returning to it. It makes the news quite often for positive reasons, which is incredible for a government digital project.
Here, the BBC’s Rory Cellan-Jones profiles the Government Digital Service:
The boss of the Government Digital Service was previously the digital director at the Guardian and has had a long career in the technology sector. He contrasts the approach his team is taking with the standard government IT procurement process, where a massive contract is handed to an outside supplier, inevitably a huge company.
“You then end up three years later with something that might be fit for what you were doing five years ago.” Compare this with the GDS approach: “Do it quick, fail fast, learn your lessons and continue to change – that’s why you need the skills inside the organisation.” And with a philosophy of open standards, there is much more flexibility to work with other, smaller suppliers as the project moves on.
Although FAQs sometimes have their place, I often advise against them because they are usually not user-centred in design. The GDS agrees:
FAQs are convenient for writers – they put everything in a long list; it’s all neatly organised and the ‘Q’ does a lot of work for you. But they’re more work for readers – questions take longer to scan and understand than simple headings and you can’t take any meaning from them in a quick glance.
Also see the comments for an interesting discussion on FAQs.
Jeremy Keith uses Gov.uk as an example of a well-implemented responsive design, which adapts according to the device. This article also talks about how the advent of responsive design necessitates improvements in the way we work.