Foreign Office works with GDS to revamp digital services for UK citizens abroad

Written by Sam Trendall on 14 September 2017 in News
News

Government creates 229 dedicated pages for services in individual countries and streamlines embassy sites

The newly created 'navigation pages' contain a range of information and services for 229 different countries

The Government Digital Service and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office have worked together to revamp all British embassy websites and the digital services offered for UK citizens in other parts of the world.

After a successful trial covering seven countries, the GOV.UK website has created dedicated “navigation pages” for 229 nations worldwide. Each contains comprehensive information concerning help and services available to UK citizens visiting or resident in the country in question, including a number of digital services, such as applying for emergency travel documents online.

Alongside this, the websites of the UK’s 239 embassies overseas have been pared down to contain only information on services that are available via the embassy. This streamlining comes following a realisation within GDS that GOV.UK’s ‘Worldwide’ section was, compared to other parts of the site, confusing and difficult to use.


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“Embassy pages were long and difficult to navigate. They were also ranking highly on Google for search terms relating to help and services that the embassy doesn’t offer,” GDS said.

“For example, if you searched for ‘lost passport in France’, the French embassy page would be the top search result. This is misleading because if you lose your passport you need to get an emergency travel document or report the passport as lost, not contact the embassy. This mean that users would pick up the phone and contact the embassy, rather than finding the service they need online.”

GDS worked with the Foreign Office to identify what content should be moved from the embassy pages onto the new-look navigation pages – which are currently in beta phase.

“We’re monitoring how this content is performing,” GDS said. “So far it looks like users are finding what they need online, which is great.”

 

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