GDS introduces algorithmic ‘related content’ links to GOV.UK

Written by PublicTechnology staff on 20 June 2019 in News
News

Tests show users click on automatically chosen links and make less use of search

The Government Digital Service (GDS) is introducing ‘related content’ boxes generated by an algorithm across GOV.UK, following random tests on whether users clicked on them.

Around 2,000 GOV.UK pages already had such boxes, shown on the right-hand side of pages such as that for UK bank holidays. But the links are chosen by human editors, meaning a lot of effort would be required to extend these across the site.

GDS used an A/B test, where users were randomly served a GOV.UK page with or without a related content box of automatically-generated links. Versions of algorithms were tested for about a week, and staff wrote software to analyse the results immediately on completion of each test, allowing them to make adjustments rapidly.


Related content


In a blogpost, GDS data scientists Suganya Sivaskantharajah and Mat Gregory said that users clicked on related links in more than 2.4% of cases for the best-scoring algorithms and used the internal search service 20%-40% less, the latter suggesting they were finding what they wanted through the links. They added that having considered other criteria, GDS has chosen the Node2Vec algorithm, created by researchers at Stanford University, to generate links as it has more potential for improvement. 

“We decided that we would not replace the hand-curated links in those 2,000 pages that had them, as despite how good our algorithms are at the moment, they still do not have the same context as a subject matter expert,” Sivaskantharajah and Gregory added.

The work to introduce this appears to be ongoing, as the GOV.UK page used as an example in the blogpost on paternity pay and leave is currently not showing a related content box.

Share this page

Tags

Categories

CONTRIBUTIONS FROM READERS

Please login to post a comment or register for a free account.

Related Articles

GDS spent £5m on ‘data and user insights’ last year
23 June 2022

Minister reveals organisation undertook a range of work to gain insights into performance of services

IPO clears patent backlog and claims digital services will help avoid future queues
22 June 2022

Long-standing to-do list was cleared by recruitment of staff and dedication of resources to focus on key technology areas

First five services to pilot new government-wide login from September
17 June 2022

Minister says rollout of One Login will learn the lessons of previous projects and will not take a ‘big bang’ approach

Is the UK ready for the future of compute?
17 June 2022

The government’s upcoming review should consider ways to increase the country’s computing capacity, believes Laura Foster of techUK