GDS tells public sector to 'be bold and unpublish' unnecessary web pages

Written by Sam Trendall on 19 July 2017 in News
News

Government Digital Service lifts lid on success of project to simplify process of starting a business online

GDS has reduced the number of pages on its website offering guidance for new business by more than two thirds

The Government Digital Service has counselled public sector bodies – and businesses – to “be bold and unpublish” to ensure they have websites and digital services that are fit for purpose.

The advice comes in the light of a recent project conducted by GDS to simplify the process of setting up a business online. The government’s technology unit has reduced the number of pages on its website offering guidance for new businesses from more than 50 down to just 16, according to a blog by GDS content designer Jeni Street.

This pruning, she said, has resulted in a 25% rise in the number of clicks through to the online services needed to start a company. A 5% drop in the number of pages visited before accessing those services has also been observed, wrote Street.


Related content


She said that public bodies should work together with GDS in creating their digital services, and that it is crucial to focus on users’ most important needs, and ensure the utmost simplicity.

“People don’t care about internal processes – they just want to ‘do the thing’; for example, set up their limited company, or register for self-assessment,” Street said.

Painful as it may be, she urged digital and IT professionals across the civil service to be bold and decisive when it comes to stripping back their websites and online services.

“It can be nerve-wracking removing content that’s been there from the very early days of a website,” she said. “It might be well-established in search engine results, have lots of referrals from other sites, have thousands of unique page views a day.”

Street added: “However, if the findings from user research and analytics suggest that it’s not working, then you have two options: do nothing, learn nothing; [or] be bold, do something, and learn from it.”

The GDS content designer concluded by saying that designing and repurposing digital services should be an ongoing process.

“One of the most positive experiences on this project was the way in which we were able to draw on evidence from both data and user research to make the case for change,” she said. “And this doesn’t stop when we hit the ‘publish’ button – or the ‘unpublish’ button.

“We’ll keep evaluating how well GOV.UK is meeting the needs of people starting a business in the UK, and collaborating with our colleagues across government to make it better.”

Share this page

Tags

Categories

CONTRIBUTIONS FROM READERS

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

Related Articles

Test and Trace signs £9m one-year AWS deal
26 May 2021

Contract – which is not signed under the terms of the public sector-wide OGVA – covers provision of cloud services

Unwrapping government’s £300m Amazon package
7 May 2021

Since a public sector-wide agreement with AWS was introduced six months ago, departments have signed contracts worth hundreds of millions with the cloud firm. PublicTechnology takes...

GDS ramps up researcher recruitment
22 June 2021

Digital agency looks to boost teams dedicated to GOV.UK, government as a platform, and digital identity

Related Sponsored Articles

Social justice: how the police can embrace online channels of citizen communication
17 June 2021

PublicTechnology talks to Salesforce about why police forces need to adopt new omnichannel capabilities, offer the public channel choice and the benefits of doing so

"The inflection point is here": how Covid is driving digital transformation in health
9 June 2021

It’s been one of the most challenging years for healthcare providers, but Salesforce sees lasting change from accelerated digital transformation

The largest ever UK public sector cloud transformation unlocks cost savings and innovation
17 May 2021

Cloud-based applications can provide ways for agencies and departments to innovate and operate in new ways, as the past year has highlighted they must, writes Oracle