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A daring new search for the GOV.UK homepage

A daring new search for the GOV.UK homepage

2023-11-01 06:55:25

A graphic of 3 mobile phone screens and 1 desktop screen. The larger mobile screen shows the default view of the new GOV.UK homepage, which includes the menu bar, the header and the search bar followed by part of the Popular on GOV.UK links. The other two mobile screens are smaller and show the rest of the homepage scrolled down, including the first part of the Services and Information section and the Featured sections.

The GOV.UK homepage is a extremely well-liked internet web page, used greater than 1,000,000 instances every week to entry important UK authorities info and providers. Alongside search engines like google like Google and our personal inside website search, it’s one of many major methods into authorities content material. It’s additionally used to speak the aim of the positioning and to create a way of belief between GOV.UK and our customers.

Our strategy for GOV.UK is all about progress: we’re increasing into new channels and attempting to achieve new audiences the place they’re. We need to make it simpler for customers to entry info and providers, serving to them to realize faster and higher outcomes. We last looked at the homepage a couple of years ago, however now we have not modified it considerably since 2014. We need to ensure that the homepage is as helpful as it may be for all customers and that it continues to mirror the modern spirit of GOV.UK. Right now we’re launching the primary of many vital modifications to the homepage, together with:

  • a visible refresh
  • modifications to the web page construction primarily based on what we find out about what customers do and what they anticipate
  • modifications to content material

We’re making enhancements iteratively in order that we will study and tweak as we go. This publish explains the modifications now we have made to date and what we plan to do subsequent.

Bolder, mobile-first design

A graphic of the top part of mobile phone screen showing the new GOV.UK homepage's header. The header uses a blue background and includes the menu bar at the top followed by a tagline saying 'GOV.UK, The best place to find government services and information'. Below the tagline it's the search bar.

The visible design of GOV.UK is daring, easy and accessible. We’re constructing on a wealthy historical past of public sector design within the UK, together with in our use of typography, which references highway signage within the UK. However good design doesn’t stand nonetheless and must evolve as expectations change. For instance, a decade in the past, solely 20% of visits to GOV.UK have been produced from cellular gadgets. Right now, this quantity is over 60%, and continues to develop.

In response to this, in addition to to different modifications in person behaviour, we’ve made the design of the homepage bolder and clearer on cellular gadgets. We redesigned the header space and elevated font sizes and spacing all through the web page. There are much less bins on it and the format is less complicated. We additionally diminished the quantity of textual content on the web page by eradicating content material that didn’t have a transparent person want or that wasn’t used a lot.

We expect that these modifications make GOV.UK simpler to learn and browse, and we’re interested by how they are often delivered to different areas of the positioning.

Simpler to learn

A graphic of the first half of the new GOV.UK homepage on a desktop screen showing the new header at the top, followed by the Popular on GOV.UK links. Below the Popular on GOV.UK links you can see the Services and information list and Featured list appearing next to each other in a 2/3 column grid.

GOV.UK is made up of largely phrases and hyperlinks, and arranging these into clear, usable layouts takes lots of work. That is very true on the homepage, the place nearly every part is a hyperlink, as many customers start their journey right here.

We all know that pages stuffed with hyperlinks might be onerous for customers to scan, so we made some enhancements to make the homepage simpler to navigate. This contains turning the favored hyperlinks right into a bulleted checklist and rising spacing between sections. These modifications make the web page simpler to scan and to determine when one part ends and the subsequent begins.

Reflective of what our customers are doing

A graphic showing 6 screens showing the evolution of the design iterations until the final visual changes.

See Also

Figuring out what customers are doing on GOV.UK helps us enhance it. For instance, if the preferred hyperlink on the web page is on the backside of it, that’s in all probability an excellent indicator that it needs to be moved additional up.

We get insights like this from analytics on web page use, with a person’s consent, and from speaking to our customers. Over the past couple of months, we’ve been tweaking the homepage in response to those learnings. Doing it iteratively helps us rigorously monitor the impression of our modifications, in order that we will reverse them if their impression isn’t what we anticipated. The modifications embody:

  • shifting search larger up as a result of it’s essentially the most used aspect of the homepage
  • shifting the ‘featured’ part above the ‘authorities exercise’ part as a result of we all know extra individuals want it
  • renaming ‘matters’ to ‘providers and data’ as a result of we all know it’s clearer to our customers
  • including one other hyperlink to the ‘well-liked’ part as a result of we all know individuals discover this part helpful
  • turning grids into lists as a result of we all know lists are simpler to scan

What’s subsequent

We’re monitoring the impression that our modifications have on what individuals do on the homepage. For instance, now we have already seen a rise within the variety of individuals utilizing search on cellular since we moved it larger up.

There are extra modifications to come back, too. For instance, we all know that we will enhance how we adapt content material in response to trending person wants. We’ll be testing new design patterns to assist customers discover related info extra simply.

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