Gov.uk has vowed to overhaul its content strategy after revealing that almost three-quarters of its posts, files and documents are viewed by less than ten people each month. The Government’s public information website features more than 300,000 items of content, and it admits that users are struggling to find what they need.
In a candid blog post published earlier this week, the Government Digital Service (GDS) Head of Content Design, Trisha Doyle, said that there is currently a problem with content, largely due to an outdated and inefficient strategy. She said that the sheer volume produced each week is making it difficult for teams across the Government to maintain documents, which is leading to inaccurate content that users can neither understand nor trust.
“For us, archiving means making sure it’s not confused with current and more relevant content from a user’s perspective,” Doyle said. “But we do need to organise our content better, consolidate the things that need to be read together to get the full facts and make sure it doesn’t contradict.”
GDS has now outlined a new content operating model with seven themes at its core. Doyle revealed that it has already created a “Finding Things” team to address the problem with its huge stock of content but vowed to bring in a new culture focused on design, search and navigation and build coherent services that meet user needs.
One issue that remains out of GDS’ control but has a detrimental impact on digital transformation is the fact that the Government still operates on a traditional, paper-based and reactive basis that is geared for high-volume and time-pressured communications. Gov.uk is still adding more than 5,000 items of content and downloadable files every month.
Doyle added that their guidance to publishers does not illustrate clearly enough what good looks like, and that their tools do not make it as simple as it could be. Although there are too many PDFs, which they know are not ideal for accessibility, they consider it difficult to alter behaviour when the alternatives are not yet easy or intuitive enough to use.
GDS is aiming to implement the changes as soon as possible and has asked website users for their thoughts and feedback to aid with the process.