New UK Government Information Website

The UK government has a new website in beta aimed at improving citizen access to official services and information. hopes to be “simpler, clearer, faster,” as its tagline says.

By the look of things, the site succeeds. The design is plain and appealing. (I’d dump the set of scrolling options. It could be that they’re aiming to give viewers something engaging to do; but I think that a simple list of half a dozen FAQs would work better.)

As is often the case on the internet, there’s no top level entry for “Law.” (There is one for Crime and Justice, leading to various material focussed on violations.) Entering [law] in the prominent search box, however, does bring up a bunch of non-criminal legal topics — the first of which touches on law and fox-hunting, of all things.

The site is developed from and exemplifies a set of Government Digital Service ten design principles, most of which would make a good foundation for anyone building a website:

  1. Start with needs
  2. Do less
  3. Design with data
  4. Do the hard work to make it simple
  5. Iterate. Then iterate again.
  6. Build for inclusion
  7. Understand context
  8. Build digital services, not websites
  9. Be consistent, not uniform
  10. Make things open: it makes things better

Does Canada have anything approximately like the Government Digital Service? Any such set of web design principles?


  1. This is fascinating. Indeed, I venture that these principles may be useful not just for digital designers, but for institutional designers, and for those working in institutions! (If you’ll permit the self-reference…)

  2. Melanie Bueckert

    Well, there are the Common Look & Feel guidelines. The Government of Manitoba also has Website Development Standards, as I’m sure most provincial governments do.