Revamped e-gov portal goes live

The new-look version of the Government's UK Online citizens' portal went live last week, boasting a range of new features...

The new-look version of the Government's UK Online citizens' portal went live last week, boasting a range of new features designed to extend e-government to the person on the street.

UK Online's nine existing "life episodes" have been replaced by "life events", which government officials describe as more intuitive and user-friendly than their predecessors. Two more life events, "starting a new school" and "your choices at 16+", have also been added.

These are the first life events to be added to UK Online since pensions minister Iain McCartney launched a pensions and retirement life episode in July last year. Like life episodes, life events are designed to guide people through key stages in their social development.

The site has undergone a major facelift. Most noticeably, in response to user feedback, the number of images used on each page has been reduced.

Users can also now book a driving theory test through the site, which is effectively the public face of the UK's e-government strategy.

The new hosting partner for the relaunched version of the government portal is Loudcloud, a managed services company which was co-founded by Internet pioneer Marc Andreesen.

In November 2001 the portal was moved to an interim hosting service run by not-for-profit company EduServ, following the termination of negotiations with previous supplier, BT.

Designed to link more than 1,000 government Web sites, UK Online is set to play a crucial part in Tony Blair's plan to make all government services available electronically by 2005.

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