Revamp aims to boost usability of e-gov site

The e-envoy has shaken up the government's online services to make them more user-friendly, accessible and useful.

The e-envoy has shaken up the government's online services to make them more user-friendly, accessible and useful.

Directgov, a new service launched last week, brings together information from across a series of government departments to create "packaged information" targeted at specific groups.

The move builds on the concept of "life episodes", such as having a baby or taxing a car, that were at the heart of the government's first efforts to deliver online services through the UK Online site.

"Despite initial interest in life episodes, take-up was low and there has been difficulty attracting long-term interest," said e-envoy Andrew Pinder.

The first three target groups for Directgov will be parents, motorists and the disabled and their carers, with the information pooled from various departments. A lead department will have the franchise for all information on each life event.

The idea is to save users from having to navigate their way across a series of sites, such as those of the Department for Education and Skills or the Department of Work and Pensions.

Introducing the service, Pinder said, "This is a major step forward in joining up online government services. Directgov addresses how people use the internet and has been designed around the needs of the consumer."

The government hopes the revamp will increase usage of the UK Online portal, which currently attracts 800,000 regular users. At the same time it will rationalise the UK Online and government websites, of which there are now more than 2,500, and help to overcome the problem of some sites carrying out-of-date or inaccurate content.

Pinder indicated that there would be a strict management regime to ensure that departments charged with leading the franchises make updating the content a priority.

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