Big up blog.gov.uk

One of the less trumpeted corners of the new GOV.UK digital landscape is fast becoming my favourite piece.

The blog.gov.uk platform is quietly becoming a treasure trove of ideas, advice and understanding. I am currently subscribed to 16(!) blogs from this single platform (btw the combination of Feedly Pro and Press on my phone continues to be a great solution) and regular find myself adding posts to my Evernote, a sure sign something has chimed with me, from this collection.

It is also a nice example of GDS not doing everything themselves. As I understand it (as ever I’m sure someone will correct me if I’m wrong) the platform is delivered by DXW but overseen by a team (including Graham Francis who I worked with a bit in my HEFCE/DIUS days) at GDS.

The Service Manual does explicitly encourage digital teams to blog and it is encouraging to see this considerable uptick and the addition of some more policy & operation focused blogs that while not of interest to me are great to see. A couple of years ago there was a considerable slow down in the amount of people blogging in this space – in fact I could have probably named all of them – so this is a nice turn of events for those of us who value this level of thinking in public.

The list of blogs I am following is below but here are a handful of posts I’ve found interesting recently;

Completing 25 ‘discoveries’

User needs workshops: testing and trialling

Testing times

Reaching all our users*

I’m in the process of planning a ‘discovery‘ phase for a major project at work and in parallel we are building up our user insight capability and expectations so these posts have been incredibly useful in shaping some of my thinking.

Technology at least as good as people have at home

This project at the Cabinet Office is definitely one to watch. Time after time the outdated technology (and access to the internet) for civil servants is raised as a blocker to innovation. I’d never really been at the sharp end of this until this job and you can often almost feel the frustration so if the Cabinet Office can lead the way it will be of benefit to everyone.

Let’s get digital

I just think this is a brilliant idea. Inspired by the gang at BIS we’ve tried a few ‘digital days’ but this is a whole different level and appeals to me on all sorts of levels. A civil service digital team taking the time to get up and help teach their local community digital skills? Really impressive initiative.

* this post is actually on the ‘main’ GDS blog but it fitted in with the theme here.

The blogs

DVLA digital services
We will use this blog to keep you up to speed on all things digital at DVLA. We’ll keep you updated on our progress and will let you know how our new services will meet the GDS digital by default service standard.

DWP digital
DWP digital strategy and exemplar projects – news, guidance and updates

HMRC digital
News and updates on HMRC digital projects and exemplars

Inside GOV.UK
Product updates and news from the Government Digital Service’s GOV.UK team

HMRC transition to GOV.UK
News and discussion about the transition of the HMRC website to GOV.UK

GOV.UK transition
Information and resources for organisations transitioning their websites to GOV.UK

Identity Assurance
News, information and updates from the Identity Assurance programme, coordinated by the Government Digital Service

Assisted digital
News and updates from the assisted digital team at the Government Digital Service

Future of cities: research
News, information and analysis from the Government Office for Science Future of Cities team.

Cabinet Office technology
News, discussion and updates about the Cabinet Office technology programme.

Data at GDS
Data, analytics and insight from the Government Digital Service

Digital transformation
News, information and updates about cross-government digital transformation work.

Student finance digital
Student finance online services: news and updates from the Student Loans Company about the range of improved services in development for students

Accessibility
This is for everyone: documenting how we’re rebuilding inclusive digital services across the UK Government

GDS design notes
We believe in designing in the open. Most of the ideas on this blog will be iterated on over time, some of them will test badly and never make it onto GOV.UK, a few might end up being patterns that we use everywhere.

4 thoughts on “Big up blog.gov.uk

  1. Hey Matt

    Cheers for this – really appreciate your comments. Have to say, we’ve been slightly taken aback by the enthusiasm for the GOV.UK blogging platform – you’re right, there’s some really good stuff on there.

    If you’re interested, there’s a bit more background to the platform here:
    http://digital.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/2013/09/04/introducing-gov-uk-blogs/

    …and a full list of blogs here:
    https://blog.gov.uk

    We’ve got a few things on our minds at the moment to develop the blogging platform, such as:
    – building APIs to make the GOV.UK platform talk to the main GOV.UK platform (eg so that a minister’s blogposts appear in the main GOV.UK search)
    – improving the index page of govermnent blogs
    – improving social sharing
    – a bit more support and training for people who are less confident about blogging

    Really happy to hear your / others views about what our priorities should be, too. But in the meantime, thanks again for the shout-out.

    Cheers, Graham

  2. Matt Jukes says:

    I think the integration with search seems smart – it is probably pretty long tail stuff but I imagine some people will search the main site expecting to get at the blogposts. A long time ago I setup http://jiscinvolve.org/wp/sites/ (its much nicer these days!) and the index page was always a challenge – I do think spotlighting or featuring posts (even if its just the most recent) is useful.

    Good luck with the training idea – I am encouraging a lot of the people in my team to get more comfortable blogging so if you ever want some guinea pigs🙂

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