GOV.UK beta day 1- your feedback acted upon

We said we’d be iterative, so here’s a list of all the changes we’ve made since the release last night. Most of these things went live at 3pm today - largely based on your feedback - so keep it coming!

(So you know - we’ve had 80 actionable comments via Twitter, 75 from Get Satisfaction and 90 via the email address.)

1. We’ve added a sitemap.xml file which was missing from our original release. Google need this to index the site properly, they should be happily indexing away right now.

2. The thing we’re proudest of - we’ve made the smartphone experience of the site quite a bit better since last night - because lots of you asked for it. The places you’ll notice the biggest improvements are on the homepage and all the guides. We’ve also turned off autocomplete and moved the ‘related’ box to the bottom of the page on smartphones. Big thanks to James Weiner, Frances Berriman and Josh Marshall for working on this today and getting it sorted quickly.

Iphone 4 using the mobile guide
Nokia e72 showing an optimised header

3. We’ve enabled json endpoints for search results. This means the site is machine readable for those who want to re-use the content under the Open Government License.Thanks to @harrym for suggesting this.

4. We’ve fixed errors related to kml (which is for location and mapping)

5. We’ve updated the copy on the inheritance quick answer to include information about descendants of grandchildren.

6. The bank holiday page tells you the date of the next bank holiday in big type, we’ve amended this so it also tells you the name of the holiday.

7. We’ve also been fixing the occasional typo and errant piece of punctuation. And we’ve updated bits of content such as:

In the 'Parliament and MPs' guide we’ve refined the list of political parties represented at Parliament to remove a duplicate.

We’ve changed the title of the 'Student finance 2011-12' guide for consistency with the 'Student finance 2012-13' guide.

Thanks very much for  all the feedback we've had so far. More changes to come..


  1. jonleesmith

    Such a massive project, been tracking progress ever since I heard what was going on from Paul Annett (last years wdc in Bristol) was so intrigued and excited by it. Would love to work on such a project in the future. Great job guys.

    Link to this comment
  2. Kristy Fifelski

    This is the epitome of government responsiveness. May I ask about the size of your staff that is dedicated to Can you tell us a little about the resources behind the project?

    Many citizens fault government for being so behind the curve and for taking so long to get things done. Understandably so, but most governments don't allocate the needed resources to their online presence and services. Most government websites are run by one person with many other duties. Certainly not at the level of, so that's why I'd love to know more about the staff and budget resources behind this endeavor.

    Link to this comment
  3. tony walker

    resources = staff size 185
    There were various posts available with GDS - in Decemeber 2011
    That MAY have changed

    Link to this comment
  4. Birth of Betagov « Digital by Default

    [...] as a kind of 5.1 I think it was hugely impressive that based on overnight feedback they released a new iteration of the site today fixing a number of issues users had raised. That is impressive and pretty [...]

    Link to this comment
  5. Martha Lane Fox and Tom Loosemore on BBC News | Government Digital Service

    [...] blogged details of the iterations made to GOV.UK after the first day of public [...]

    Link to this comment
  6. NEXT Berlin 2012

    Beta testing digital government...

    The UK Government has released the beta of a new website that could pave the way for true digital Government......

    Link to this comment
  7. Day 2 of GOV.UK- more iteration | Government Digital Service

    [...] day, another set of updates to [...]

    Link to this comment
  8. RR

    Wow - amazing work! Very simple to use.
    Just noticed some sluggishness in applying font rules when loading some pages. It's most obvious when you click between something like and

    Link to this comment
  9. GOV.UK beta |

    [...] development team we’re pulling together (join us!). Even the very day after GOV.UK went live, several updates were made to the site based on user feedback, including making vast improvements to how it looks on [...]

    Link to this comment
  10. That was the local government week that was « We Love Local Government

    [...] freely available, fixes are being contributed by the public and the beta is changing on a dailybasis. They’re up front about what’s not there (yet) but they’re equally clear that gaps [...]

    Link to this comment
  11. Digital Engagement for the beta release of GOV.UK- our experience | Government Digital Service

    [...] of the highlights of the day was being able to reply to tweets following an iteration release at 3pm which included  improved user experience for smartphone visitors to the site which a lot of people [...]

    Link to this comment
  12. Siyamend

    it seems to me very helpeful and nice improvments have been made, i would like to hav on the new design the A to Z index, i think it is very good tool, i use it a lot,
    many thanks for your efforts,

    Link to this comment
  13. Wayne Davies

    I may have missed it but the driving section should be split for Drivers and Vehicles. and also provide DVLA contact details up front so that we can contact DVLA. The email webform service that DVLA provides is very good and the Gov website should reflect this but having a dedicated split of Vehicles and Drivers information. Also the forms and leflets should be split and in form number order so that they are easy to find and print off. The links in your information are good but there should be a dedicated list of the forms in form and leaflet number order. From what I have noticed the Drivers and Vehicles information are mixed together and you need to scroll down many questions to get to the one you may need.

    Link to this comment
  14. Ren

    Well done all!

    Link to this comment
  15. Government as a local platform? -

    [...] therefore freely available, fixes are being contributed by the public and the beta is changing on a daily basis. They’re up front about what’s not there (yet) but they’re equally clear [...]

    Link to this comment