A few weeks ago, GOV.UK celebrated its third birthday. Today, at the D5 summit of digital governments in Estonia, Lord Bridges announced that we’re marking a new milestone: we’ve just passed 2 billion visits since the site went live in October 2012.
GOV.UK is now part of the UK’s national infrastructure, helping millions of people find the government services and information they need every day. Services like renewing vehicle tax or claiming Carer’s Allowance, and information like calculating how much maternity leave and pay you’re entitled to, or the rules for running a limited company.
The most popular page on GOV.UK is Find a job with Universal Jobmatch, with 56.3 million page views between October 2014 and October 2015.
Desktop vs mobile
You can see the unstoppable march of mobile devices reflected in our site statistics. In 2012, just 21% of visits were from mobiles and tablets. By 2015, that figure had gone up to 40%. On weekends, it goes above 50%.
The service with the highest percentage of mobile device visits is Book a prison visit, at 62.9%.
We always start with user needs, not government needs. Our users are why we’re here. Reaching 2 billion visits is great news, but ultimately it’s not about numbers, it’s about making a material difference to people’s lives. Here’s a couple of short film clips from interviews with real users that explain what we mean.
First, here’s Nyasha talking about Register to vote:
And in this film, Ann describes using the Lasting power of attorney service:
Some other things you may not know about GOV.UK:
- with 922 million visits to the site in the last year, GOV.UK is one of Britain’s biggest websites - outperforming three major UK news sites and two of the leading entertainment sites
- in the last year, GOV.UK was visited an average of 29 times every second - that’s 1,730 visits per minute, or 103,800 visits per hour
- GOV.UK also simplifies many of the tasks that used to take days and lots of form-filling - The new Carer’s Allowance digital service removed 170 questions (49%) from the application process saving precious time for those who spend their lives caring for others
- GOV.UK is designed to reflect users’ changing online behaviour - 40% of visits to the site are now via a mobile or tablet - with prison visits the most likely service to be booked this way - an increase from 20% when the website was first launched in 2012.
- people now access GOV.UK in many different ways - 16,500 visits came from games consoles in the last month (Xboxes/PlayStations/Nintendos) - including 65 sessions from a handheld Nintendo 3DS
- you can use GOV.UK anytime you like - its busiest hour is 11am (8.1% of total visits per day). 24% of user sessions take place between the hours of 7pm and 7am - 3.1% of sessions take place between midnight and 6am. Surprisingly, 20,000 people a month sort their vehicle tax out between 1 and 3am.
- April 20th 2015 was GOV.UK’s busiest day ever, with almost 4 million visits - This included 750,000 visits to the register to vote page in advance of the 2015 general election
GOV.UK is here to make UK government services simpler, clearer, faster. To see how the site is serving citizens live, visit http://www.gov.uk/performance/site-activity.
Register to vote: Nyasha
Politics affects you whether or not you’re into it so it’s never been in my head to not vote. Definitely issues that affect young people are important to me. I heard about the Register to vote service when I just went online and searched ‘Register to vote’. It’s just kind of, go on, very straightforward, get your National Insurance number card and then done, sorted. Knowing that your voice is being heard, I think that’s the best part.
Lasting power of attorney: Ann
I’m 67, and I’ve done the lasting power of attorney for my mother. My mum’s grasp on modern-day living, as it were, was a bit limited, so it was decided then that I would pay all the bills, sort everything out for her.
Three years ago I had a stroke and you start thinking about your own mortality, and you start thinking about, “If something had have happened to me, then how would Mum have coped? What would have happened?”
Anyway, looking on the internet, and I literally stumbled across the government site for the lasting power of attorney, started to look at it and I thought, “This is good, because you can download all the paperwork yourself, you don’t need a solicitor, and the instructions that went with each section of the lasting power of attorney, they were in proper people speak, not in legal jargon, so it was very easy for me to follow it.
If I can do it, anybody can do it, you know. It’s easy… the written instructions, you just can’t go wrong. And I would say now to anybody, “Don’t be frightened, don’t worry about going to see a solicitor; do it yourself. And I’m glad I did it and I’m glad I did it when I did it. My mum is really pleased.”