I-RECALL: Behind the Hype - Government website seeks simplicity The Government has gone live with UK Online, but is it too simple to be effective?

Finally the portal for UK Online, the Government initiative to get all of its services and the British public online within the next five years, has gone live.

Finally the portal for UK Online, the Government initiative to get all of its services and the British public online within the next five years, has gone live.

The aim of the site is to give the public a single source of access to all the Government's services from health and birth queries through to tax-related applications , and to generally demystify the Government online.

The portal is a replacement for its predecessor - www.open.gov.org - which offered an overwhelming array of different routes of access to various portals.

The site was too confusing and complicated, giving visitors too many different routes to the same end, and it did little to help clarify matters for the public.

Characteristics www.ukonline.gov.uk is very simply designed and punctuated by pictures of people both young and old, as well as happy babies. The main index is divided into three section - quick find, life episodes and citizen space.

'Quick find' provides a search facility that visitors can use to track down a particular governmental department or service.

'Life episodes' provides advice to visitors on what precautions to take when moving house, having a baby or going away on holiday. It informs you about things such as your legal obligations when a child is born or when someone in your family dies.

'Citizen space' provides information on how to get more involved in local government, and you can register your views online, as well as post them to a community messaging board.

They've certainly kept things simple, but the categories are a little too broad.

Principals The UK Online initiative is overseen by the webmaster-general, Lucian Hudson.

Marketing Ogilvy & Mather has been given the task of putting together a campaign to encourage more people to come online to access governmental services.

Competitors There are none.


We're not convinced

Well, obviously these guys will stay online, but the site could do with some design therapy. Although appropriately simple, the directory is trying to kill too many birds with one stone.


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