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This sprint for sorting documents in collections, publisher improvements and more

Here are the most significant things we'll be working on in the government section of GOV.UK in this sprint:

  • Translating contact details. We're going to make contact details on organisation pages (in particular Wales Office) and Worldwide office pages (embassies etc) translatable, because they serve non-English speaking users.
  • Improving  change notes in publisher. We're moving where you add change notes from the editing page to the view page in publisher. This will make it quicker to find, and make the distinction between internal comments and public change notes clearer.
  • Inline guidance on use of formats in publisher. It's helpful for users when content is consistently categorised into the right format, particularly because it allows you to filter by kind of document, e.g. case studies from DFID. So we're including inline definitions of what each format is meant to be for in publisher, to help editors apply them consistently.
  • Changes to document filter in publisher. When we did some user testing with editors in departments we found that the publisher document filter was a major pain point. Last sprint we designed an improved filter - which allows you to reset all the fields at once, for example - and this sprint we're going to build it.
  • Improving workflow on collections (formerly known as document series). This is ongoing from last sprint, and will give collections workflow, fact checking, 2nd eyes, tagging to multiple organisations or topics, and more.
  • Multiple, ordered HTML versions. Also from last sprint, this turned out to be bigger than we thought, but it's going to make HTML versions a great alternative to PDFs.
  • Top tasks on topics. Our analytics showed that many people who visited topic pages were looking for related mainstream tasks, so we're going to make it possible to link from one to the other, e.g. from the higher education topic we could link to the mainstream student loans information. As well as coding the feature, we're doing research to find out which are the most popular mainstream tasks related to each topic.
  • Sort documents within groups in a collection. We've had a lot of requests for this from editors, and it makes sense for end-users, so we're doing it now.

We’ll demo where we’ve got to on all this and more besides at the show and tell on Monday 14th October at 3.30pm. Representatives from orgs who are live on GOV.UK are extremely welcome, please comment on this post or email me if you want to come.

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  1. Comment by Andrew Robertson posted on

    Hi Alice

    Would it be possible to publish the doc types referenced in 'Inline guidance on use of formats in publisher', perhaps on the new transition to GOV.UK blog? It would help me think about brigading our files to match GOV.UK and perhaps get our organisation using the new types before we move to GOV.UK. We're not yet using publisher to see the inline explanation.

    I have struggled to understand the different publication types in some cases, so any examples would be good - for example when is a leaflet giving guidance tagged as 'guidance' or 'promotional material'?

    Also, I read about the new national curriculum html document format with interest (such as That is labelled 'statutory guidance' but only 'guidance' appears in the publication types pick list.

    Is using the word 'statutory' meaning that none of the other 'guidance' is important and can be ignored? I suspect not, as some of it will be used to help people comply with the law. Does other existing guidance (such as need altering from 'guidance' to 'statutory guidance'?

    Whilst looking at the publications search, I also noticed the organisation list is a bit random. For example Serious Fraud office is listed but doesn't have any publications, whilst MMO is tagged on this consultation but does not appear in the organisation pick list.

    A final question - do you have any stats on how often the publication filters are used?

    Thanks, and sorry many of these points were a tangent from the original blog post. Happy to follow up any points outside the blog or with our transition manager.

    • Replies to Andrew Robertson>

      Comment by Alice Newton posted on

      Hi Andrew,

      There is already some guidance about how to use each of the document types here: and this is shortly to be updated with much more detail. I'll suggest that we have a transition blog post about this once it's been updated.

      The 'statutory guidance' feature was one that we introduced for DfE, because it was important for their users to have the distinction and all their guidance is clearly one or the other. It only appears at the top of documents, and as part of the metadata in the filtered lists. From the perspective of other organisations, it's not a drop-down option presented to users in the documents filter, so there is no need to go through and recategorise, unless you want to take advantage of this distinction. So far only DfE use it.

      I've checked and I can see the Marine Management Organisation appear as an option in the filtered list of publications. All organisations which have a presence on GOV.UK should be here. The publication filter page receives about 800,000 page views a month.


      • Replies to Alice Newton>

        Comment by Andrew Robertson posted on

        Thanks for taking the time to respond, Alice. It's useful to understand the 'statutory guidance' bit as I'm starting to get lots of questions interally about publications and document types.

        And thanks too for the stats. It's useful to know the publication filters are well used: I'll use that to emphasise the importance of the categorisation, keywords and descriptions when explaining to colleagues.

        The organisation pick list is now better - it was far shorter when I asked the question.


  2. Comment by Cass Martin posted on

    Hi Alice
    Is the ability to sort the order of groups within a series/collection also part of this sprint?

    • Replies to Cass Martin>

      Comment by Alice Newton posted on

      Hi Cass,

      We aren't building this feature because we haven't seen a particular need for this yet. But if you want to switch the order of groups, you can already do this by renaming the group, selecting all documents and moving them to the next group.


      • Replies to Alice Newton>

        Comment by Caroline Pead posted on

        Hi Alice,

        Like Cass, I was hoping that the ability to sort the order of groups would be part of this sprint. I've been mocking up some collections in preview and often need to add an additional group to the ones already created; however, as the additional group has an equal standing or a similar theme to one of the first groups, the renaming solution just creates more work in what would otherwise be a simple task.

        For example, if I set up a collection for the Armed Forces Covenant and I have the following groups already available:

        * Guides for serving personnel
        * Guides for service families
        * Community covenant
        * Corporate covenant

        and then need to add a group for 'Guides for Veterans', above the 'Community covenant' group. I do not want to have to rename and move documents about; particular if a group contains lots of documents.

        I want to create the group and drag and drop it into the correct order, like the drag and drop feature on the publications template, which as been a massive improvement for publishers.

        • Replies to Caroline Pead>

          Comment by Alice Newton posted on

          Hi Caroline,

          Ok, thanks for letting us know that's something that would be useful. We'll look at delivering this as a further feature, prioritised against other work.