https://insidegovuk.blog.gov.uk/2013/10/15/featuring-on-topics-is-live-please-feature-something-today/

Featuring on topics is live: please feature something today!

The ability to feature content on topic pages is now available. It was deployed to production early last week.

We're keen to see the impact this change will have on bounce rates on topic pages. User research and analytics tell us that users want this thematic route to find content, but the format is not currently meeting that need as successfully as organisation pages do. We've made several changes to address this, the most significant of which is to allow featuring so the currently most important content in each policy area can be showcased to users.

My homepages, plural

We therefore encourage editors in ministerial departments to now think in terms of having several "homepages" that are their responsibility to curate - not just their organisation page.

Our previous blog post contained a list of which department leads the curation of which topic.

If you're an editor in a ministerial department, these topic pages are yours. You own the topics that your department leads, in the same way as you own your organisation pages.

You don't need to clear with GDS which items you feature on them. We only ask that you avoid creating new topics, changing topic names or editing the agreed summary text without involving us. (And, as with organisation pages, we encourage you to feature content that is most helpful to users, irrespective of its format or age).

Curating certain topics will involve more collaboration between departments than others, but this needn't be onerous - it's just a case of sending a quick email or picking up the phone when you're making a change to what's been featured by someone else.

So today, or the next time you feature something on your organisation's page, please also make sure you consider featuring it on relevant topic pages.

Where to find the featuring interface

The user journey in publisher is a bit clunky at the moment. We will iterate on it soon. In case you're struggling to find it, go to More > Topics > [Topic X] > Featured documents to add, remove or sort the featured items on a topic.

Future plans

We are continuing to make improvements to topics. Among other things, we are:

  • adding "top task" links to help users jump out to mainstream services and information if they are in the wrong place
  • considering changing the name to "Policy areas" as it is a clearer and more accurate reflection of the proposition
  • improving the effectiveness of the "What is the government doing about..." keyword filter on the topics landing page

9 comments

  1. Marisol

    Lovely! Thanks!

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  2. Neil Williams

    MOD have got in there fast. So if anyone is looking for an example of how it displays, here you go: https://www.gov.uk/government/topics/defence-and-armed-forces

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  3. David Pearson

    Loving it in principle - though unless I'm being stupid, finding stuff to feature is a little tedious - it feels like a somewhat unstructured and unsorted list of all content tagged against the topic...

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  4. David Pearson

    ... and one more... we can't find Case Studies listed in the stuff we can feature. This is sad - and I'm sure an omission. This would be a really nice way to surface them!

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  5. Neil Williams

    Hi David

    I agree that the featuring UI is awkward right now. We will make it better as we keep on iterating.

    We deliberately only allow case studies to be listed as links from the things they illustrate, because they are always a study of *something* govt is doing or proposing, and I can't see how they meet a need in isolation. To date this has only meant surfacing them on policies. Happy to revisit that if you have an example of a case study that users need to dive straight into.

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  6. David Pearson

    I - sadly - take your point about case studies and customer need.

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  7. Michael Williams

    Hi Neil

    We've featured 2 policies on the Welfare topic page since Monday. Yesterday we updated one of them and today we noticed it had unfeatured itself. We've replicated this bug on the test platform.

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    • Graham Francis

      Hi Michael - sorry about that. We'll raise this as a bug now & sort it out.

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  8. John Ploughman

    I've only just realised that when featuring on a topic page, the published/updated date of the featured content isn't displayed on the topic page. However, it does display for featured content on org pages.

    I wondered if this was a conscious decision?

    We want to feature relevant content on our org homepage. In some cases this can be content that is months old. This can make the org homepage feel a bit out of date.

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