The original vision for GOV.UK identified three broad user groups and until recently much of our energy has been spent on the first two, resulting in the 'Services and information' and 'Departments and policy' sections of the site. There is still a lot more work to do in both areas but we are now also thinking about the third category, referred to internally as Specialists.
We currently define ‘Specialists’ as the users of GOV.UK whose needs are dictated by their specialist interest or profession. This can include groups as varied as Teachers, Geospatial Analysts, Care Home Managers and Regulatory Affairs Managers in the Pharmaceutical industry, to name but a few.
By the time the migration of the 300 plus agencies and ALBs is complete the current GOV.UK structure may not do a very good job at catering for the needs of these users. We must start preparing the site now.
Due to the number of websites moving to GOV.UK it's not possible to look at all the content in detail so we are using the Transition projects priority list as a guide and have identified a short list of organisations to use as a starting point.
Our plan is to uncover evidence of Specialist user needs by speaking with the users of these websites to understand the most important shared problems they have with the current government website and potential problems with GOV.UK in its current form. We will then prototype and test a minimal viable solution as quickly as possible.
It’s likely this will initially take the form of a dedicated area for specialists that will be quite simple but then evolve as we better understand the needs of this audience and build out the required navigation, tools and formats to handle greater volumes of more complicated content. Obvious examples of this work include site search improvements, report finders and alerting tools.
Over the coming months we’ll share more about the Specialists project, the first being a post about our approach to User Research and some of the findings so far.
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