We're shortly going to make some changes to Departments and policy topics so that it's easier for GOV.UK users to navigate from one part of the site to another:
- the 'topics' link will be removed from the Departments and policy navigation altogether as we've found that click throughs are low compared with other headings
- we're also removing the topics link from the footer of all pages for the same reason
- we'll replace the word 'topics' with 'policy areas' elsewhere on GOV.UK to make it clearer to users what sort of content to expect if they click - this will affect organisation pages and filtered lists such as policies, publications and announcements
Long term browse changes
We're considering retiring topic pages altogether in favour of the more granular and curatable specialist browse pages.
Topics were introduced when central government departments transitioned to GOV.UK and were a great way to explore their content by broad subject areas. Now that there's much more agency info on GOV.UK, we're finding that these topics conflict with other parts of the site.
Our analytics shows that the majority of users arriving on topic pages leave almost immediately, either via search or by exiting GOV.UK altogether. Guidance featured on these pages is the exception and still performs relatively well, but specialist browse does a better job of surfacing this content.
User research shows topics aren't well understood. We've also found that users subscribing to email alerts on a particular topic aren't receiving the info they're expecting. They're also looking for info at a more granular level than the topics provide. We think that offering alerts from specialist browse may fit the bill so we'll start exploring this soon.
There's still a lot of work to do on this and, if we make the switch, we need to work out an orderly transition of content from one browse structure to another.
In the meantime, please look out for the minor changes we're making and let us know any questions you may have.