Skip to main content

Roadmap update: Monday 23rd February

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: What we're working on

We publish updates roughly fortnightly listing what the team has done and is doing next to improve GOV.UK. Once a month we include the latest version of the full product roadmap which looks further ahead.

Download the March roadmap (updated 23.02.2015)


The March issue of the roadmap shows remaining objectives for this year and draft goals for 2015-16. It reflects our current priorities, which are:

  • supporting and improving GOV.UK content and functionality as a whole in response to change and evidence of unmet or under-performing needs (always the top priority)
  • readying the site for the election
  • making it easier for users to find things through site search and navigation
  • making the publishing software simpler and more flexible

The April issue of the roadmap will be published in late March.

What we’ve done since 4 February

For end users

Since the last update, we’ve:

  • built a finder for European Structural and Investment Funds to help users find and apply for EU funding (to be released when DCLG have given it the thumbs up)
  • added some “best bets” to improve search results for some specific search queries following recent feedback and a review of our search files
  • made post-transition improvements to HMRC content, focusing on rates and thresholds and Stamp Duty (this work is ongoing, there's more to do)
  • improved ‘find your nearest’ content by displaying 10 results instead of 5
  • iterated designs for a simplified policy format and completed the initial build of new policy publisher to better meet users' needs and be ready for updates post-election
  • released Atom feeds for all finders and email subscriptions for the Competition and Markets Authority case finder
  • published legacy reports to the marine accident investigation reports finder

For government publishers

For our users around government, we’ve:

  • released a new round of training dates
  • successfully published the first piece of real content from an external application onto GOV.UK through our write API
  • fixed a bug that accidentally unpublished content when an advance publish date was changed
  • made the publishing process for changing release dates clearer for statistics publishers

Technical and process improvements

On the process and technology side, in the past few weeks we’ve:

  • completed work to upgrade the Whitehall application to use Rails 4
  • completed a review of existing insights into search and browse to build a shared understanding of what is and isn’t working for users before we make any changes
  • agreed the technical approach to implementing ‘history mode’ for content relating to previous governments

Things we plan to do next

For end users

In the next couple of weeks, we expect to:

  • run a card sorting exercise to check our service-oriented model of parenting and childcare content makes sense to users, prior to building an alpha (blog post coming soon to explain this more)
  • improve the manuals format, including printing a section, downloading a manual in PDF and searching within a manual
  • continue making post-transition improvements to HMRC content
  • display summaries in the search results of the Marine Accident Investigation Branch’s report finder
  • improve the filtering options and add legacy cases to the Competition and Market’s Authority case finder
  • begin design work on addressing user needs met by the high courts, eg the Royal Courts of Justice, on GOV.UK
  • improve usability of HMRC manuals (published via our write API) by allowing users to navigate forward and back between sections
  • add the ability to subscribe to the statistics release calendar by email alerts and atom feeds

For government publishers

We plan to:

  • announce our pilot content strategy workshop with managing editors from departments and agencies
  • publish archiving and takedown policies for GOV.UK
  • investigate what level of automated quality checking we can offer on HMRC manuals published via our write API
  • plan how we will continue to offer support for content work during the content team’s planned firebreak (8 April to 6 May during the pre-election restricted publishing period)

Technical and process improvements

On tech and process, we plan to:

  • begin the upgrade to Elasticsearch 1.4
  • build tools to help us categorise all the content on GOV.UK, with the aim of greatly improving the site’s information architecture
  • start preparing to switch over to Universal Analytics, which will help us get a better understanding of how users interact with content

As usual, if any of this is unclear, or if you have feedback on whether we’re prioritising the right stuff, please do comment on this post to let us know.

Sharing and comments

Share this page


  1. Comment by Alan Cooke posted on

    FEB-MAR 2015, 2014/15 and 2015/16.

    I take it the style guide doesn't apply to the download document?

    • Replies to Alan Cooke>

      Comment by Neil Williams posted on

      Well.. there's no step in the process of producing this document where I get a content designer to check it over and it hardly seems like the most important thing to use their time doing. But ideally yes, you're right, this should adhere to style. What in particular is bothering your editorial eye? 😉

  2. Comment by Andrew Robertson posted on

    The guidance at does say:
    "All content [on GOV.UK blogs] should follow the Government Digital Service (GDS) style guide and Writing for GOV.UK guidelines."
    "After you write a blog, read it out loud to check it’s written the way you speak. Once you’re happy, always have someone else review it."

    • Replies to Andrew Robertson>

      Comment by Neil Williams posted on

      Yes, we do that for all blog posts but haven't been doing it for the attached roadmap PDF. Will think about doing that in future. Thanks.

  3. Comment by Lee Maguire posted on

    Related to "technical approach to implementing ‘history mode’ for content relating to previous governments": Given the arrangement of the current coalition it's not-controversial to say we will have a 'new' government this year. Will anything be written on this blog about the approach taken prior to these changes being made live?

  4. Comment by Karl posted on

    Hi Neil,

    Really like what you guys are doing. Great stuff. Do you by any chance have a template you can share for the roadmap? Really like the way its all laid out.



  5. Comment by Rachel posted on

    I second Karl - A template for the roadmap would be great. What was it created in?