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Roadmap update: Wednesday 11 March

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Your regular round-up of recent and planned changes to GOV.UK.

(The next issue of the full roadmap will be published at the end of this month. Until then the most recent version is this one, updated 23 February, which includes draft goals for GOV.UK in 2015-16).


We’re currently prioritising work relating to:

  • 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
  • unifying publishing software to make it simpler and more flexible

What we’ve done since 23 February

For end users

Since the last update, we’ve:

  • continued working towards an improved policy format, including building a better page to list all the policy areas
  • finished post-transition improvements to HMRC rates and thresholds content
  • continued work to bridge the gap between the most commonly needed and the more detailed content about Stamp Duty, and to improve user journeys to HMRC’s tools and online services
  • started work on building a corporate presence for courts
  • improved virus scanning of attached files on the blog platform
  • added summaries in the search results of the Marine Accident Investigation Branch’s report finder
  • created designs for ‘history mode’ for various content formats - a prominent block of text which will be shown on content from a previous government
  • completed a thorough review of all the evidence we have about users’ difficulties with GOV.UK’s search and navigation, and blogged about how we will approach making improvements

For government publishers

For our users around government, we’ve:

  • continued building a unified publishing system - adding support for languages, scheduled publications, logging and publishing to draft and live
  • announced our pilot content strategy workshop with managing editors from departments and agencies and blogged some draft principles, for comment
  • staged an internal simulation of a general election, to discover where we have gaps in modelling changes to organisations, people and roles so we can address them
  • updated our guidance to government publishers on how to request and manage a blog on GOV.UK

Technical and process improvements

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

  • deployed a new Elasticsearch cluster, running Elasticsearch 1.4, to allow us to migrate apps to the new cluster one at a time
  • added data about ministers and roles to the content store, which will be needed to make ‘history mode’ work
  • added the concept of government administrations to our data model, and backfilled it with the dates of previous governments back to 1802
  • added a flag which GDS editors can use to differentiate which organisations’ content should have ‘history mode’ applied automatically to relevant content types because they are ministerially led (eg Home Office) and which should not (eg The Planning Inspectorate). We are agreeing this list with departments and agencies directly
  • added a flag to apply ‘history mode’ to individual pages manually so we can fine-tune which pages it displays on (currently restricted to GDS editors)
  • reviewed our processes for triaging and responding to support requests, and made plans to improve it
  • improved memory usages and performance of the logging system

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 (we hoped to do this last week but weren’t ready)
  • continue post-transition improvements to HMRC content
  • release improvements we’ve made to the filtering options and publish legacy cases to the Competition and Markets Authority case finder
  • complete the work to improve HMRC manuals (published via our write API) by allowing users to navigate forward and back between sections

For government publishers

We plan to:

  • publish archiving and takedown policies for GOV.UK
  • test prototypes of improvements to the manuals format, including printing a section, downloading a manual in PDF and searching within a manual
  • continue building a unified publishing system; setting up and deploying the draft publishing pipeline

Technical and process improvements

On the tech and process side, we plan to:

  • upgrade our Rummager app to Elasticsearch 1.4
  • test that our Universal Google Analytics tagging is correctly set up, before we turn off Classic Google Analytics (this test will run for 6 to 8 weeks)

As always, 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.

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