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What we’re working on: 17 July 2015

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What we’ve been working on since the last update, and what we plan to do next.

What we’ve done since 26 June

Running and supporting GOV.UK

Things we've done to keep the site accurate, available and secure, and to meet the most pressing needs of government publishers:

  • worked with HM Treasury to write the main (plain English) Budget news story and create the first fully-HTML Budget paper
  • gave content designers the ability to archive and redirect mainstream content themselves, removing the need to involve developers
  • fixed a bug that stopped users printing topic pages
  • changed related links so that screen readers can distinguish them from inline links
  • allowed users to subscribe to email alerts about European Structural Funding calls
  • updated information about overseas passport processing times
  • fixed a bug that caused incorrect results to appear in Business Support Finder
  • worked with HMRC to create a set of design principles for its contact records, and a process for reviewing those records
  • fixed a long-term bug that allowed publishers to create a second draft edition of a document in Whitehall publisher
  • fixed CSV exports from Whitehall publisher so they don’t break or timeout
  • held a content style workshop with HMRC, focusing on consistent language across flat content and services
  • improved editing in IE7 following the Bootstrap upgrade to Whitehall Publisher
  • upgraded Mainstream Publisher, govuk_content_api and Smart Answer tools to supported Ruby versions
  • removed MySQL references from support-api so that the application only uses one data store

To help us provide better support to users in future, we've also:

Improving GOV.UK

Mission: joined-up navigation

Mission: needs-based browse - alpha

Mission: one way to preview content

  • started rolling out a general purpose content preview system, which allows editors to view all of GOV.UK in draft form (guidance on how to use this will follow)
  • started migrating specialist publisher documents onto our content preview environment

Mission: comprehensive analytics

  • started capturing the user journey to, so we always know which page users are providing feedback on
  • gave content designers the option to add analytics tracking code to transaction start pages so we can follow user journeys right through the service

Mission: links to local government

  • updated the list of council codes that we use across the site, so that users can find their correct local councils

Mission: 16 content themes improved by October

  • completed improvement work on driving-related content, which included refining the 'contact DVLA' smart answer to point users to relevant mainstream content before giving them a phone number, improving the tax your vehicle start page and revising the guide to vehicle tax rates

Mission: 5 legacy site transitions

  • completed the creation of mainstream content for the Planning Portal transition - this content is now with the Planning Inspectorate for review

Things we plan to do next

In the coming 2 to 3 weeks we expect to:

  • write content for the transition of the SaBRE website to GOV.UK
  • complete improvement work on patent applications, immigration and passports content
  • start content improvement work around environmental permits, professional driving qualifications and members of the armed forces
  • finish transition of Planning Inspectorate content
  • start work to implement 2-factor authentication for elevated permissions in Signon
  • move detailed guidance onto[thing] to ensure all guidance is published under a consistent path on GOV.UK
  • start scoping activity for Scottish rate of income tax implementation
  • update the overseas births tool for changes including overseas DNA testing and document return fees
  • move the specialist publisher onto the new content preview environment, bringing preview functionality to Manuals and other specialist formats
  • start the replacement of our current MapIt application with a newer version, so that we can maintain it more efficiently
  • investigate how local transactions are used on GOV.UK, and how Local Directgov users in local authorities use the admin interface to make changes
  • complete work on adding pagination for finders
  • complete the specialist documents migration to the new preview environment

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.

Neil Williams is Product Lead for GOV.UK. Keep in touch: subscribe to email alerts from this blog.

If this kind of work appeals to you, take a look at Working for GDS – we’re usually in search of talented people to come and join the team.

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