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What we’re working on: 7 August 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 17 July

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 end users:

For people who use the GOV.UK publishing tools, and other colleagues across government, we’ve also:

  • started work to allow HMRC manuals to be tagged and displayed on subtopic pages
  • enabled GDS editors to see manuals for all organisations in the publishing tool
  • started working with Ministry of Justice to build tribunal decisions finders on GOV.UK

To keep our technology stable and up-to-date, and to improve our ability to support users in future, we’ve:

  • made changes to and deployed loads of applications so we can gather data and trace API requests through GOV.UK
  • upgraded our Panopticon app to run a newer version of Ruby
  • migrated the performance platform onto GOV.UK's infrastructure
  • changed the content type of Anti-money laundering registration from licence to quick answer
  • upgraded jQuery on Static meaning that all of the applications powered by Static are now updated to the latest version of jQuery (1.11.X)

Improving GOV.UK

Things we’ve done to improve GOV.UK in relation to the missions on our development roadmap:

Mission: joined-up navigation

  • removed the ability to add detailed guide categories in Whitehall - this mission is now finished, apart from a final review to make sure we’ve achieved what we intended
  • added the ability in Publisher to decide which breadcrumb trail is shown for content items that are in more than one browse category

Mission: one way to preview content

  • upgraded govuk_content_api to a supported version of content API - the content API provides a read-only API layer to access information about any content on GOV.UK; it's how front-end applications access content, metadata and search
  • finished off the content previewing system, including adding a watermark effect to show users that they’re on the preview environment
  • started moving Specialist Publisher (the tool used for publishing manuals and specialist formats like air accident reports, competition reports, and drug safety notices) onto the new environment to support some of our more specialist formats
  • started creating outline migration guidance to assist other teams in planning their move to the new publishing platform

Mission: comprehensive analytics

  • enabled GDS content designers to add analytics code to transaction start pages, allowing us to track user journeys right through the service
  • identified potential approaches to tracking the number of attachment downloads and clicks on external links (in context with other data captured about a visit)

Mission: links to local government

  • investigating how users enter postcodes on local transaction pages
  • provisioned and built new MapIt server in our preview environment
  • continued investigation into how local transactions are used on GOV.UK, and how Local Directgov users in local authorities use the admin interface to make changes

Mission: needs-based browse - alpha

  • analysed initial data gathered since parenting and childcare alpha went live and will have a further team session next week to review and collate some actions

Mission: 16 content themes improved by October

  • continued content improvement work on armed forces, professional driving qualifications and environmental permits

Mission: 5 legacy site transitions

  • as part of the Planning Portal migration, the content team has been working through the factchecking process with the Planning Inspectorate on the new mainstream content for planning appeals
  • completed URL analysis for migrating Planning Portal content to GOV.UK
  • ongoing content work on transition of SaBRE and Nuclear Decommissioning Agency content to GOV.UK

Mission: improve Signon security and usability

  • improved the password reset error message in Signon to a more user-friendly message - the previous messaging was confusing many users
  • upgraded Signon and its dependencies

Mission: intuitive tagging workflow - alpha

  • analysed research on how publishers are using document collections and whether they are sometimes being used as a workaround for missing product features
  • had an initial meeting about policy formats, with 10 organisations working through the best ways to tag and work with policy colleagues on updates

Things we plan to do next

In the coming 2 to 3 weeks we expect to:

  • finalise our work on the content career path, based on what the people who used it had to say
  • create a content plan for a new improvement theme for Justice
  • write new content as part of the transitition of the MOD’s SaBRE website for reservists and employers to GOV.UK
  • working with MOD on improvements to GOV.UK content for the armed forces community
  • complete all the new content creation required as part of the Planning Portal transition
  • complete work to allow topic and sub-topic tagging of HMRC manuals
  • complete the move of Specialist Publisher onto the content preview environment
  • finish our outline guidance for migrating apps
  • look at consolidating some of our API-driven publishing apps and possibly move the publishing API to be a Rails app so that it can be better supported by GOV.UK developers
  • plan research for local links missions
  • investigate how to move from SNAC to GSS codes for location transactions
  • investigate what data is required for our new MapIt instance
  • alert out of hours when our GOV.UK redirector, Bouncer, is down
  • investigate which potential approach to tracking attachment downloads and offsite links offers the best solution
  • allow GDS editors to withdraw and redirect statistics announcements

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.

Jack Church provides Programme Support 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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  1. Comment by Ale del Cueto posted on

    Hi Jack

    I've spotted a few potential issues with the options on the content type filter that is now appearing on policies. I'll submit a zendesk ticket!


  2. Comment by jackchurch posted on

    Hi Ale,

    Thanks for that, look forward to seeing your potential issues.