Government Digital Service (GDS)
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Our plans to improve navigation on GOV.UK

Blog posted by: , 17 May 2021 – Categories: Content designGOV.UKTransformation.

Laptop and smartphone showing a new prototype GOV.UK homepage.

One of the Government Digital Service’s (GDS) priorities for the next 5 years is making sure that GOV.UK remains reliable, accurate and continues to meet user needs.

That’s why we’re always looking to improve the navigation on GOV.UK.

GOV.UK is a big site. It’s made up of more than half a million pages, and in 2021 has  averaged 17.8 million users a week. This scale of the site, and the huge range of user needs, means ensuring people can find what they’re looking for is one of the most important things we do.

This isn’t a new or unique challenge for GOV.UK. All large websites constantly need to look at the findability of their content to reflect new technologies and their users’ habits.

There are lots of different strands to our work in this area; recently we’ve improved how GOV.UK information appears in search engine resultstrained an algorithm to provide useful related links and made the mobile experience of the site better.

As part of this work on findability, we’ve been looking at how we can improve browsing on GOV.UK. By ‘browsing’ we mean when a user clicks through GOV.UK using menus, topic pages and links.

This is a blog post about why we focused on this, what we learned, and how we’re going to make it easier for users to find what they need from government.

Our discovery

At the start of last year before the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, a small team on GOV.UK ran a discovery to understand how the site’s navigation might be improved.

We decided to look in-depth at this area because the way most users browse the site has remained largely unchanged since 2014. Our main navigation elements - our homepage, topic pages and menu bar - have only had minor iterations in this time.

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