Gov.UK, the UK government's services and information index, has admitted that the "sheer volume and low quality of all the things" is preventing users from finding what they need on its web portal.
In fact, 73 per cent of content on Gov.UK is viewed by "less than 10 people a month," the service has revealed.
The candid admission came from Trisha Doyle, the Government Digital Service (GDS) head of content design, in a blog written this week.
Doyle admitted that Gov.UK has such a historical issue with user discoverability of content that a team called "Finding Things" has already been set up to address the problem and has found that building "better search and navigation" is "part of the answer", and is being acted upon.
However, Doyle added that Gov.UK could "build the best search and navigation in the world but if there's lots of content that's poorly titled, duplicative and written in a way our users don't understand, they will never find what they need to complete their task".
With 2,500 items of content added every week to the tune of 300,000 items in total and 250,000 downloadable files. Doyle admits "civil servants' time is being wasted producing content hardly anyone is looking at and users' time is being wasted sifting through hundreds of pages on the same topic".
Doyle doesn't mention the amount of UK tax payers' money being wasted on paying these civil servants, but take that as read for a service with rather a track history of such.
Moving forward, Gov.UK is promising seven themes to help them "decide what to do next", and these range from insisting "content remains important" to "content needs to be part of service design" to bemoaning the "really hard job" content designers have to do.
While this sounds more like a list of moans to raise at a quarterly management meeting, Doyle distills everything down into three further points of change: design around publishers' needs, fix search and browse and enable the design of end to end services that transcend department silos.
In the absence of a metaphor to describe how slowly the public sector moves (generally "at public sector speed" being the textbook example of near-halt in itself), there seems little left but to wish Doyle and friends the best of luck.
Gov.UK is also looking for feedback from users themselves.
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