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Ben Terrett on Making the U.K.'s One-Stop Government Website Cool

The chief designer at the U.K.’s one-stop government website on making it cool and easy to renew a passport
Ben Terrett on Making the U.K.'s One-Stop Government Website Cool
Sophie Davidson for Bloomberg Businessweek

I don’t know if you’ve ever used a government website, but typically no one wants to hang out there. No one’s ever paid a tax and then said, “Brilliant! What else can I pay while I’m here?” Before we came along, there were more than 1,700 different government websites in the U.K. Each one had a different look and feel. Each one had a different user experience. In each one the language was different.

Our goal at the Government Digital Service was to create one site and one user experience. And what that means is, if you schedule your driving test, that should be the same user experience as booking to go renew your passport. If you buy something, that should be the same all across the government. You shouldn’t have to learn how government works to be able to interact with government. You shouldn’t have to relearn how to do something every time you need to get something from government. Typically people visit government websites once or twice a year. We need to make it really simple and really obvious.