GOV.UK – Design of the year, a breakthrough for all of us

Last night the GOV.UK website won Design of the Year after winning it’s category - Digital - last month.

Significantly, I think, it is the first website to win the prize. The work itself is excellent, the team is outstanding. I know and have worked with some of them, and they genuinely are some of the very best in their fields.

The win is well deserved. The transformation of the organisation is less talked about, and despite obvious setbacks (“Digital by Default” came under fire recently, “Identity Assurance” seems to be taking longer than originally sold) massive progress has clearly been made. But I think they have won something for us outsiders too.

For everyone working in digital generally, and design in particular they’ve won the right to finally say “No” and do less, better. To do it properly and stop cutting corners. To take the time to start small, write yourself principles and guidelines – and then follow them. Any coincidence that the Service Manual was published yesterday? No doubt, people will copy now – but that’s the point.

This isn’t just a really good website that almost everyone will use. It’s a guide on how to make really good websites for anything, for everyone and that’s powerful. So thank you GDS. Imagine if that power could, inevitably, sell things too? I await the ‘ of advertising’ with, almost, positivity.