UK Government site wins 2013 Design of the Year Award

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British government site GOV.UK has won the overall design award for the 2013 London Design Museum Design Awards, and was also selected as winner of the digital category. The site, a replacement for Direct.gov, lets UK citizens manage and search data related to government services. Ben Terrett, Head of Design at the Government Digital Service said the service was built on ten design principles, the most important being focusing on user need.

More on this case study…
Brand: UK Government | Sector: Government | Country: UK | Objective: Build brand enagagment | Format: Web Design

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The site was chosen from the top choices in each of seven categories awarded last week. The judges were unanimous in their vote. The website beat 97 other contenders including a Louis Vuitton collection, The Raspberry Pi computer and Microsoft’s Windows Mobile operating system.

Previous winners of the award include the London 2012 Olympic Torch, a folding plug designed by Min-Kyu Choi, and the Barack Obama "Hope" poster by Shepard Fairey.

The gov.uk website is the work of the Government Digital Service.

Ben Terrett, Head of Design at the Government Digital Service said the service was built on ten design principles, the most important being focusing on user need.

“The first principle, and the most important one, is to start with user needs. We built this website by relentlessly focusing on user needs, and then designing around that. That naturally leads to a very simple, very clutter-free, website. People are just trying to find out what their VAT rate is or what the minimum wage is. So we’ve stripped everything back, and let them do that quickly as possible.”

The designers have been working on the site for more than a year following recommendations in a report by Martha Lane Fox.

User numbers soared in October after a previous incarnation, Directgov, was switched off. This Monday alone, more than 6 million people visited the site. The Government has predicted the overhaul will save millions of pounds.

All 24 government departments will be on the site by the end of the month, and Government Digital Service is working on bringing 300 agencies on board. In all it is replacing 2,000 websites, although it will not be bringing in the NHS or local government.

Deyan Sudjic, Director of Design Museum said in a prepared statement: “GOV.UK is a remarkable success on so many levels. It makes life better for millions of people coping with the everyday chores, from getting a new passport, to paying their taxes. It’s a reflection of the government understanding how to communicate with the country in a way that works.”

Category winners:

Architecture: TOUR BOIS-LE-PRÊTRE, PARIS
Designed by Frédéric Druot, Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal

Digital: GOV.UK WEBSITE
Designed by Government Digital
Service

Fashion: DIANA VREELAND: THE EYE HAS TO TRAVEL
Directed by Lisa Immordino Vreeland

Furniture: MEDICI CHAIR
Designed by Konstantin Grcic for
Mattiazzi

Graphics: VENICE ARCHITECTURE BIENNALE IDENTITY
Designed by John Morgan Studio

Products: KIT YAMOYO
Designed by ColaLife and PI Global

Transport: MORPH FOLDING WHEEL
Designed by Vitamins for
Maddak Inc.

DIGITAL SHORTLIST

Candles In The Wind
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Chirp
Designed by Patrick Bergel

Dashilar App
Designed by Nippon Design Centre Inc.

Digital Postcard and Player
Designed by Uniform

English Hedgerow Plate
Designed by Jason Jameson, James Hall and Rhys Griffin of Unanico Group, with Andrew Tanner Design and Royal Winton

Free Universal Construction Kit
Designed by Free Art and Technology Lab and Sy-Lab

Light Field Camera
Designed by Lytro

Superstitious Fund Project
Designed by Shing Tat Chung

Rain Room, (The Curve, Barbican Art Gallery)
Designed by rAndom International

Raspberry Pi Computer
Designed by Raspberry Pi Foundation

Wind Map
Designed by Martin Wattenberg and Fernanda Bertini Viegas

Windows Phone 8
Designed by Microsoft

Zombies, Run! App
Designed by Six to Start and Naomi Alderman

Watch this video from the BBC with highlights from the 2013 design awards:

Visit the awards website here

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