A website does not have to be too flamboyant to bag an award. This was proven by Gov.uk, the online representation of the United Kingdom government, when it won the Best Design of the Year award from Design Museum.
The winning of the said government site came almost as a surprise, including to companies offering web design service providers, because the site is plainly dull. But that is the characteristic that allowed it to best 100 sites shortlisted for the design award.
Gov.uk, a one-stop web shop, received the award due to several factors. Its key features include links to “housing and local services,” “driving and transport,” and even “Inside Government.” The site only displays two pictures: one of the Cabinet Office, and the other of a couple in front of a house backdrop.
The Government Digital Service, the designer of Gov.uk, stated that the aim for the site is to make services very easy and convenient. Launched in August 2012, Gov.uk is said to be saving the British public a total of £50 million in its simple web design; however, its simplicity does not hinder it from bringing together all the departments of the government into one place. Specifically, the site allows visitors to renew car tax, check a student loan’s balance, and get information on tax, among others.
According to the judges, Gov.uk is “elegant and subtly British, simple with a clever design, and is well-thought out but understated.”
According to Ben Terrett, Head of Design of the Government Digital Service of UK, “There were thousands of websites, and we folded them into Gov.uk to make just one. Booking a prison stay should be as easy as booking a driver’s license test.”
Gov.uk is an example that effective web design and development is not just about having eye-catching images or overly complicated design features.
Website designers should consider their audience when coming up with appropriate ecommerce website solutions for websites in order to satisfy customers in all aspects, especially in usability and usefulness.
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