After much anticipation, we are proud to announce that The National Archives have won the Best example of ICT-enabled innovation and enterprise at the Public Sector Digital Awards for their work on legislation.gov.uk
Rebecca Gill and Mark Pierce from Bunnyfoot joined the team from The National Archives and The Stationery Office to receive the award at London’s prestigious Guildhall. The award celebrates those who set best practice standards for how ICT can be used to introduce new services, new business models and new ways of reaching out to citizens.
The award was for the work on legislation.gov.uk
Legislation.gov.uk is a place where anyone can explore UK legislation. The National Archives are responsible for this and wanted to combine the 2 very different online repositories for legislation (statutelaw.gov.uk, and opsi.gov.uk) into one high quality website service (legislation.gov.uk) that not only presents the legislation, but supports the users in understanding how to navigate legislation.
The project was complex, but rewarding
For Bunnyfoot, this meant detailed research into how people consumed legislation as well as getting to grips with the complexities of how legislation is created and stored. We designed the user interface of legislation.gov.uk to be both usable and accessible to an audience with varied experience of accessing legislation from the general public to legal professionals. It now outperforms the 2 original sites combined and led to a twenty-fold increase in people viewing revised legislation.
Mark Pierce was the main consultant at Bunnyfoot to work on the design side of the project, “This project challenged me to not only design for a usable experience, but also to think about how the information architecture could be mapped to the URI scheme. More importantly, it has made me understand the importance of designing URL structure.”
Sounds like a cliche, but success really was due to teamwork
The way the National Archives and The Stationery Office wholly embraced user centred design and brought it into the heart of their development is what contributed significantly to its success. They welcomed Bunnyfoot as an integral part of the team and immersed themselves in testing, so they could base design feedback on what users wanted rather than personal opinion. It’s interesting to think that the project would have taken a very different direction without Bunnyfoot’s research as it uncovered a very different group of users who had not really been considered before.
“Working on this project with The National Archives and The Stationery Office has been a fascinating and brilliant journey. It didn’t feel like we were coming together as separate teams, we had a shared vision and goal that everyone was part of. The National Archives winning this award has been the icing on the cake.” Rebecca Gill, MD, Bunnyfoot.
We hope this award inspires other government departments to embrace user centre design in the same way. We will be publishing a case study to explain more about the project and our approach.