The Government Digital Service (GDS) has relaunched the Civil Service website using the WordPress blog tool, one of the most widely used content management systems on the internet.
Details of the project have been made public on the GDS blog, which says the website was relaunched on 30 September. The approach contrasts with that used for the previous iteration of the site in 2008, which involved the customisation of an off-the-shelf content management system. The blog says this initially worked well but became dated and inflexible and incurred considerable hosting costs.
We (the Digital Engagement team) were tasked with producing a new site at very little cost and within a six week window. To restructure the content to make it easier to find we used Google analytics to analyse typical user journeys. Harnessing user insight will be an iterative process through the ongoing development of this site.
We chose to use WordPress as it offers a simple, quick (with such a short development window) and flexible open source solution to a site primarily designed for publishing content. As such it is easy to use for a wide range of content editors and, of course, provides significant cost savings for maintenance and development. Rather than develop a theme ourselves we chose to use a theme called ‘striking’ developed by Kaptinlin that fitted what we needed with a little customisation.
Using WordPress also means we can tap into the plug-ins that the large WordPress developer community creates to solve problems that would have caused major work. For example using a WP plug-in to amend some of the 30,000+ links that were migrated saved time and stress when faced with a tight deadline. We needed to compress the initial 500 page offering with 2649 media files, the vast majority being.pdf documents, to 320 by using the theme’s tabbing function on pages.
- ThemeForest Striking WordPress Theme
- Government uses WordPress for Civil Service website
- Holding the fort: developing a new Civilservice.gov.uk
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