Why This Simple Government Website Was Named the Best Design of the Year

Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan on Gizmodo: “When was the last time you tried to find a government form on the Internet? For me, it was a few months back, trying to track down an absentee ballot. And while I love American flag GIFs as much as the next patriot, I was amazed at the labyrinth of independent sites I had to visit before I found what I was looking for. Bringing the web presence of an entire government under one roof is a Sisyphean task, and the UK is one of the only countries that’s managed to do it, with Gov.uk, a one-stop-web-shop that launched earlier this year.

Today, at a ceremony in London, the site was named the 2013 Best Design of the Year by the Design Museum, beating out 99 shortlisted buildings, inventions, and cars for the honor. It’s the first website to ever win the six-year-old title, too—which illustrates just how remarkable the achievement really is.

Here’s what makes it so deceivingly special.


Why This Simple Government Website Was Named the Best Design of the Year


Why does a straightforward, cut-and-dry website deserve the award? Because of that straightforwardness, actually. “There were thousands of websites, and we folded them into Gov.uk to make just one,” says Ben Terrett, head of design at the UK’s Government Digital Service, in a Dezeen-produced video. “Booking a prison stay should be as easy as booking a driver’s license test.”…

Terrett describes Gov.uk as an attempt to bring web design up to speed with technology like Glass, where the user interfacer all but disappears. “We haven’t achieved that yet with most web interfaces, [where] you can still see the graphic design,” he says. “But technology will change, and we’ll get past that.”