James Barbour

James Barbour

Press Secretary and Head of Communications

Part of UK in USA

2nd March 2012 Washington DC, USA

Digital by Default: The New Gov.UK

One of the great things about communications in the age of the Internet is how quickly you can get a message out. Whether it’s an email, or a blog post, or a well placed tweet, we can get information where it needs to be—anywhere in the world—in the blink of an eye. But the downside is that if we don’t keep up as the Internet grows and changes, it will leave us behind.

UK in USA on the new Gov.UK Beta
Screenshot of UK in USA on the Gov.UK Beta

Thankfully the new Gov.UK platform is pushing the British Government websites to the front of the pack. Starting in 2010, the Government Digital Service has been working to build a single-domain platform: instead of each Ministry having a different set of design and technical specs for its site, every Government website will operate off the same basic code. The testing sites were launched at the end of January 2012. And this week, the beta of the new UK In USA platform—the British Government’s web presence in the United States—went live as well.

As someone who always enjoys a new tech toy to play with, this is really cool. The content is redesigned so you can search it more easily. The format has been redone so there’s less clutter and a cleaner look. It’s all geared toward getting you the information you want as smoothly as possible.

So check it out, and tell us what you think. These projects only work to iron out the kinks when we get constructive feedback, and from as many people as possible. With your help, we can make the Gov.UK platform live up to its aims.

And while we’re on the subject of new toys, I’ve just bought a Vectrix.  More of that anon.

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One comment on “Digital by Default: The New Gov.UK

  1. Just wondering as the digital age is supposed to speed everything up but I can remember getting more done in the “old days” without these speed up tools.

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About James Barbour

James Barbour is the Press Secretary and Head of Communications at the British Embassy in Washington. He joined the FCO in 1997, having studied Politics at the University of Edinburgh. Roughly half of his career has been spent in London, in a range of jobs covering the OSCE and the Balkans, corporate social responsibility and corporate governance, press work and public relations. From 2000 to 2004 James was posted to the British High Commission in Cape Town, and more recently spent 2007 to 2011 in Moscow. In Washington James is responsible for managing and portraying the Embassy’s – and the British Government’s – public presence in the United States, engaging in debates in the US media environment on policy issues of importance to the UK, and contributing presentational perspectives to the Embassy’s policy discussions. James is keen to help the FCO make the most of social media; this is his third blog, and he often dabbles with Facebook, Foursquare and Twitter. James is joined in Washington by his wife Carrie and their two children.

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