Gov.uk named THE BEST THING Britain has made all year

Website beats Raspberry Pi, The Shard, Olympics et al
By Jasper Hamill • Get more from this author

Posted in Media, 17th April 2013 13:04 GMT
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It’s a website with all the visual flair you would expect from something designed by “cool” Whitehall bureaucrats.

But even though it’s something of a plain Jane, the government portal gov.uk has been named Design of the Year 2013 by the Design Museum in London. A suitable gong was handed to the website’s team at a ceremony last night.

The portal – which brings car tax payments, passport renewals and other public services under one online roof – was selected as the best design from seven competing categories.

It saw off last year’s dazzling Olympic opening ceremony’s cauldron of fire and London’s 1,016-ft skyscraper The Shard – neither of which won their respective categories. Ever-popular wallet-sized Brit PC the Raspberry Pi was also nominated but failed to receive a gong.

Gov.uk launched last year to replace DirectGov, a similar service, and was an ambitious attempt to unify more than 200 different government websites. Using the new portal, British citizens can get advice on joining the dole queue, starting a business, getting compensation and such things.

All 24 government departments will be on the site by the end of this month, although the NHS and local councils will be left with their own non-award-winning efforts. Switching government services online, part of Blighty’s so-called “digital by default” policy, will be a blow to the 7 million Brits who are not on the internet.

Design Museum director Deyan Sudjic described gov.uk as the “Paul Smith” of websites [who he? – sub-ed].

Sudjic said: “It’s a reflection of the government’s understanding of how to communicate with the country in a way that works. It’s simple, direct, well mannered – all the things that we would like to take for granted from the government, but in a sea of red tape and jargon, usually can’t.

“Gov.uk looks elegant, and subtly British thanks to a revised version of a classic typeface, designed by Margaret Calvert back in the 1960s. The rest of the world is deeply impressed, and because it has rationalised multiple official websites, it saves the taxpayer millions, what’s not to like?”

Fans of the site hailed the Government Digital Service, the team behind gov.uk, as the “coolest bunch of civil servants you are ever likely to meet”. In a blog post, Mat Hunter of the UK Design Council added: “The design deemed best in show is something that many had given up all hope of reinventing: the UK government’s approach to information technology.

“How many billions of pounds have been wasted in the government’s procurement of unusable IT systems? You really don’t want to know. So the fact that a team has finally found the formula of success, a formula that is better, faster and cheaper than most private sector companies’ efforts, is something to be shouted from the rooftops.”

Ben Terrett, head of design for the Government Digital Service, hoped the British example of good web design would be copied around the world, adding: “It was described to me as common sense at scale. The potential is massive.”

Prime Minister David Cameron was also very excited that the website won an award. On the official Downing Street Twitter account, @number10gov, he took a break from playing Fruit Ninja to note: “I am delighted.”

Designs that missed out include the LiquiGlide Ketchup Bottle, which aids the passage of tomato sauce from bottle to plate. ®

 

 

 

Defined by your job? (Article)

Probably one of the most uninspiring pieces of drivel I’ve read through in a long while….

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I rarely buy fashion magazines, believe it or not when i do it’s because of the articles rather than “what’s on trend”, but another day for that.

Perusing the aisle I decided to grab a copy of Company (on sale for £1), and thought I’ll treat myself to a copy of Elle. I’m intrigued what they both have to offer and why one can be priced at £3.80 and and the other at £1. I’m sure both contain lovely images of ladies fashion.

Looking past the first 30 pages of advertisement in Elle, I can see how this magazine can make it’s revenue; I then fell upon this article much later in the magazine.

“Are You Defined by What you do?”

Interesting title, I assume Elle is aimed at the more higher end of the market and ladies who are much like “Devil Wears Prada”, strong, bitchy and no regrets in making their success.

So I read….and read…..apart from empathy and facing similar questions myself…..this person was clearly ignorant and sounded exactly like the people who she was looking down upon. Someone who was only willing to work in their dream job and thought it was owed to them.

I can draw many parallels with this person, I was (and still am) a young, female, well educated person who had a brief period of unemployment.

A lot of points in this “interview” made my eyes roll. I sympathise with her about her experience at the JCP, it is a horrible place where you are treated like a scrounger when you’re just claiming what’s needed to get by. The last thing you need is someone who isn’t probably as educated or skilled as you to belittle you and give you the third degree about why you haven’t got a job.

Now roll on the silly expectations and general ignorance. I’m just worried that regular readers of Elle are probably agreeing to all this and sympathising with the woman on all cases.

“…last three months I have applied for more than 25 mainly PR positions…”

– wow ok, lets calculate that, 25 over 3 months, that’s 10 per month?, around 3 applications per week?. I’m sorry, but although I don’t expect a job hunter to be sending hundreds of CV’s out per week, all about quality not quantity. But I would expect a decent application per day is plausible, maybe 2 days per application if they’re all really long.

“….mainly PR positions in Charities or NFP organisations….Mostly, they don’t even bother to acknowledge your application.”

– sorry buttercup, not if you’re aware of Charities and Third sector organisations. Just because you’re previous employment was at a housing association =/= NFP. You’d think charities main aim was to gain funding in order to sustain themselves rather than cloth themselves in glamour and spend money on marketing to show people they care.

– next point, small charities run a tight budget and like many organisations even in large companies, you won’t even get a rejection letter, not sure what you were expecting there really.

“….try to volunteer my services…..but all they will allow me to do is fundraise. I do not want to stand on a street jingling a collection pot.”

– oooh sor-ry. But the notion of fundraising by just jingling a pot is akin the the myth my relatives ask me when I told them I work for  charity ” … you work for a charity…does that mean you don’t get paid?…” *facepalms~*. Clearly “work” and “volunteering” mean the same when were talking about NFP’s…..

– not sure about what fundraising the lady in question actually refers to, but I can tell you our in-house fundraiser is probably one of the busiest (and one of the higher paid) staff in the organisation.

Fundraising doesn’t always mean generating money by street crawling, it does actually mean several very long winded applications for grants and so on. Imagine your average graduate application for a corporate company, then double that, and then redo it again for the next round(s). That’s your average application for ONE grant. Now imagine having to research these grants about what you are allowed to apply for and in what context they will give you the money, is it restricted? will it be in installments? how will they audit how you spent the money? These are not easy tasks and most of the time smaller organisations will have to complete up to 10 applications only to have one small grant. Also don’t forget all the other small organisations and big NFP’s also applying to the same small pot of money.

I don’t expect her to take any job as she clearly states. Which is true, if you have good skills, it’s a waste of your skill set and you take away a low skilled job which could have been given to someone who otherwise does not have high skill level as you. But clearly she would have needed better careers advice about where her skills can be applied and other roles she could adapt them in.

Conclusoin of this article,’I’m still stuck in a rut, I’m losing confidence but i’m still sticking to my guns and looking for PR jobs’. Clearly the title of “Are you Defined by What you do” should be more “You choose to be defined by what you do” I hope the article is written with some sort of irony as this lady has refused to mould and adapt to her situation and find a job to make use of her skill set. She admits that losing her job was losing herself, fair enough I like my job too, but clinging onto something that is clearly causing you grief is hanging on to a bad partner.

I like happy endings, hopefully her strategy of sticking to her guns has paid off and she has found her PR job somewhere. It would have been nice to see her rise from the ashes and move on and actually be happier in another role in order to realise her job does not mean she can ONLY be a PR person, or perhaps she can realise that volunteering or accepting a lower ranked role will get her to the position she wanted. Always best to get your foot in the door if you can.

This article was of someone complaining she’s been hard done and not doing much else to help her situation. Not exactly inspiring or motivating, I’m surprised to read such an article in Elle I was looking forward to something more empowering (Company had some good articles), I hope women don’t just read this and agree that she should still stick to her guns about wanting a high ranked role and to accept anything less would be a waste and she should just stay unemployed and continue to squeam at going to the JCP in her Chanel mascara.