The NSW government has offered citizens a sneak peek at the redesigned single government website that will eventually replace more 500 of its existing websites.
A public beta version of the refreshed nsw.gov.au website went live last week after four months of development and testing by the Department of Customer Service.
The website is slated to become the “centralised online home of NSW government”, replacing more than 500 outdated government websites in a bid to save millions of dollars over the next decade.
There are currently more than 750 websites and 35 different content management systems across the state government.
The website, which spend the next two months in beta, has been built using common and core patterns from the NSW design system to reduce design, development and testing time.
It has been built around a large search bar, similar to that of the UK’s gov.uk website. Customer Service Minister Victor Dominello had previously said nsw.gov.au would take cues from the UK.
The department adopted an agile approach to deliver the project, which has allowed multidisciplinary teams to “deliver at pace, with frequent incremental releases”.
NSW government digital channel director Mark Higgs said in a blog post that the beta website currently offered a limited amount of information, but that this would improve over time.
“The beta website includes the minimum features needed to support a number of test customer journeys including births and deaths, active kids, drought and bushfire support,” he said.
“It’s not perfect, it still needs some design and content refinements, however our incredible team have delivered a huge amount of work in a short timeframe.”
He said the website would benefit from continuous improvement that takes insights from “on-page direct feedback via thumbs up/thumbs down, further user testing and Google Analytics data”.
The department has also developed a strategy to help agencies organise, manage, publish and maintain their content, while ensuring an “inclusive, consistently high-quality user experience”.
The strategy will also be used by agencies to determine what content is appropriate to publish on which website, as nsw.gov.au will replace only two thirds of the government’s 750 existing websites.
Department of Customer Service deputy secretary William Murphy used NSW budget estimates to stress that the consolidation project would not result in the removal of any government information.
“At the moment, the traditional approach is to structure that information by the name of government agencies, which can make it harder for people to find information,” he said.
“Every time the content is moved from a government website onto nsw.gov.au platform, that former website will be archived so that people will be able to go in and see what was there before the transfer of information occurred.”
The public beta is expected to run until April, with further consolidation of government website to occur from March.