The New South Wales government has launched a public beta version of its new centralised website.
Last month Customer Service Minister Victor Dominello announced that more than 500 of the state government’s 750 websites would be erased in order to cut costs and improve user experience.
The new “one-stop shop” site is now being tested publicly and will spend the next two months in beta.
On Thursday, Dominello said governments should be looking at the private sector’s expertise when it comes to digital customer service.
“Websites and social media channels are very often the front door into government for citizens looking to access information about policy and services as well as applying for licences, grants and other approvals,” he said.
“We should aspire for the experience to be as seamless and intuitive as shopping on Amazon, searching through Google or making a booking with Uber or AirBnB.
“In order to achieve this we need to ensure that every government website is equipped with simple feedback tools so we can track and quickly respond to customer sentiment by continually iterating our websites and processes.”
NSW government digital channel director Mark Higgs said the beta version would be subjected to “ongoing development, consolidation and continuous improvement”.
“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 wrote in a blog post.
“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.
“Insights to inform continuous improvement will be gained from on-page direct feedback via thumbs up/thumbs down, further user testing and Google Analytics data.”
The NSW Design System has been used to build the alpha prototype and the beta site. According to Higgs, the use of common and core patterns have helped to cut down on design, development and testing time.
Since the project kicked off in mid-2019, the Department of Customer Service has been consolidating websites in consultation with other state government agencies through workshops, showcase presentations and one-on-one sessions. Higgs noted the department has developed a whole-of-government content strategy to improve user experience, enable agencies to efficiently publish and maintain their content, and outline how content will be organised and managed.
Consolidation of websites will continue throughout March, and the public beta site will run until April.
Based on the UK government’s website, the new platform has been designed to “save people time and provide taxpayers with value for money”, Dominello said.
Victoria’s Department of Premier and Cabinet has also looked at consolidating websites in the past, with its Single Digital Presence project. The project aimed to bring DPC’s more than 50 websites onto a single platform, that would eventually stretch across the Victorian government.