To PDF or not to PDF?

A classic challenge when adding content to GOV.UK is deciding what format is best? Our Annual Report is laid before parliament as a print version and we usually upload a PDF version to GOV.UK. Inspired by the Summer Budget 2015 HTML version, we’ve decided to put the Annual Report online as a web page, as well as the PDF version. It will be a good way to compare what format people used the most. It took me 2 day and a half to transform the 108 pages PDF into the web page. I’m looking forward to analysing the statistics in a few months.

We also turned our Local Land Charges: Local authority pre-digitisation and migration guide from a PDF to a web page with attached documents.  This makes it easier for users to find the guide and learn about the updates made to the guide using the history tag.

Reading anonymous feedback

Did you know that you can give feedback about our GOV.UK pages? In June we received a total of 62 pieces of feedback, so about 2 a day. Use the link at the bottom of any page on GOV.UK.

Help us improve GOV.UK

I love anonymous feedback, because it forces us to look at the user journey from a different point of view. For example, we received the comment ‘trying to find a postal address to send a cheque’. We explain how to pay fees from each of our four fees guides, but not from the fees homepage. So we’ve added information about ‘how to pay fees’ to our fees homepage. We also added a header to every form’s web page (over 100 forms), after comments from people asking where to send the form to and how much it costs.

I also improve content on GOV.UK by working with colleagues and GDS. I request text changes when we have evidence of people getting it wrong and applications being rejected. A case worker colleague suggested adding a sentence on the property ownership page (screenshot below), as there’s been confusion about the need to use a trust deed to change the way they hold the land.

after-ST5

We get lots of applications to the Citizen Centre where people get this wrong and then ring us up to ask us what to do. If we make our guidance clearer from the outset, it might help applicants to lodge it correctly in the first place. Or failing that, to seek help from a solicitor.

What we’re working on next:

  • Adding information about forms to make it easier for people to fill them in and know they are using the correct form
  • Exploring the user journeys for customers to apply to our business e-services

Stephanie Hill
By Stephanie Hill,
Web content manager at Land Registry