In a world where there's an app for nearly every product and service, the UK Government Digital Service (GDS) still rely on its website to serve its customers. "But why?" You ask. Ben Terrett, former head of design at GDS outlined some of the reasons in a recent interview. He said the problem with mobiles apps is that they require a lot of commitment and resources. Apps are "very expensive to produce, and they're very very expensive to maintain because you have to keep updating them when there are software changes." He concludes that government services are much better off with responsive websites (websites whose layout and design adapt in accordance with the device it's being accessed on). "If you believe in the open internet that will always win," Terrett said, adding that responsive websites are also much cheaper to build and maintain. Another benefit of responsive websites is, he adds, that when you want to push an update, only one platform needs to get updated. From the report: Key to the GDS' approach is designing for user needs, not organizational requirements, Terrett says. "That is how good digital services designed and built these days. That is how everyone does it, whether that's Google or Facebook or British Airways or whoever." The problem is that public sector agencies tend not to design with citizens in mind. "Things are just designed to suit the very silos that the project sits in, and the user gets lost in there," Terrett adds.According to estimates, the move to go the responsive website way has saved them $8.2B in four years.
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