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    I don’t know what they put in the drinking water at the office where the GOV.UK people work, but it’s something the rest of the industry needs to bathe in daily. I’m a big fan of their approach, and I’m consistently pleased with the UX any time I have to do or research something on a UK government website.

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      As an Englishman it’s something I’m most proud of about this great nation. The UI/UX is so incredibly stupidly simple it’s brilliant.

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        Couldn’t agree more. I have a few friends working there, and by all accounts it sounds like a pretty nice work culture/environment for devs, also.

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          I’m not used to the GOV.UK websites but I have the same feeling from the Luxembourgish ones. Every citizen that needs to use their online services is given a account with a 2FA token and their UX is really awesome too!

          I’m really impressed by how some governments manage to build services of such qualities despite the inertia they have in other areas!

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          This comment really sums the issue up:

          And as a user, I can tell you that “exciting and engaging” is often done at the expense of “wow, I can actually use this website”. 🙂

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            Useless comment for me to say this, but I’m cracking up at the italicized emoji in your quote. 😂

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              who can blame you, it’s exciting and engaging

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              An “exciting and engaging” website only a few people with bleeding-edge software can use isn’t exciting or engaging to most people, who, get this, aren’t going to be using bleeding-edge software.

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              I just read this on a iPhone in Safari and it’s the most pleasant reading experience on a website I’ve had since I can remember. Font, contrast, lack of pointless decoration. Probably more, but it’s just excellent and I’m going to try to make pages more like it.

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                gov.uk has got such a calm reading experience, it’s probably the only page I know where the browser’s reader mode degrades the reading experience. The site itself is super helpful, works well without JS (even the interactive forms) and the content itself is well-structured and easy to find.

                Contrast that with tfl.gov.uk, a more “traditional” site: breaks without JS, URLs are verbose and sometimes meaningless, things are difficult to find, etc. Even the cookie notice is buggy and… stressful.

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                  The creation of tfl.gov.uk was outsourced to BAE Systems whereas gov.uk is the work of a government department, GDS. I wish GDS did the TfL site too.

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                  Anyone who includes a screenshot of their site in Lynx is taking their web design seriously.

                  Which lead me to view a site of my own in Lynx and discover a syntax error… Turns out if you write &nbsp and forget the trailing ;, Firefox and Chrome both infer it’s presence and hide the mistake from you, even in inspector mode. Why the hell don’t browsers have html validators as part of their dev tools? The web might be a saner place if there were just an icon somewhere similar to the SSL lock that showed up when the site had some flaw the html parser had to paper over. Users might not care, and we may be past the time when anyone actually cares about html itseld, but it could save devs a lot of grief.

                  Anyone know of a good html validator I can easily run from the command line?

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                    “It’s for the same reason we don’t wear animal skins or hunt the woolly mammoth. Because we’re not savages.”


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                      This is supposed to be the norm, but most of the industry has run-away on this matter.

                      For what is worth, I disabled that page’s style sheet and some of the pictures are huge, including an emoticon. The rest is still very usable.

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                        Like it. However, what if there are more features when I enable Script? Like the google sheets example, should I expect to be notified of that?