The new ONS website launched today, having been a public ‘Beta’ since July 2015. It includes significant improvements to search, navigation and overall performance.
Over the past year, ONS engaged with over 600 individuals and 80 organisations to help user test the iterations of the new site. Following their feedback, the website has undergone a complete redesign.
One of the key priorities during the development was to greatly improve the search function. This has been achieved by introducing a clearer filter function (to help users get to required information quicker), a specific topic search (spreadsheets, time series, articles etc), implementing the use of ‘Elasticsearch’ (recognised as one of the leading open-source search tools) and the simplification of terms used to make data easier to find.
The website now also includes 35,000+ time series that can be used to make customisable charts and a tool is available for selecting and downloading up to 50 of them to create bespoke datasets.
There are nearly 150,000 redirects in place at launch to ensure users can find existing content and much of the older content (that isn't regularly accessed) has been moved to the UK Government Web Archive, part of the National Archives, where it will remain accessible.
Moving to this new website, the speed at which improvements can be made has increased. This allows regular enhancements to be made after its launch to ensure it is constantly improved to meet user expectations. A full-time team will continue to work on enhancing the website and the proposed roadmap for future development is available, albeit subject to change based on feedback.
The National Statistician, John Pullinger, said: “Improving the ONS website has always been a priority for me as National Statistician. We’ve listened carefully to many of our users and we hope that people will be satisfied with the results.”
Further information about the development of the new website is available in the Digital Publishing Blog.
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