GDS offers departments a richer platform for designing campaign sites

Written by Rebecca Hill on 6 October 2016 in News

The Government Digital Service has created a template to create Whitehall promotional campaign websites that follows the GOV.UK design principles.

The Fire Kills campaign was built using the existing platform - Photo credit: GOV.UK screenshot

The move, which GDS said would save departments time and money by reducing time spent "reinventing the wheel" through the use of a single template, will also ensure campaign sites follow GDS content rules.

It will effectively standardise the way the campaign sites are built, and GDS said the campaigns platform user guide would come with new policy guidance on planning, writing and managing content on GOV.UK.

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Campaign sites – used for shorter promotional projects to change the public’s behaviour, for example around healthier living or explaining a new policy – are often designed by departments independently of GOV.UK.

GDS said that, although there is the capacity to build campaigns on GOV.UK – for instance, the government’s fire safety promotions uses this system – the layout is basic and some departments prefer to have a more complex layout with rich media.

According to GDS, having these two options creates “a difficult decision” for government departments – between the simple GOV.UK template that might not engage the public as well or building their own sites at a cost.

GDS added that users “often find it an odd user journey” to move from the rich media of a campaign site to the GOV.UK content, something it said could prevent campaigns from meeting their full potential.


To address this, GDS has created a platform that will allow departments to publish their content directly, by putting it into a WordPress content management system in a similar way to t is similar to the government’s blogs.

It said that departments could add more complex elements than the existing platform, including videos, case studies, images, social media links, banners and call-to-action buttons.

In addition, GDS has built in features the departments can use to monitor engagement and analyse the campaign’s success, as well as statistics dashboard that uses Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager plug-ins.

The platform is moving into beta this month, having recently passed its alpha assessment, and will begin hosting campaigns soon.

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