Design of the Year winner is
"boring", says Mail Online

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Mail Online attackes Gov.uk

News: Mail Online - the world's most popular news website and the winner of a design effectiveness award - has described the gov.uk site that yesterday won the Design Museum's Design of the Year award as "boring" and "basic-looking".

Mail Online journalist Rosie Taylor scoffed at the plain and simple look of the Gov.uk website in an article published after the ceremony in London last night, complaining that "it has only two small pictures" and "features links to pages like ‘Housing and local services’".

"And the award goes to boring.com!" ran the headline on the news site, which earlier this year won the Design Effectiveness Award's Grand Prix for its huge growth in traffic and advertising revenue since its 2008 redesign.

Gov.uk was designed by Government Digital Service, a team within the cabinet office led by designer Ben Terrett, to combine the UK government's thousands of online services in a single website that's meant to be simple and intuitive to use and which uses just one font and dispenses with visual clutter such as images and coloured panels.

The redesign beat over 90 other shortlisted projects and was praised for its elegance and simplicity by Deyan Sudjic, director of the Design Museum that organises the annual awards to recognise "the most innovative and imaginative designs" from the past year.

Watch our movie interview with Ben Terrett filmed in Cape Town as part of our Dezeen and MINI World Tour or read more about the Designs of the Year.

  • Luke

    Because when people want to keep their finger on the pulse of the design world, the Daily Mail is the first place all the hipsters and trendsetters go.

    Coming soon on its sidebar: famous underage websites pictured at the beach in their swimwear.

  • Chris

    Yet another reason not to read the Daily Mail. How on earth the DM is the most visited news website on earth, I have no idea.

  • Des Leddy

    Rosie is missing the vital point of the award. People logging onto the gov.uk site are seeking information quickly – information not cluttered with the usual dross of links to here-there-anywhere-but-where-you-want-to-go (touch of the James Joyce). The simplicity of the Gov.uk navigation site is superlative.

    • http://photographybyolli.com olli

      People logging onto the gov.uk site are seeking sufficient information to achieve their goals, with the option to find further information when necessary. The gov.uk site fails on both counts.

  • http://photographybyolli.com olli

    A key part of design is functionality. As a British citizen living overseas and trying to renew my UK passport my experience is that this website is useless. It’s primary purpose seems to be to minimise the risk of contact between state and citizen and constrain citizens’ options. I suppose you could argue that since the site is clearly designed to make life harder for taxpayers and easier for those delivering services to taxpayers it succeeds brilliantly in its purpose and is, after all, a fantastic piece of design.

  • Tom

    I hate to say it, but for once I agree with the Daily Mail. The website looks like one of those automatically generated links webpages when you misspell an address. It may be simple and easy to use, but I don’t think putting more effort into the aesthetics would detract from the usability if done well.

    Frankly it seems like somebody paid a huge amount of money to a web developer who rattled this off in a couple of hours and spent the rest of his day watching reruns of Game of Thrones.

  • Noel

    I totally agree with Tom.

    I think mediocre is too strong a word for it. It looks like they were inspired by that awfully over exposed ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ poster.

    In terms of functionality half the content is off the screen and it appears cropped – in fact I think awful is more appropriate… WordPress and Wix have better freebie templates in terms of site layout.