Service Standard

4. Make the service simple to use

Build a service that’s simple, intuitive and comprehensible. And test it with users to make sure it works for them.

Why it’s important

People expect services to just work, and government services should be no exception.

It costs government time and money to deal with mistakes that happen when services do not work well. And making things more complicated than they need to be undermines trust in government.

What it means

Service teams should:

  • make sure the service helps the user to do the thing they need to do as simply as possible - so that people succeed first time, with the minimum of help
  • test for usability frequently with actual and potential users, using appropriate research techniques
  • test all the parts of the service that the user interacts with - online parts and offline parts (like letters)
  • design the service to work online with a range of devices that reflects users’ behaviour

Services should also provide users with a consistent experience from start to finish. For GOV.UK services, this means:

  • being consistent with the design of GOV.UK
  • following the GOV.UK style guide for all text, online and offline

Designing good government services: an introduction

User research

Designing for different browsers and devices

Making your service look like GOV.UK

GOV.UK style guide

Service standard points

1. Understand users and their needs

2. Solve a whole problem for users

3. Provide a joined up experience across all channels

4. Make the service simple to use

5. Make sure everyone can use the service

6. Have a multidisciplinary team

7. Use agile ways of working

8. Iterate and improve frequently

9. Create a secure service which protects users’ privacy

10. Define what success looks like and publish performance data

11. Choose the right tools and technology

12. Make new source code open

13. Use and contribute to open standards, common components and patterns

14. Operate a reliable service

Last update:

Added links to related guidance and other standard points. There is no change to the content of the standard point itself.

  1. Guidance first published