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  1. Service manual
  2. Technology
  3. Working with mobile technology

When you build your service, you need to explore how mobile technology can help you meet user needs. You must also make sure the service works on mobile devices.

Meeting the Digital Service Standard

You must be able to demonstrate that your service is responsive and works on mobile devices to pass point 13 (make the user experience consistent with GOV.UK).

You’ll have to explain how you’ve done this in your service assessments.

Build for a mobile experience

Users expect government services to work on whatever device they choose to use. This means you must build your service using:

You must also:

Building your service this way means users get the same content and functionality, regardless of how they choose to access your service.

Share your data and APIs

As you develop your service, you should consider opening up your data and Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). This means the private sector can use your data to build apps which complement your service.

For example, if you identify a user need that can’t be met with a responsive site then releasing your data might stimulate the market to create some apps that will. This is usually cheaper, quicker and more effective than trying to do it yourself.

Find out how to identify and research user needs.

Consider emerging technology

You should explore how mobile technology can help you meet user needs as part of your user research and prototyping.

You should also keep up with new developments, for example the technologies that make up ‘progressive web apps’.

These technologies make it possible to do things that you could previously only do with ‘native’ apps (standalone apps which users download onto their devices) and ‘hybrid’ apps (web-based apps that are ‘wrapped’ in the user’s native browser).

For example, progressive web apps allow you to:

  • add icons to a phone’s home screen
  • send push notifications
  • allow users to access your service when they’re offline
  • integrate your service with other parts of a user’s phone

Using progressive web apps means your users don’t have to be dependent on an app. You can also maintain and release features as part of your standard service instead of developing and supporting them separately.

Stay up to date

The best way to keep track of what’s happening with progressive web apps is by using blogs and online information, for example:

Don’t build apps

You shouldn’t need to build native or hybrid apps if you:

  • build your service using responsive design
  • open up your data
  • take advantage of emerging technology

Native and hybrid apps are rarely justified. This means you won’t get spend controls approval to build one unless you can provide substantial evidence to show it’s the only way to meet the need you’ve identified.

You may also find these guides useful:

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Standards and assurance community
Last update:

Guidance first published