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New all-of-govt website launches

UPDATE / July 29: has gone live this afternoon as scheduled. The ribbon was cut, so to speak, by Prime Minister John Key at an event at the National Library this afternoon.


New all-of-govt website launching Tuesday — check out a preview

July 24: Internal Affairs is launching a new all-of-government website next Tuesday.

Check out the beta version here:

From a quick glance, it seems smartly designed and useful, with no few of the unnecessary frills that usually swamp big organisation sites. Simple is good.

It's a responsive site, too, meaning it automatically reshapes itself to fit a tablet or mobile screen. 

I'd call it a handy home page from which to find the government service you're after — particularly given most members of the public have little idea have little idea which service falls under what department.

Internal Affairs announces it in more highfalutin language, calling it "A major change in the way New Zealanders interact with government .... is a revolutionary breakthrough in the way the public connects with government information and services because it’s designed from the outside-in. It's based on real New Zealanders’ experience and feedback.

"It’s a big step forward from previous attempts to provide a portal or front door to government information and services, because of the way it’s organised, with content in plain language and grouped by topic not service."

A micro Q+A with the Department of Internal Affairs

NBR: Was the new designed inhouse or with a web design/development company?

Allen Walley, DIA: The visual design has been adapted from GOV.UK using an inhouse UX (user experience) designer. You can check out how the evolved over time here

NBR: Is it on the Silverstripe CMS?

Walley: Yes, has been developed on the Common Web Platform and content being managed on the Silverstripe CMS. was the first publicly available site launch on the Common Web Platform.

NBR: On social media, one security expert noted seems to be hosted by on a CDN [content delivery network] with servers in Japan and Australia as well as NZ. How does that factor into your privacy policy and data sovereinty issues?  

Walley: doesn't host - the site is using the Common Web Platform (CWP), and is hosted on Infrastructure as a Service hardware managed by [Telecom division] Revera. The beta version of the website was the first publicly available site to launch on the CWP

Incapsula provides with a web application firewall as an added layer of security protection for users of the site. It provides a high level of security, particularly against distributed denial of service attacks.

Revera has setup a New Zealand node of Incapsula for the Common Web Platform. Content that is cached by the web application firewall can be accessed through Incapsula's content delivery network.

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Comments and questions

Great initiative, but lets hope the determined adherence to overly simple design guidelines loosens a little in the next design iteration so it looks less like a dodgy phishing website to drive adwords revenue or steal identities off unsuspecting punters.

Settle, Adrian.

Go SilverStripe! Cool stuff :)

What Adrian said.

Otherwise, it doesn't look very different functionally from the previous version. Nicely decluttered. Insipid colour scheme and yucky serifs.

And, elsewhere, the all-new, no-look GETS website is neither delivering email updates nor subscriber-defined tenders. So, for example, the invitation to supply sodiumsilicoflouride (mmm-mmm) to Welliington Council sits right next to an invite to build a new school in the Bay of Islands.