Introducing Alphagov

I can finally stop biting my tongue about the exciting work we've been doing recently at Supernice. I say we, as from last month my lovely wife, Relly, joined the company full-time. Since then we've been working with Tom Loosemore (formerly of 4iP, Ofcom, BBC, mySociety) to provide design and content strategy for the UK Government's "@alphagov" project. Both Relly and I feel honoured and fortunate to be part of such an awesome team, charged with creating a proof-of-concept of how the Government's many diverse web services could manifest themselves in a more cohesive manner under a single domain, as outlined in last year's report by Martha Lane Fox.

The single domain approach would be very beneficial for users, who would no longer have to navigate the departmental structure of Government before finding the service or content that they need. It would also facilitate the creation of a shared, agile, cost-effective suite of web technologies - an approach could offer significant savings. For more details, I suggest you read Martha's report (2.58MB PDF).

Normally an early-stage "Alpha" product like the one we're creating would never be seen by the public, but in the spirit of open development and transparency we're keen to show our work and solicit feedback during the development process. The first solution to a problem is rarely the right solution, and much of what you see will not be a refined final piece. Getting there takes iteration and testing, and over the coming weeks I'll be sharing different designs of various parts of the site, hopefully with improvements as we go.

In early May the prototype Alphagov site will launch, and you'll be able to interact with some pages as if it were the real Government site, although much of it will remain unfinished and contain inaccuracies. Taking Alphagov beyond Alpha to a completed site would take considerably more time than the 8 weeks we will have had, and (for the moment at least) whether the project continues beyond May is unconfirmed.

Leaving a high profile web design company as successful as Clearleft to set up my own business last year was a bit of a gamble, but our recent work for CBS Interactive, Tesco, the BBC and now the UK Government reassures me that it was a gamble worth taking!

Our contract with the UK Government comes to an end in May. If you'd like to work with Supernice this summer, we'd love to hear from you.

The Guardian, The Telegraph and The Cabinet Office have all blogged about the Alphagov project, if you'd like to learn more.

To watch as the project takes shape, follow @alphagov on Twitter. You might also want to follow me.

I'd love to read your thoughts in the comments below! Relly has also blogged about Alphagov.

Click here to get notified by email when I update my blog