London's government has a new website. It's the same website that London's government had last week, only it's different. There's a new font for a start. Expect to see a lotmore of that. And there's a new layout, and new content, and a whole new interactive style to Boris's City Hall website. There's even a weekly blog. Not so much a change, more a transformation.
Now the site actually launched in 2000 [flashback], and started off looking like this [flashback], and saw a significant upgrade in 2003 [flashback], but they're right, it's not restructured much since [flashback no longer available]. As for "easier to use navigation", the jury's out on that. I know I've had seven years to get used to the old structure, but I'm not finding the new structure easy to navigate at all.
I'm glad they admitted that the upgraded site isn't perfect, because it saves me mentioning it. It's been launched before it's ready, before all the pages have content, before all the links actually link somewhere. A pedant might argue it hasn't been user-tested properly, but I'm sure there comes a point where it makes sense to launch whatever, and allow the public to make the most of the great majority that actually works.
Now that explains a lot. The old london.gov.uk was a bespoke site, suited for only one purpose, and must have required a dedicated team to post and support and maintain. The new site's more modular, more off the shelf, so should be cheaper to run and easier to innovate. But I've seen other Drupal-style upgrades before. Tower Hamlets went all off-the-peg this time last year, and the resultant site is blander, sparser and far less inspiring than the bespoke site which preceded it. It wouldn't surprise me to hear that the latest version of the London 2012 website is run by Drupal, and the godawful Radio 4 programme database, and various other generic content-presentation platforms. The future's in shareable chunks, not interdependent link-trees.