Since GOV.UK Verify went live in May 2016, work to develop it hasn't stopped. Not only has the team at GDS been working on improvements, but so have the certified companies that connected to GOV.UK Verify under framework 2. They've been reviewing their own user feedback and performance analysis too.
We’ve already shared details of how we work with companies to enable their progress. In this post, I'd like to give an update on the latest improvements.
As it stands, you can pick any one of 7 certified companies to verify your identity online: Barclays, CitizenSafe, Digidentity, Experian, Post Office, Royal Mail, and SecureIdentity. This means you have control over who has your data and there are a range of different ways GOV.UK Verify can verify you. Verizon was also on the second framework for certified companies but is no longer a certified company - they’ve not been offered as an option to users since July 2016.
More data sources
Certified companies have been adding additional data sources to increase the number of users who can verify. This includes 3 certified companies that have added additional data sources to improve their coverage.
Another certified company has recently started allowing their existing customers to use the data already held as part of existing accounts as a part of the verification process. This means that if you have an existing relationship with that particular certified company, they will be more likely to be able to verify you.
It’s great to see the increase in certified companies’ ongoing work in the data sources they’re using, as it supports our ambition to make GOV.UK Verify work for more people across different demographic groups.
More methods and evidence
In addition to changes made earlier last year, which meant people can use their mobile phone contract as identity evidence in GOV.UK Verify, further updates now allow the use of passports, driving licence and national identity cards from most countries in the world.
Certified companies are also working to ensure that GOV.UK Verify works with different technologies. At the time GOV.UK Verify went live, the two biggest mobile operating systems (Android and iOS) were supported. Users with a Windows phone were offered the alternative options of receiving a security codes via landline or SMS. One of the certified companies recently launched a Windows phone app, meaning those smartphones are now supported.
More ways to sign in
Users who wish to use Universal 2nd Factor authentication to access government services can now, with one of the certified companies, use a YubiKey as a second authentication factor to sign into their identity account.
Improved user experience
Certified companies have been reviewing the detailed actions a user needs to make in order to use their services. Three of the certified companies have rebuilt their user interface since GOV.UK Verify went live, refining the user the journey whilst incorporating new branding.
In July 2016, we blogged that we had released functionality to allow certified companies to better tailor their user journeys based on information provided by users. One of the certified companies has now implemented this feature, which means that for some users, there is less repetition of questions through the user journey. We have plans from several other companies to also start using this feature which should shorten journey times.
It’s now possible to pause and return to your verification journey with all of the certified companies - handy if you’re verifying on the go and get interrupted, or if you need to pause to find your misplaced driving licence. We’re currently researching in the lab to better understand how this is being used so that support for this can be improved across the federation.
Collaborating with government services
Several of our certified companies have been working with the GOV.UK Verify team and DWP’s Universal Credit team in job centres to better understand the user journeys specific to that service. This will influence further improvements.
We set the standards for the certified companies to ensure quality, but we also encourage innovation. After all, we expect the certified companies to provide the best possible experience for users who choose to access government services online.
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